The Ulster Bank Five & Ten Pound Notes

Going vertical

Needing a new banknote, Northern Ireland’s Ulster Bank came to a reliable team.

Just like with the Royal Bank of Scotland, O Street have taken on the creative and graphic design roles for a new set of polymer banknotes. We again worked with  specialty printers De La Rue and service designers Nile.

Grab a cuppa and see what these new notes are all about.

These are the first vertical notes to be introduced in the UK and Ireland. The broad theme of the currency is the natural beauty of Northern Ireland—the connection of its land and people—and the vertical format allowed us to break one canvas into multiple landscapes.

The five pound note harkens to the sea and migration. It features wildlife, fuchsia, Strangford Lough and a family beach scene. Migration and geometric patterns are gently woven through the composition.

The warmer hued ten pound note nods to the land’s rich agricultural history. Irish hares, Draught horses, rolling fields and the Guelder Rose are prominent.

Details are the visual currency of banknotes, so we left no stone unturned. When it came to the typography, we turned to Jason Smith of Fontsmith (O Street’s David worked with Jason over 20 years ago when Fontsmith first started). As a Northern Irishman, his take on the numerals—inspired by historic milestones—gives the notes added local charm.


And the charm doesn’t stop there. Northern Irish creatives Colin McCadden and Lisa Smyth were enlisted to help us craft the design of the note and make sure an authentic personality came through.

We’re honoured to have rolled up our sleeves for the good people of Northern Ireland. Now just don’t forget to have some treacle bread with your tea.