A detail from the Graphic Means official poster.
If you were a part of this era, but especially if you weren’t, you must see Graphic Means.
These days, it is easier to find information regarding printing in 15th century Europe than graphic design processes in the United States during the 1970s and ’80s. The latter, the focus of Graphic Means, was a major transition for the design and printing industry as centuries old procedures and machinery made way for photographic processes and eventually digital technology. This dramatic shift has not been well-documented, perhaps due to the quick speed of the conversion or that it is still in recent memory.
Travelling to India changed my relationship with money. When there, I am suddenly in possession of wads of bills in denominations of multiple zeros that I could never hope to ever see, let alone hold. Rupee coins are not as much a part of my experience there, and use them as other Indians do, to give money to people on the street or tips to drivers.
I have a penny that is worth far more than its currency, as it was designed by Marian Bantjes.
Empathy penny, designed by Marian Bantjes
Several years ago, I taught a Type Camp at the Design Exchange, the Design Museum of Canada in central Toronto. In the lobby is a machine that imprints designs of several artists, one of which is Bantjes, onto pennies. (The irony here is that Canada has ceased production of the penny and is removing them from circulation. Therefore, trying to locate a penny to use in the machine is becoming a bit difficult.)
The Canadian dollar coin, introduced in 1987 with a loon featured on the back, is affectionately referred to as a ‘Loonie’. When the two dollar coin was introduced 9 years later, they had a public vote on whether to call it the ‘Twoonie’ or the ‘Doubloon’. They picked the former, which is a shame because if you have an opportunity to name your your money something pirate-themed, then you should totally do it. However, this essay is not about the mundane design of Canadian currency, but rather this particular Loonie, saved from during my recent decade Canada.