Color of Money– Branding a Country: Currency Symbolizes the Fabric of a Country’s Identity, People, Tradition, Culture…

Color of money: Money is a commodity accepted by general consent as a medium of economic exchange. It’s the medium in which prices and values are expressed and, as currency, it circulates anonymously from person to person and country to country– it facilitates trade… and, it’s the principal measure of wealth.

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Color of money: The subject of money has fascinated people from the time of Aristotle to the present day. According to A.H.M; the piece of paper that is labeled– one dollar, 10 euros, 100 yuan or 1,000 yen is a little different, as paper, from a piece of the same size torn from a newspaper or magazine; and yet, it will enable its bearer to command some measure of– food, drink, clothing, and the remaining goods of life– while, the other is fit for just common ordinary daily usage… Whence the difference? The easy answer, and the right one, is that modern money is a social contrivance.

Money is a social convention; a convention of uncommon strength, such that people will abide by it even under extreme provocation. The strength of the convention is, of course, what enables governments to profit by manipulating the currency. But it’s not indestructible: When the quantity of these pieces of paper is greatly increased– as they have– they may be seen to be, after all, no more than pieces of paper…

Although, money (currency) can and do say much about a country’s culture: Choices are made about the type of images that are illustrated– the people, events, landmarks… that are shown– do speak to national values the country represents.

According to Richard Zeid; currency is an important part of the fabric of country’s identity. The motifs are as varied and create a rich visual document. But when all is said and done, and the right images are chosen, what does the picture say about the country from which it comes? Does it give someone– not from the country– an accurate prospective about the country? 

Among the 180 countries and jurisdictions that issue paper money, only U.S. prints bills that are the same size and color in all denominations. Most countries– color-code different denominations or simply have money that features multiple colors on individual bills.

According to Emil Agarunov; just about everyone carries around small pieces of art– paper money– in their wallet and most people don’t realize it. Almost every nation has currency that reflects their nation’s heritage, culture… This is depicted in several ways, for example; some show images of– founders, heroes… others use a national symbol or landmark. Either way, national currencies, throughout the world, are as diverse as the people who live on the planet…

In the article Changes to Currency May Help the Blind by Jay MacDonald writes: U.S. is one of the few nations that prints all bills the same size and color… Before reading any further, close your eyes, reach into your purse or wallet and fish out $12 in cash. Can’t do it? You now know what currency discrimination feels like. Currently, 3.3 million blind and visually impaired Americans depend on someone else– a family member, friend, cashier, or bank teller– to identify the denomination of each bill for them before they can organize and spend their money.

Some depend on talking electronic bill identifiers that aren’t always accurate and fail to work on every bill. Once the bills are identified, most blind people use a personal folding system to tell their bills apart… Now, thanks to a recent court ruling, truly accessible currency may finally be in sight for all Americans. In a recent lawsuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Treasury Department must make U.S. currency accessible to blind and visually impaired… When it happens, U.S. greenbacks will look and feel significantly different. So different, in fact, that a blind person will be able to tell them apart… Here’s how other countries have addressed this issue:

  • Size: Nearly every country prints different denominations in different sizes. In Australia, where bills vary by length and color, they even sell a notched plastic device to help blind foreigners get a grip on their money. Aussie bills also are made of a plastic polymer that lasts four times longer than fibrous currency.
  • Color: The color of money may not help the blind, but it does help the visually and cognitively impaired. Only the U.S. and Switzerland do not designate denominations by color.
  • Embossing: To the sighted, it would seem intuitive to use embossed Braille to identify bills, but not all blind and visually impaired people read Braille. In Canada, the upper right corner of the bills’ face side is embossed. However, the downside is that embossing tends to flatten with use.
  • Engraving: Sixteen countries engrave their bills with printed patterns. These, too, tend to flatten with age.
  • Watermarks: Similar to engraving, watermarks provide a  raised surface to help the blind identify notes. The Japanese yen incorporates watermarks in the corners of bills.
  • Notches, cut corners and holes: Corner clipping and other low-cost solutions are generally ineffective. The same holds true with notches, while holes would weaken the bill, shortening its lifespan.

In the article The Color of Money Around the World by brian writes: A country’s money can tell stories of its leaders, culture, identity, traditions… and, how people inside and outside of its borders perceive it. It can be as interesting as a region’s art, movies, music… Here are a few samples of money from around the world. What does this money say to you?

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Egyptian Pound: You can’t think about Egypt without the Great Pyramids of Giza: It’s a national icon and world treasure, and it would be a surprise if it wasn’t on the money… The pyramids are so awe-inspiring and magnificent…

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South African Rand: The image on this bill is that of the buffalo; one of the ‘big five of Africa’ which include; lion, leopard, elephant and rhino…

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Canadian Dollar: Hockey is Canada’s national sport, and their identity is closely tied to hockey… it’s a national symbol…

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U.S. Dollar: The first U.S. president was George Washington and his image is shown on this bill… other U.S. presidents are shown on most U.S. bills… Some countries like Cambodia will accept U.S. dollars as legal tender like they accept their own money. With the world financial turmoil, U.S. currency is still the gold standard. But now people are talking about the Euro or even the Chinese yuan taking over…

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Ghana Cedi: This bill shows a depiction of the ‘big six’, who helped launch the British colony known as the Gold Coast toward its independence in 1957… we now know it as Ghana. This money is colorful and is a great history lesson…

Take note: The next time you look at money, look at it beyond the good or service it can buy. What does it tell you about a country and a people? Probably a lot– Just look-dig a little deeper…