banknote design by jonathan franzen image © joseph sohm / jonathan franzen all images courtesy of the guardian

UK periodical the guardian has asked artists and writers to reinterpret or create a currency that reflects the modern economic and social environment. the responses range from playful interpretations of pop culture to potent comments about political situations.   both a personal and communal issues are displayed on the banknotes.  

the above bill is loosely based on the traditional design of american money. instead of depicting the whole numbers usually found on banknotes, it depicts the real amount after the environmental costs are factored in. designed by jonathan franzen, the currency has also included a graphic representation of extinct and endangered species. 

modern money‘payback: debt and the shadow side of wealth’ by margaret atwood image © margaret atwood 

modern money banknote design by tracey emin image © tracey emin

modern money‘egg and sperm bank’ by posy simmonds image © posy simmonds

modern money ‘the douglas’ by will self and martin rowson image © will self and martin rowson


a fictional currency designed by will self and illustrated by martin rowson, the douglas shows a drawing of social anthropologist mary dougals. along with a quote from her book, ‘purity and danger’, is an assortment symbols associated with indigenous peoples. 


modern money

‘hole earth note’ by naomi klein and kyo maclear image © naomi klein


artists naomi klein and kyo maclear conceptualized a note with a hole in the center, a physical representation of the debt which is affecting many around the globe. it is an reminder that money has potential to land us ‘in the hole’. 

via the guardian