Model of a banknote with a crocodile and the inscription 'RollingStar i+'
#Cash

Design, density, and details: maximum banknote security

Insights
4 Mins.

Banknote design and banknote security go hand in hand. Banknotes must be aesthetically appealing, easily recognizable, functional – and include security features that reduce the likelihood of counterfeit notes. We take a look at some of the elements used to enhance note security, and the role that technology plays in fusing design and security.

We’ve all, at some point or another, paused to study a banknote’s narrative arc, analyzed its images, pondered its story, felt the thickness of its fibers between our fingers. For a banknote, the design is just as important as the security features. Throughout the entire cash cycle, different banknote users require different design elements. Integrated features must be machine-readable to ensure authenticity, banknotes must be resistant to counterfeiting attempts, and they must be striking and visually appealing to the end user.

Technology assists the interplay of security and design. Secure elements can be enhanced by design, and vice versa.

Design shaped by details

3D model of colored security threads for banknotes

How much of a banknote’s design result is shaped by details? The best-known and oldest security feature in cotton-based banknotes is the watermark – used worldwide and extremely difficult to counterfeit. But there are countless other security features that enhance aesthetics and guarantee a currency note as legal tender.

Security threads – foils that are intricately woven into banknotes – are now integrated into almost all banknotes to protect against counterfeiting. These threads are embedded into the substrate. They merge varying widths, designs, and visual effects to augment both security and design. The RollingStar® i+ is a high-tech security technology that uses a highly sophisticated method of aligning and shaping micromirrors, a method that makes counterfeiting incredibly difficult. It sets the benchmark for security threads, while also helping make a banknote’s story richer and sharper.

“In a nutshell: technology creates opportunities for design; the design creates stories“
Marc Mittelstaedt
Head of Design, Banknote Solutions at G+D

Density of security

If maximalism is something of a trend du jour when it comes to interior design, it’s never gone out of style for banknotes. The more diverse the elements that are integrated into the banknotes, the more secure it is – always assuming, of course, that the banknote is not overloaded and can still be easily and securely identified. The art here is to fuse these elements to create a narrative arc – to create a “story that flows from front to back,” as Marc Mittelstaedt, Head of Design, Banknote Solutions at G+D, notes.

The whole picture

Portrait of Mr. Marc Mittelstaedt
Marc Mittelstaedt, Head of Design, Banknote Solutions at G+D

It’s this holistic approach that makes a banknote’s storytelling a success. “Design and tech, that’s like beauty on the outside paired with unmatched security from within,” Mittelstaedt highlights. “I would even say that innovations like the RollingStar® i+ make the stories richer, deeper.” The detail, sharpness, and texture not only make the notes more luminous – they also add another “layer of safety” to work with, visibly pleasing the end users.

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