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Students Design Neighborhood Currencies

Last month, students in Jason Santa Maria’s Communicating Design class were assigned the task of designing their own local currency. Inspired by Ithaca Hours and BerkShares, students pulled a neighborhood out of a hat, and were asked to research their neighborhood to determine what characteristics should be represented on its currency.

Photo of student designed currency on a wall for class project.

Rather than designing a currency for the large and diverse neighborhood of Chelsea, I decided to focus in and design a currency for one building in that neighborhood: Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market was built as a factory for Nabisco, but it now hosts offices, grocery stores, retail shops, and restaurants. The building’s architecture is inspired by its factory roots, so I thought it would be interesting to design a currency inspired by its former factory products. Each denomination in my currency adopts the form factor of a Nabisco cracker: Nilla Wafers, Fig Newtons, Oreo Cookies, Ritz Crackers, and Saltine Crackers. The geometric design from the face of the Oreo Cookie is used to tie all five of the designs together.

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