Dezeen Magazine

Neue's minimal designs for Norwegian passports go into circulation

Norway's new passports by design studio Neue, which feature illustrations of the country's landscape that change from day to night under UV light, have been realised after six years of development.

Oslo-based studio Neue won a competition to overhaul the country's passports and ID cards in 2014 with its design.

UV light changes Norway's new passports
The new design is harder to forge

Entrants were asked to submit a design based on the theme of Norway's landscapes. The primary reason for renewing the passports is to increase their security by making them harder to forge.

The finalised versions of the Neue-designed travel documents have now been unveiled, and include the Norwegian passport, diplomatic passport, emergency passport and travel document.

Neue studio's design for the covers of Norway's new passports
The passport covers feature a simplified version of Norway's crest

The exteriors are coloured red, blue, white and navy respectively, as a nod to Norway's flag. A simplified version of the country's crest and the name of the document is embossed in gold on each cover.

Inside the passports and travel documents, each page is printed with a different depiction of the Norwegian landscape, including mountainous scenes with lakes and streams.

The inside pages of Norway's new passport
Neue designed the passport as part of a competition in 2014

These background illustrations work both as decoration and a security element. When the pages are placed under a UV light, the landscape transitions from day to night scenes.

Some pages reveal ribbons of fluorescent blue and green to represent the northern lights, while others illuminate the moon.

A double-page spread of the passport
Each page of the passport features illustrations of Norway's landscape

"The design has to create a sense of belonging and connection across age, gender and regions in Norway," the studio explained. "Therefore it was important to look at our historical foundation and what in the Norwegian culture that creates a sense of belonging – its nature."

"[Norway's nature] is, and has always been, part of our history," it added. "The landscapes surrounding us give a sense of belonging and pride, and fill a symbolic function for the entire nation."

"Images of scenery and landscape can easily become clichés, but by being widely accepted and deeply rooted in Norwegian culture, they are also very easy to identify with."

"By using illustrations of single parts of a wide Norwegian panorama, we want to show the contrasts in landscapes and climates that have shaped us, offered opportunities and resources, places for recreation and the scenes of important historical events."

A double-page spread of the passport under UV light
The illustrations change from day to night scenes under UV light

Dezeen launched an unofficial competition to redesign the UK passport back in 2017 to imagine what the cover should look like after Brexit.

Scottish graphic designer Ian Macfarlane was awarded first prize with a cover that softly transitions between the burgundy EU passport and the dark blue of the old, pre-EU British passport.

Since then, the UK government confirmed that after Brexit the official British passports will lose their burgundy covers and go back to having dark blue ones like the ones had before it joined the European Union in 1973.