Dezeen Magazine

Norwegian travel documents given a minimal makeover

News: Oslo-based Neue Design Studio has won a competition to redesign Norway's passports and ID cards, a month after graphics by Snøhetta were chosen for the country's new bank notes.

Neue Design Studio's proposal, based on the theme The Norwegian Landscape, was selected by a jury earlier this month as the winning scheme to overhaul Norway's travel documents for "the simplicity of the solution".

Norwegian Passports by Neue Studio

"Of the submissions for the new Norwegian passports and ID cards, The Norwegian Landscape has been chosen as the best concept," said the jury's statement. "It both illustrates the Norwegian identity and makes sure the passport will be viewed as a document of high value."

Inside the passports, double-page spreads are illustrated with minimal images of landscapes from different parts of the country.

"Nature has always been an essential part of the Norwegian identity and tradition, as well as being a key fundament for our welfare," said Neue Design Studio. "The landscape with its vast variation from the south to the north, is the starting point for the design concept."

Norwegian Passports by Neue Studio

When placed under a UV light, the vistas transform to show images of the Northern Lights – a natural phenomenon caused by electrically charged solar particles hitting the atmosphere that is commonly seen in Norway – depicted as colourful ribbons across the skies.

The light also reveals hidden text written at the bottom of the pages.

Covers are coloured differently for standard, diplomatic and immigrant passports, which all feature gold writing in the bottom left corner and a simplified version of the country's crest above.

Norwegian Passports by Neue Studio

The competition to redesign the passports and ID cards was launched in February by the Norwegian Police Directorate, which wants increased security for travel documents to help prevent identity theft.

"The winning entry will now be processed and design expression will have a changed appearance on the basis of technical and safety considerations," said police inspector John Kristian Thoresen. "The final result, you will first see when the new travel document has been produced."

The competition follows the selection by Norway's central bank of pixellated designs by Snøhetta for the back of the country's new banknotes – set to go into circulation in 2017.