Recent banknote design has been incorporating sophisticated and eye-catching overt features. Four different technology advances have led the way. SICPA’s Spark Live is a printed color shift ink that includes movement during the color changing. Crane has its micro-optic effects that create animations or movement of icons, bars, and numbers. DLR and Kurz have introduced new de-metallized holograms that are better integrated into a banknote and give on-off visual effects. Louisenthal seems to have incorporated all of the overt technologies into its RollingStar LEAD stripes. These features use micro-mirrors, color shift and holography to create an interaction between color changes and animation. While these new features make banknotes are more colorful, do they accomplish their goal- to help the public authenticate a banknote as genuine?

Examples of Animation as a Security Feature

SICPA Spark Live Technology
Source: SICPA

The first holographic and color shift visible features were implemented to make it difficult for counterfeiters to use color copiers to simulate banknotes. Public perception studies rarely showed that the public and cashiers were actively using these features to check their banknotes. Watermarks, threads and the feel of a banknote still were more important. 

Azerbaijan 50 Manat | 2020 | P-42 |
Source: Banknote World Educational

These newer features add more movement and brighter colors. The goal of these features is not only to make it harder to counterfeit but to entice the public to interact with the banknote or at least intuitively notice the movement and if the movement is not present. The new Azerbaijan 50 Manet has an effect that brings both a color shift – green to copper, and the movement of a student walking. Banknotes like the Aruba series have numbers and images moving and disappearing. Collectors notice and marvel at these effects for sure. The public seems to like the effects and proud when their banknotes use the most advanced visible features. It is also well known that people notice kinetic effects. It is like seeing something out of the corner of your eye. One notices the movement without even knowing what the movement is. 

Using movement and even animation seems to make sense for public authentication. So far the effects have been well integrated into the banknote designs. The risk is that the animations go too far and become cartoonish. As long as the designers don’t go too far or make the effects too big, the use of animation is a great advancement in the fight against counterfeiting.

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