Snowden apparently chose the Indian/closed laurel wreath combination because it was the lowest relief of all the pattern candidates, striking up better than the others. He described the motif as "an Indian head with a falling crown of feathers." In a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb, Snowden writes "The obverse...presents an ideal head of America -- the drooping plumes of the North American Indian give it the character of North America..."
Director Snowden wrote Longacre on November 6, 1858, to advise him that the Treasury had approved the new Indian design effective January 1, 1859. Longacre was to prepare the necessary dies, with a slight modification of the reverse where the laurel leaves were increased to six per bunch from the original pattern.
Simplicity is the hallmark of the coin. Aside from the Indian portrait, the obverse bears only the date and the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, while there's nothing on the reverse except the wreath and the words ONE CENT within it.