Dezeen Magazine

UK brings back blue passports to "restore national identity"

British passports will lose their burgundy covers and go back to having dark blue ones after Brexit, the government has confirmed.

In a bid to "restore national identity", British passports issued after October 2019 will feature a blue and gold cover, like the ones the UK had before it joined the European Union in 1973.

The move was announced today by immigration minister Brandon Lewis, who said he was delighted that the country will be bringing back "the iconic blue and gold design".

"Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world," he said.

He also said the new passports will integrate new security measures to better protect travellers against fraud and forgery, making the British passport "one of the most secure travel documents in the world".

However Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, said the UK did not have to leave the EU to change its passport colour. "There is no EU legislation dictating passport colour," he tweeted. The UK could have had any passport colour it wanted and stay in the EU."

Designer Ian Macfarlane won Dezeen's Brexit passport design competition with a design that blends the burgundy EU passport with the old dark blue UK one

The design of the UK's passport has been much discussed since the Brexit vote. Just days after Article 50 was triggered, a £500 million tender was sent out by the government for firms to come up with ideas for a new passport.

Dezeen also launched its own ideas competition to come up with alternative ideas for Britain's post-Brexit passport. The competition was launched to explore alternative ways of expressing British identity through the ubiquitous document.

The contest, which garnered more than 200 entries, was won by Scottish graphic designer Ian Macfarlane, with a design featuring a cover that transitions from burgundy to blue

Macfarlane claimed the the UK needed "a visual metaphor to honestly reflect the pre- and post-referendum spirit of the country".

Nine designs showing a range of creative approaches were shortlisted for Dezeen's competition

The winning design and shortlisted entries have been showcased at the V&A museum and at the Design Museum in London.

The official new passports will be issued, for those renewing or applying for a new passport, from October 2019. In order to "save the taxpayer money", these passports will be introduced in phases, according to the Home Office.

More details about the UK's official passport design are expected to be revealed when a supplier is appointed in Spring 2018. However, controversially, the design could end up coming from a French or German company.