Mr. Mittelstaedt, how fascinating can technology be?
That's up to each individual. I believe that technology always includes a personal component and that it always unfolds its fascination individually. I've always been fascinated by technology, whether it's the overall interaction within a machine or the interplay of a wide variety of components and functions. When something is well thought out in terms of engineering and a seamless flow, it simply inspires me. That's why I also believe that a certain fundamental enthusiasm for technology is necessary for banknote design.
Because in traditional graphic design – at least in theory – I can always print what I visualize. Our banknote design is far more complex, it requires dealing with far more concerns, possibilities but also limitations. This ranges from paper production to embedding security features to machine readability.
From two-dimensionality to a three-dimensional experience
The famous “connecting the dots”?
Yes, this connecting of different points, this merging of lines, that's what ultimately makes our work. And that's also what makes the product so fascinating: from two-dimensionality due to technical concerns, challenges, and customer wishes, a three-dimensional result and experience emerge.
How much is this result shaped by details – for example, when the alignment of micromirrors is improved as in the RollingStar i+?
Sure, some people might say: “It's just details, nobody can see it”. But that is only partly true. Of course, the majority of people will not be aware of the fact that the RollingStar i+ e.g. comes with an innovative multi-facet substructure. These are technological refinements, but they still open up new possibilities for us as designers. In terms of the individual effect itself, but also in terms of how the individual features interact with each other. It all adds up to an appealing and realistic look to the thread design: an even more sophisticated way of aligning and shaping the micromirrors allows for an attractive and realistic look of the thread.
And that influences your creative process as a designer?
We as designers take a closer look because we are simply much more closely connected with the material and at the same time are always on the hunt for new inspirations and possibilities. In this respect, the duo “technology and design” inspires us and ideally results in a new, different creativity. And to stick with the RollingStar® i+ where the interplay of dynamics, ColourShift, and magnetic technology takes a significant leap forward: thanks to the striking effects of changing colours and moving motifs with a double speed of dynamics compared to the RollingStar®, we can work with far more brilliance and structures. Then, of course, new stories emerge. Then we see new or different “waves” that inspire us, as for example in one of our current pattern notes, to the motif of a dragon.
A good example of the "steering effect" of technology?
Sure, it could have been a fish, but we were thinking more along the lines of a lizard (laughs).
Does this mean that every technology influences design?
Absolutely. Everything in design has an influence through technology, 3D for example was hardly possible before, but then enabled us to think in new, in different visual directions. And out of that richer visual thinking comes richer stories. And yes: if you like, that can be traced back to the adjusted, better alignment of micromirrors and the new, clearer, more brilliant effects that come with it.
In other words, new technology leads to new design leads to new stories?
Exactly. I would even say that innovations like the RollingStar® i+ make the stories richer, deeper. By adding more detail, more sharpness, more texture, by making the subjects more luminous, it gives us another layer to work with. One that fits naturally into expanded storytelling.
And at the end of the road, a higher density within the story also leads to a higher “density of security”?
Yes. For us, it is key to connect the front and back of a note in such a way that a narrative arc spans the most diverse elements. A story that flows from front to back so that both sides can “speak” to each other. If we then combine the security elements with the design – for example, by having a foil strip pick up on a design element, thus interweaving the graphically depicted with the thread in a story – then mission and vision merge as well: the note tells the story, which reinforces the graphic concept and at the same time makes it easier for the user to access the security features. Once these have become more brilliant and clear, identification also becomes clearer.
A clear, visible element generates a significant increase in security
And thus create more and better identification?
Definitely. Everything that can be better seen and identified more clearly naturally stands out all the more in its imitated, blurred version. This means that a very clear, visible element with delineated contours generates a significant increase in security. In a nutshell: technology creates opportunities for design, the design creates storytelling and stories ...
... and good stories create security...
.... when we use design to set the most diverse formal safety elements in relation to each other, yes. The optimal integration of e.g. a security thread into the overall design, as well as new, modern motifs and patterns, results in more attention and engagement of the observer and therefore fast and easy authentication. Design and tech, that's like beauty on the outside paired with unmatched security from within.
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+.
See banknotes in a new light
The demands placed on banknotes are growing all the time and the attractiveness of the banknote as a means of payment in itself is increasingly competing with other payment options. With RollingStar® i+ Louisenthal has taken the visual impact and design possibilities for banknotes to a new level.