Use of capitalised text on Bank of England banknotes

Freedom of Information rules mean that, as a public authority, the Bank of England is obliged to disclose certain types of information, both proactively and on request.

Date: 6 September 2021

Disclosure: The Bank of England (the ‘Bank’) issued its first banknote in 1694 and since then all Bank of England banknotes have carried a Promissory Clause.

Although the wording on our banknotes has remained constant, the style has varied over the years. The current presentation style using fully capitalised text has been in place since the issue of the Shakespeare £50 note in 1970.

The Bank does not use a specific style guide in designing its notes and allows its specialist banknote designers broad freedom in the designs that they propose. The plain, all-capital Promissory Clause placed underneath the intricately scrolled ‘Bank of England’ title text, creates a good contrast for the readability of the Promissory Clause, even though it is actually much smaller in size.

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