De La Rue Safeguard®: Proven Polymer Integration


De La Rue Owl Housenote

The 2016 De La Rue housenote showcases the Depth™ image hologram on Safeguard®. The design depicts a barn owl (Tyto alba), which is one of the most widely distributed of all birds. Safeguard® uses shape, advanced image plane holography and the polymer characteristics to create a stunning design with high impact.


Integrating Design with Secure Technology

One of the challenges with polymer is creating a fully integrated substrate and print design. When developing the owl housenote, De La Rue’s substrate, print and holographic teams worked collectively to ensure that the overall design integrated the security features harmoniously. The vibrant colour of the moon and the detail of the lunar landscape on the front of the note were created in gravure, and complement the imagery on the reverse of the note, which combines a coloured printmark with translucent iridescence. These create a finish that shimmers when the note is tilted and adds a hidden dimension.

The housenote fully exploits the potential of polymer. The curved window houses the shaped hologram, and the owl’s eye has been integrated as a secondary window. Gravure print is used to create a fine pattern and micro text blends the window into the moon. The imagery on the shaped hologram complements the theme of the note, and by using the Depth™ Image hologram, the moon and corn stalks give depth and movement to the images. This, combined with the vivid colour switching, delivers a highly aesthetic design that is visible from both sides of the note.

As with all banknote designs, it is critical to ensure that the right level of security has been incorporated. The features built into the owl housenote are considerable. In addition to the hologram, the note includes Spectrum™, Mask™, Gemini™ and iridescence, resulting in a truly beautiful, highly secure and complex design.


Features of Note

Depth™ Image holograms

Foil stripe incorporating Depth™ Image holograms, with striking colour change, movement and depth.


Gemini™ – a proven effect where one visible colour changes to two colours under ultra-violet light.

Tactile Emboss

Tactile Emboss, a highly tactile embossed feature to aid the visually impaired in identifying the denomination of the banknote.


Spectrum™. A simple yet effective public recognition feature based on litho and intaglio printing techniques. When viewed normally, the design appears as a uniform colour, but when tilted, a different pattern of multiple colours can easily be seen.

Safeguard MASK™

Safeguard MASK™ is a unique security feature integrated into the substrate. A geometric pattern is visible in normal view, revealing a hidden image when held up to the light.

Colour effects

Colour effects. A range of novel colour effects has been developed using clever combinations of colour changing, pearlescent and iridescent inks. These can be used to create attractive designs while making the counterfeiters’ job harder.


Why De La Rue’s Safeguard®?

Safeguard® polymer banknotes are manufactured by De La Rue, the only supplier to produce the polymer substrate and the finished banknote. We are also the only supplier who produces both paper and polymer banknotes, allowing us to give our customers an unbiased and data-driven opinion on whether substrate is most suitable for their denominations. It also means customers can choose mixed paper and polymer families that incorporate the same security features across all denominations.

When introducing polymer banknotes for the first time, the issuing authority wants to achieve a positive reaction from the public, retailers and cash industry. De La Rue understands how important this is to a successful introduction and when choosing Safeguard®, our customers receive a fully managed end-to-end service that provides support every step of the way from feature selection, banknote design, cash industry engagement and effective public education through to life cycle analysis and end of life disposal.
From start to finish, De La Rue will support and enable you to deliver a highly successful launch.

when choosing Safeguard


Why Holograms?

Holograms are widely known and understood by the general public and are proven solutions on banknotes. They are visually striking, which means they catch the eye of the user and encourage closer inspection. Their effects are easy to understand and intuitive to view, making the hologram a highly suitable security feature for the public to use to authenticate their notes. The complex science required to make a hologram is a significant barrier for counterfeiters and is the reason why many issuing authorities use them.


Why De La Rue Holography?

At De La Rue, holograms are created using advanced image plane holography, a technology that produces vibrant graphics using the full spectrum of colour. This technology delivers true depth and clear image movement to a design.

The visual depth of an advanced image plane hologram is extremely difficult for the counterfeiter to replicate successfully – commercial holographic techniques can achieve a maximum of 2mm of true depth whilst the Depth™ image used here has 7mm of true depth.

Design is absolutely critical in exploiting the characteristics inherent to advanced image plane holography. The challenge is to create a visually attractive hologram that is easy to authenticate but difficult to copy. Advanced image plane holography combined with the experience and creativity of our design and origination team deliver all of these requirements.


Why Polymer?

Polymer has been used in banknotes for over 20 years and its core benefit of increased durability provides central banks with a quantifiable increase in the lifetime of a banknote. Consequently, there is reduced spend on banknote production, storage and transportation. Its non-absorbent nature allows it to be wiped clean and provides an effective barrier to moisture and soiling, keeping notes cleaner for longer. The design can incorporate clear windows to create a striking visual impact. There is a range of security features that only polymer can offer. The combined result is a highly secure banknote.

Polymer Note

Polymer Note


We have produced an app demonstrating the key security features of the De La Rue Barn Owl house banknote.

Download Barn Owl Explore a Banknote App from Google Play

Download Barn Owl Explore a Banknote App from App Store