A design of note

Engaging a nation to create a series of secure and meaningful bank notes

The need

As of 2016 the Royal Bank of Scotland’s bank notes had remained unchanged for 30 years. With a rebrand to the Bank for Scotland, and the introduction of polymer materials it was time to redesign Scotland’s bank iconic notes.

RBS asked us to lead the redesign efforts and ensure we engaged the people of Scotland during the process.

How we responded

Given the national significance of this project, we invited some of Scotland’s best creatives, designers, photographers and calligraphers to join us to develop the creative concept for the new notes (O Street, Graven Images, Timorous Beasties and Stuco).

We conducted co-design sessions and online communities with representation across the breadth of Scotland. Engaging with over 1178 Scots.

This lead us to a stand out theme, The Fabric of Nature, and all the important cultural elements that reflect this theme in the eyes of the Scottish people.

From the typography to the featured animals, to the bespoke textile backgrounds, every element of every note has a meaning connected with the people of Scotland. The notes are a cultural capture of what is important, and heart felt for us Scots.

We’ve captured some of the stories from making the notes in the short films further down the page.

The results

The notes have been shortlisted for the IBNS Banknote of the Year award, an initiative of the IBNS to recognise exceptional banknotes.

Workshop early thinking

“It is much more than a symbol of the bank, it is a representation of what is meaningful to the people of Scotland, designed in partnership with them.”

Malcolm Buchanan, Chairman of Scottish Board RBS

“Every person who has been involved in this project has left a little piece of themselves behind in the design.”

Rebekka Bush, Creative Director, RBS Personal and Business Banking

See how we created the People's Money.

Erland Clouston tells the story behind the photograph of Nan Shepherd on the new RBS £5 polymer bank note.

Calligrapher Susie Leiper talks about her collaboration with Nile on the new polymer bank notes for RBS.

Have a challenge for us?