Micro-Optic Design Comes to the Fore

When Crane Currency purchased the Tumba Banknote facility from the Swedish Central Bank in 2002, Crane was already a well-known banknote paper maker, but had no direct experience in banknote printing or banknote design. At the time, Karin Mörck-Hamilton who is now Crane Currency’s Head of Global Design, was one of only two banknote designers working in Tumba. “Design was very much behind the scenes in those days,” recalls Mörck-Hamilton. “Obviously, banknote design was regarded as important, but it was primarily seen as a resource to be called upon. Designers were not who the customer might see first.” That changed with the arrival of Crane and as its banknotes became more technical and Crane introduced highly customizable MOTION® micro-optic security features. Today, central banks around the world recognize Crane’s banknote designers working in Tumba and Malta as being experts who can help them address the challenge of creating modern and secure banknotes.  

Today, twenty years after the acquisition of Tumba and four years after the Crane Co. acquisition of Crane Currency, central banks and brand owners are appreciating the talent, creativity, and special expertise of Crane’s micro-optic designers.  Crane’s micro-optic design team working from Alpharetta Georgia is helping to awaken brand owners to new possibilities, opportunities and solutions by leveraging their digital skills and micro-optic security feature experience once enjoyed only by central banks. 

With the Currency Strategic Deployment aimed at growing Crane’s brand protection business nearing its one-year anniversary, Crane Currency has seen its micro-optic design team employed in new ways.  This is creating more opportunities for Crane Design to engage in brand markets and to be noticed in new sectors of the product security community.  This was recently evidenced by an interview with Kara Zona, Micro-Optic Design Manager by the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC), soliciting Zona’s advice for its member companies looking to increase the protection of their products and intellectual property. An excerpt is below:


What is one way a brand with a mature Intellectual Property enforcement program can take their efforts to the next level?


A brand with a mature IP enforcement should link security features to how the product is used. If they want to take their efforts to the next level. Outstanding and secure feature design comes down to integration into how the product will be used. Visible security features need to be understood to have value.

Crane Authentication’s simple, effective designs are often the result of a great deal of work where counterfeit-resistance and usability are balanced with each other. Brands always think about how overall package design and brand identity are integrated. Adding overt, secure effects to that integration is where higher level security can really take form.


What are your top two recommendations to a brand that is building up its Intellectual Property enforcement program?


Consider end-user engagement early on! What are consumers most interested in observing?

This means envisioning how secure effects like 3D can be integrated into the packaging where consumers are mostly likely to look. Early planning helps avoid ‘late to the game,’ stuck-on features that can detract from shelf-appeal or be easy to overlook.

For more information on the Crane’s micro-optic design team and Kara Zona please see: The Fusion Between Art and Engineering

The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition Inc., (“IACC”) is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization devoted solely to combating product counterfeiting and piracy, formed in 1979.  Its 250 members come from a diverse range of industries including automotive, apparel, luxury goods, pharmaceuticals, specialty foods, software and entertainment.  The IACC also includes law firms, investigative and product security firms like Crane Authentication.