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Meeting Reto Karrer: Designer of Banknote Security Elements

Categories : Cash connects people, Cash is a social network, Cash is available to all users, Cash is the first step of financial inclusion
September 16, 2021
Tags : Banknotes, Cash, Design, Photo contest, Photography
The IMAGINE CURRENCY photo contest is still ongoing and designer of banknote security elements, Reto Karrer, shares his tips and inspirations to help you make your unique creations possible.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

This post is also available in: Spanish

There are a number of security features that help to recognise a genuine banknote. The firmness of the paper, the main motifs in the watermark and hologram or the colour-changing number. All these distinctive features are carefully studied by experts and help shape the new banknotes.

Reto Karrer, jury member of the IMAGINE CURRENCY photocontest, works at OVD Kinegram AG – a Swiss subsidiary of the German KURZ Group – for which he designs the visual security features, based on the non-holographic KINEGRAM® technology, for banknotes.

For the IMAGINE CURRENCY photo contest, it is up to you to design new security features to make your creations as authentic as possible! Find out more about the tips and inspirations of our expert Reto Karrer to help you.

Reto Karrer OVD Kinegram AG


Can you tell us about the banknotes and designers that inspired? Which one stood out to you the most and why?

The euro banknotes have a special significance for me, as they are about uniting diverse cultural interests and demands, but also about increasing protection against counterfeiting through new security technologies (such as the KINEGRAM REVIEW® Stripe over Window).

This window security feature offers three security effects, two different optical foil patterns on the front and back of the banknote as well as a third transparent security effect where the image only becomes visible when the banknote is held up to the light.

CashEssentials Wipplay Imagine Currency Photo Contest

©Carlos Almenar Diaz & SICPA


humania currency

©Carlos Almenar Diaz & SICPA


What do you think is the magic formula for a successful artistic banknote?

I think you have to approach a new project with an open mind and without bias! Exchanging ideas between disciplines with the aim and personal aspiration of finding the best possible solution means being able to create a banknote that people can relate to. Banknotes often reflect the history, traditions and cultures of the country in which they are issued, so it’s about creating a banknote with the right balance between aesthetics, functionality and security. Key for this balance within a banknote concept is an early and close collaboration between all parties like papermaker, security feature supplier, printer and Central Bank.

This post is also available in: Spanish

©Millerindigo, Vincent Mourlon B. & Jaycee Moraga


And if you could create a currency, what would it be?

I am fortunate to be involved in exciting projects on a daily basis and to be able to contribute to the design of KINEGRAM® security elements for the KURZ. However, I am already looking forward to seeing what interesting ideas and concepts will come out of the IMAGINARY MONETARY photocontest!

©Reto Karrer



You still have a chance to share your imagination and win exciting prizes! The contest is open to everyone across the globe. It will run until 29 September 2021 at 23h59, (UTC+2), CEST: Central European Summer Time.


Click here to participate