On one hand, passports are a designer’s dream: They’re the first line of a nation’s branding, a uniform size, and need to convey standardized information in an easy-to-comprehend manner. Getting to put your stamp on something that gets stamped so many times and is so essential to how people move about the world isn’t something that just anyone gets to do.
On the other hand, what designer dreams to deal with the government bureaucrats and agencies that have a say in what goes on a passport?
If you’re in a country that cares about design as Norway does, it turns out you’re in luck. In February of this year, Neue Design Studio won a design competition from Norway’s National Police Directorate. The competition was looking for both a good, functional design and increased security measures.
For inspiration, Neue turned to nature, creating multiple-page spreads featuring landscapes from across the country. For security, they added layers atop the landscapes that bring the same scenes to life at night.
The jury that picked Neue’s design described the winning bid in rather formal language that nonetheless captured what it liked about Neue’s approach: “The concept is the competition’s most subtle and stylish solution, and positively separates itself from the competing submissions. Aesthetically, the landscape motifs have been given a distinctive look. The jury appreciates the simplicity of the solution.”
The new passports will not be in the hands of Norwegian citizens until sometime next year when technical and safety issues have been ironed out.