Bank note printer celebrates 500 years with house note
- Published: Apr 19, 2020, 8 AM
Bank note printers have a unique way of celebrating themselves and at the same time showing off their technical prowess — they issue “house notes” in their own honor.
Last year, the Zurich, Switzerland, security printer Orell Füssli memorialized its 500th anniversary with such a note, intended to “reflect its rich past and at the same time project it into the future.”
Planning began in 2016 when the company retained Christophe Métroz, a Swiss designer with no background in bank note design except for a short internship. He worked in cooperation with Orell Füssli’s chief engraver and KBA-NotaSys of Wurzburg, Germany, whose printing presses are used for 95 percent of the world’s bank notes.
The design is based on the theme of “time,” in the story of human achievement. It makes reference to the Swiss symbols on both sides. A symbolic human face was designed by combining a portrait by Albrecht Dürer, who painted when the company was founded, and a picture of an anonymous woman of today. The city of Zurich is portrayed in its transformation from a very old image into cartographic data. Time is represented in the symbols of a water clock (clepsydra), spiral, labyrinth, and hourglass.
The description of the note explains that this one is, in the end, just like almost all other notes — guardians of history, telling the stories of our time while reminding us of where we come from and who we are.
Orell Füssli was established in 1519 as a book printer and publisher. Security printing is its primary business today but it is also involved in book selling and publishing.
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