GDSN 164: Digital Illustration Design: Currency Re-Design


Nolan Kabrich: GDSN 164: Digital Illustration Design: Currency Re-Design.

Jasmine Ortega: GDSN 164: Digital Illustration Design: Currency Re-Design.

Jesus Saavedra: GDSN 164: Digital Illustration Design: Currency Re-Design.

John La Brada: GDSN 164: Digital Illustration Design: Currency Re-Design.

Sheryl Soenarijo: GDSN 164: Digital Illustration Design: Currency Re-Design.

Duration: 6 weeks
Category: , , , , , , , ,
Filed Under: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Bookmark Project

Project Brief

Re-design 3 U.S. currency notes (front and back, 6 total layouts). Use a subject/theme that’s different from the current focus on past presidents. The subject can be nature, a social issue, a historical event or anything you think would be appropriate for the format. Your ‘target audience’ is the entire country so your design should be nationally recognizable.

Learning Objectives

  • Research and develop an alternative themed identity solution for an existing design.
  • Use Illustrator as the primary design tool to practice re-working existing forms into powerful visual messages.
  • Create consistency across multiple pieces of visual collateral.
  • Apply the Principles and Elements of design.
  • Rationalize design choices as they relate to the client and target audience.
  • Exercise professional practices.
    Present mounted and printed work to an audience.


Students will submit:

  1. Six color or black and white prints (3 bill faces and 3 bill backs) mounted on 15" X 20" black mounting board
  2. One color or black and white printed bill decoder sheet designating the features of the currency design and their uses.
  3. One resource pack containing all R&D requirements: (word list, sources with notes, image inspirations and sources, all original or scanned/printed thumbnail and rough sketches and all printed comps).
  4. One 2-page min. rationale describing the design solution. Include details on the currency, the client, audience and your experience and reflections designing this project. Use the Principles and Elements of Design vocabulary we have been learning in class.
  5. Original Illustrator files used for the final currency and bill decoder designs.


U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing site
Banknote World: Compendium of International Currency
The Dollar Project: A Wordpress site looking at the re-design of US Currency
CBS News link of the Dollar Project


The goal here was to provide students with a capstone project for the course which integrated all of the tool skills, principles and elements of design as well as the design process from concept to delivery. This project also serves as an introductory assignment to the next level course in the curriculum which is our GDSN 165: Branding & Identity Design course. We find this project works well engaging and challenging students on a variety of levels. The one challenge we've experienced is in students clinging too closely to existing imagery and styles and not exploring more conceptual and creative possibilities. These students are still in the minority as most of the project results are considerable departures from existing forms.

Related projects