Have you ever wondered why your passport looks like it does?
Most people are used to passports with dark red, navy blue or dark green covers, emblazoned with gilt crests or other ornaments.
They are valuable official evidence of our rights as national citizens.
For many years, Norwegian passports were dark red.
Then our most important document changed colour to a brighter, almost pinkish, red. And if you flick through its pages, you will see stylized depictions of landscapes from northern to southern Norway.
The Norwegian design agency Neue Design Studio worked on developing the new passport for over six years in collaboration with the National Criminal Investigation Service – or KRIPOS – and the National Police Directorate.
Benjamin Stenmarck, a designer and illustrator at Neue Design, explains:
When you open the first page of your passport, you see the North Cape. It was quite an interesting piece of research to see how the mountains gradually become more rounded. First more jagged and then more rounded, and when you get down to the south, the landscape around Lindesnes looks quite gentle by comparison. These designs have become two security elements that KRIPOS have enjoyed developing.
But what defines a Norwegian citizen? How does one design a document as official in nature as a passport, so that it feels inclusive for such a diverse population, from the north to the south of the country?
We have tried to be as respectful as possible. The passport should encompass everyone. From old to young, for old and new Norwegian citizens, he and she and they. All genders. Seen from this perspective, having the Norwegian landscape as a backdrop perhaps signals more tranquility: mountain ranges, plains, hills, lakes, shorelines, forests and fields.