Ten years ago, the United States Mint came up with the cute idea of issuing a series of U.S. Quarters to commemorate all 50 States.
Each State was in charge of coming up with their own design and most of them ended up doing a pretty shitty job. If I were running the U.S. Mint back in 1998, I would have laid down a few more ground rules.
Like “no pastiche.”
Most of the State Quarters have this sad “designed by committee” look to them, containing every possible image associated with the State so as not to offend anyone. Quarters are pretty small, so when you start trying to squeeze four or five things on the back, no one can even tell what the hell they’re looking at.
Arkansas’ Quarter is pretty offensive in this regard, with its “diamond floating above a swamp” motif:
And then there’s Louisiana.
South Carolina’s is pretty bad too.
Why couldn’t these States have just bitten the bullet and picked a single image? If Arkansas had just picked a big diamond, They’d have coolest quarter out there. Louisiana’s Quarter would be great with just a big trumpet on the back. Instead, their quarter looks like dump. Why couldn’t they have been more like Mississippi—a State that ranks last in nearly every single category but Quarter Design?
Or North Dakota:
So, rule #2 would be “just one image” (which is more-or-less implied by rule #1.)
Also, no one cares about the shape of your State. Nearly every design is guilty of including their State’s silhouette somewhere on the Quarter to little effect. Just give us a big racecar Indiana:
Strangely, the quarter that breaks no rules and still ends up looking like crap is Wyoming’s half-assed Cowboy: