Official Documents Which Just Got Interesting!


Modern Banknotes

The internet is full of examples of the ways people have attempted to turn even the most formal documents into something a little less mundane, if for no other reason than to lighten the mood every now and then.

From the public’s amusing application of artwork to bank notes, to the introduction of hidden designs by official bodies, we explore ways tired looking documents have been modernised to reveal a touch more personality. Amongst these is one outstanding clerical error, and a spoof display of knowledge too good to miss.

The Most Prosperous Banknote in Circulation?

When iconic sci-fi actor Leonard Nimoy passed away in February 2015, The Canadian Design Resource called on its Twitter followers to honour his best-known role as Mr Spock, by ‘Spocking’ their five-dollar banknotes.

Fans of the late Nimoy duly obliged, giving the image of Canada’s seventh Prime Minister, Wilfrid Laurier, Spock’s trademark hair and ears. Some went even further by adding a Vulcan salute, wishing that the next recipient of the note should ‘Live Long and Prosper’. Although not illegal, the Bank of Canada has asked people to stop this special treatment of their banknotes in honour of the late Star Trek actor. View banknote tributes here.

Passport Control — Now An Art Gallery for Canadians!

Still in Canada, and a recent discovery that beneath the Canadian passports rather dry contents, lies an exciting layer of light.1 To help increase security and make them impossible to counterfeit, the old Canadian passports contained images which came to life when held under a UV light. The new passports, issued in 2013, are even more visually dynamic and quite spectacular.

When held under UV light, new highlights include an exciting firework display around a previously ordinary image of the Parliament Building in Ottawa, and a stunning depiction of Niagra Falls under the stars.

Canada’s not the only place where they’ve freshened up their forms of ID: a concept design for the new Norwegian passport promises similar imagery within a sleek and glossy cover that Steve Jobs and Apple would have been proud to create, while Finland’s flipbook animation of a moose also catches the eye.

Enjoy passport designs revealed under UV light.

The Only Reason You Need to Check Your Bank Statement…

In what was not so much a design niche as a horrible banking error, a Welsh teenager was amazed to find he’d been charged almost £180,000 for a takeaway meal by his bank!

According to The Metro newspaper, a bank’s authorisation code of 3232 was mistakenly added to the end of the final total for his takeaway pizza, which brought the sum up – just a little bit – from £17.99 to £179,932.32.2 The unfortunate takeaway order was immediately spotted by its recipient and the sum was refunded by the chain, while the bank kindly forwent any charges for the massive overdraft and offered £100 compensation to their customer.

A-Grade Test Papers

Albert Einstein once said that “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Without the imagination used in countless school tests around the world, we wouldn’t see so many amusing memes of the students who tried (and failed) to get around their strict teachers with some of these light-hearted school test answers.

Whether it’s a smart-Alec attempt to avoid losing marks, or a genuine failed attempt to display their knowledge, new answers spring up every day which probably make school teachers rue the day social media was invented.

See more imaginative test paper answers.

More Faces On Your Fiver

If you want to know more about the history of the design of your non-customised British banknotes, read our post Money Mugshots – Who’s On My Fiver?


Do you want to know what money looks like around the world? Visit Pound Place – The Colour of Money.


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