Mr. Fuhse, what is the goal of the "effects philosophy" that Louisenthal lives and implements?
Christian Fuhse: Our overarching goal is clearly defined: security. For the individual effect, this means that it must stand out, be clearly visible, quickly recognizable and easy to understand. The attention span when looking at a note is usually relatively short, which is why a "human authenticity check" should already be made possible at the first glance.
So it's the packaging that counts first?
No, of course not solely! An appealing design is indeed important, because: the securest feature is of no use if it doesn't meet the customer's wishes in terms of design – and in the end, that's always the general public, who also want their notes to be their “business cards”. But ultimately, every effect does not only need to be beautiful, it must also be reliable in function, clear and eye-catching in appearance, ...
Christian Fuhse, Head of the "Optical Effects and Data Processing" team
... so the leitmotif of the Louisenthal effects philosophy?
At the very least, safety and beauty must not be compromised. Attractiveness, functionality, security and acceptance have to complement each other – as in the case of the RollingStar® i+, for example – and ideally reinforce each other. Which is based on the famous principle that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, that we always consider in our innovation processes.
If we stick to the RollingStar® i+, for instance: how is an effect like this developed?
Part of the answer is already given in your question: it is a development that we are driving both internally and externally. After all, with RollingStar® we have gone into an “innovative lead”. In other words, ideas are rarely created solely on the drawing board, but are initiated, thought through, trialed and adapted, based on our knowledge and the knowledge of the market as well as the experience and requirements of our clients and partners.
Sounds like trial-and-error?
Rather, it is a useful or ongoing development of our existing and developed expertise, for example in the areas of micromirrors or ColourShift. Of course, we rely on this and ask ourselves, but also our customers: Which next step can we take to advance the product and its security? In the case of the RollingStar® i+, it was above all the micromirror technology that took us to the next level.
In the case of RollingStar® , a whole range of optical and functional features was already available due to the combination of micromirror technology with color-changing effects. There are millions of facets on an area of one square centimeter, and each of these mirrors has its own particular orientation, for which special software has been coded to precisely calculate in advance. The clearly viewable motion effects or three-dimensional images are created by the exact arrangement of these numerous reflective facets.
A technology that the RollingStar® i+ picks up on and develops further?
Correct. In the case of the appearance of the RollingStar® i+, we have additionally created an innovative, multi-faceted substructure with micromirrors, a ”new order,” so to speak. This new, more refined arrangement creates impressive effects and detailed, changing motifs that, in addition to adding security, give us completely new opportunities for unique and impressive integration into the banknote design. And we have also worked on the micromirrors themselves and further perfected the precision in their making.
To which benefit?
That we can again create more dynamics, higher brilliance and better visibility when checking for authenticity, even in unfavorable lighting conditions. Here we link back to your initial question: The goal is security. The dynamics of a RollingStar® i+ set new standards for security threads and thus offer additional added value.
Is there kind of a guideline that "adds" value?
It is the result of a mindset, an understanding that is oriented along the premises of “visibility”, “dynamics” and “aesthetics”, among others. In this context, the area of aesthetics most closely covers the subjective, i.e. the personal taste of each individual. Of course, effects also live from being well packaged. But even here, we have developed an understanding through experience and exchange with our customers of what is pleasing and can be implemented meaningfully – and what is not.
And: What do they currently like and what don't they like?
Among many customers, for example, we see a tendency towards “less is more”. In other words, banknotes should not be overloaded with effects. Everything we do has to be clear and not overloaded. In this sense, a single, eye-catching effect that is easy to understand may be better than a collection of many effects that are all very safe on their own, but in the end are too much for the average user.
From the perspective of the effect philosophy, how can a “less is more” approach not be achieved at the expense of safety?
The few effects must then be exceptionally strong and secure. In the best case, a set of “key effects” lays the groundwork for enabling broad user groups to authenticate the banknote. We achieve this, for example, with our RollingStar® or RollingStar® i+, but also with the best-known security feature, the watermark. Our effects philosophy also pursues the goal of developing technologies that are both scalable and adaptable.
Depending on the "target group"?
Exactly. To this end, we always consider several levels during development and ask ourselves: What other possibilities do we have to offer additional, specific features to user groups through the further development of a main effect? For example, if you look at a RollingStar® i+ with a ”wave” effect, the first thing you see is a brightly lit wave that runs over the security thread when it is tilted. For most people, that will serve as a description. However, specially trained user groups can examine other effects and observe another motion effect in the layered substructure when tilting about a second axis. Thus, we have combined safety and aesthetics very nicely: For “normal” users it is simply an aesthetically pleasing pattern, for experts it is an additional feature that increases security.
In other words: security always comes from within. And therefore, even a clear effects philosophy that appears tidy on the outside can ensure maximum security at the most diverse levels – if the possibilities of an "unmatched security from within" approach are considered from the very beginning.
RollingStar® i+ Security Thread
With RollingStar® i+ we have taken the visual impact and design possibilities for banknotes to a new level. Simple and fast authentication, outstanding visibility even in unfavourable lighting conditions and cutting-edge dynamics are among the highlights of RollingStar® i+.
Security by Design
Security technology and banknotes, that always means a forward-thinking and acting in advance – in the very best case in a tight interplay with banknote design. Learn more about the triad of design integration, inspiration, and identification.