Barbados New Banknote Series – Bajan to the Bone

Product Owner: The Central Bank of Barbados

Banknote Denomination/s and Date of Issue

$2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. Entered circulation on 5th December 2022.

Project Description

The brief from the start was to create a set of banknotes that were highly secure, attractive but also “Bajan to the Bone.”

The decision to review and upgrade the banknotes was made in 2019. These banknotes represent only the second major redesign in the half-century history of issuing the central bank.

The process included researching different substrate options. The research was mainly carried out by an officer from the Currency and payments Oversight Department, who made it the focus of her Master’s thesis. Polymer substrate was chosen for its cost saving benefits over the lifetime of the banknote and because of the durable blind recognition features that are only possible with polymer banknotes.

The new banknotes were announced in April 2022 and the launch was planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Central Bank of Barbados. The CBB approached preparing the public for
the new series as a marketing campaign, designed by a member of the Corporate Communications team.

When announcing the new notes, Governor Cleviston Haynes said, “With this transition to polymer, we will be able to offer Barbadians banknotes that are highly secure, with features that are harder to simulate yet easy to authenticate.”

Innovation and Uniqueness of Security Features

SAFEGUARD® polymer substrate demonstrated that is continues to progress as a platform for innovation, with a smooth surface and integration proccesses that lead to sharper and stronger security feature effects.

One effect unlocked by SAFEGUARD® is De La Rue’s patented SPOTLIGHT™ effect. SPOTLIGHT™ (previously only shown on marketing samples) appeared for the first time on circulating banknotes with this series (the $20, $50, and $100).

SPOTLIGHT™ depicts counter rotating images that appear to rotate below the plane of the holographic stripe.

SPOTLIGHT™ also interacts with mobile phones – the images sharpen under the direct light of a mobile phone torch and become more blurred under diffuse lighting

Other features incorporated included: Enhanced GEMINI™, ARGENTUM™ (a significantly reflective silver ink, was incorporated into the design of the $2, $5 and $10), secure windows and a unique tactile emboss feature to enable visually impaired users to identify each denomination.

Integration of historical or local content that is relevant to the country

The colours and portraiture of the previous series (national heroes on the front, famous locations and landmarks on the reverse relating to those heroes).

The banknotes featured national heroes: the Right Excellent Charles Duncan O’Neal (a medical doctor who agitated for the rights of the underprivileged $10); the Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod (the first non-white to sit in the House of Assembly $20); the Right Excellent Errol Barrow (Barbados’s first Prime Minister $50); the Right Excellent Sir Grantley Adams (Barbados’s first premier and hero of their social revolution $100); John Redman Bovell (an agronomist who is credited with rescuing Barbados’ sugar industry in the late 19th century $2); and legendary West Indies cricketer and member of the world famous 3Ws, Sir Frank Worrell ($5).

Repeating themes were carried throughout the note with images and icons matching in print and security features throughout.

Effectiveness of the integration of security features into the banknote

The front of the banknotes utilises the Enhanced GEMINI™ feature to depict important national symbols of Barbados.

ARGENTUM™ was used to highlight the denominational values on the low notes.

Security features were carefully positioned for consistency throughout the series (e.g. the denominational value in higher and lower notes depsite lower having ARGENTUM™ and higher having a holograhic stripe).

The reverse of the series is brought together by the satellite image of the island of Barbados being printed in part on each banknote to form a complete image across all 6 denominations when the notes are placed together, the outline of which glows when placed under UV light.

MASK hide and reveal was incorporated in the shape of a trident.

The images used for the rotating effects in SPOTLIGHT™ also amplified the theme of each banknote, with icons used in the hologram varying between the notes.

Aesthetic appeal and overall design of the banknote or banknote series

This series of banknotes is an exemplar of notes being more than just currency – carrying symbolism and being designed to invoke national pride. The IMF noted the symbolism on the notes in an article ‘For the Love of Cricket’ to celebrate the new series:

The banknotes retained the colours and portraiture of the previous series (national heroes on the front, famous locations and landmarks on the reverse relating to those heroes). However the themes were also updated, positioning them in a fresh way with a vertical orientation, whilst bringing in additional national symbols, including lines from the national anthem, and a partial outline of the map of Barbados on each note, which becomes the complete outline when the full series is viewed together in two rows of three

Awards | Currency Awards 2023


Best New Banknote or Banknote Series