Got Geld!

With the U.S. economy going south, we may be forced to do what the Germans and Austrians did during their incredible inflation after World War I: Each city and town designed and printed their own emergency (or ersatz) money called Notgeld (above and below). It turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for designers to start from zero and create unprecedented currency. The value of the Mark or Pfenning in Germany and the Heller (yes, you’re reading that correctly) in Austria (bottom) may have been worthless, but the bills were extraordinarily beautiful and often witty.
    Incidentally, the city of Great Barrington, Mass., has been circulating its own Notgeld or barter money called BerkShares for the past year.

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Daily Heller, Imprint: Print Magazine's Design Blog

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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