Once international travel was put on standby under the pandemic, most people haven’t given much thought to their passports. Not so in Norway, where a team at Oslo’s Neue Design Studio delivered a first-class makeover aimed at elevating the security and style of the country’s travel documents.
Six years after the company won a competition to lead the project, Neue joined forces with Norway’s National Police Directorate to roll out the new passports and ID cards in October.
The assignment was to not just create the typical passport, but one that imbued “a sense of belonging and connection across age, gender and regions,” according to the agency. To build that inclusion, Neue leaned into the country’s deep-rooted relationship with nature, not just for its beauty, but its power to fuel rich fisheries, clean hydroelectric power and various other industries.
Pages are filled with symbols of Norway’s natural world, including mountain scenes with lakes and streams that showcase the country’s landscapes and climates. But there’s also a high-tech twist embedded into the project—that also makes it far more difficult to forge: Exposing the passport to UV light reveals bands of fluorescent blue and green hues representing the northern lights.
The passport’s covers are color coded for national symbolism, too: Red (for the national passport), blue (for diplomats, government workers and the royal family) and white (for emergency issues) are the colors of Norway’s flag. Each cover is also emblazoned with a gold-embossed version of the country's crest.
All that style doesn’t come at the expense of security, however. In unveiling the new passport, Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Mæland called the new passport project an important measure to prevent identity-related crime in Norway. “It helps prevent ID misuse and serious crime such as work-related crime, human trafficking and terrorism,” she said. Details on those features were light, since, well, they are after all intended to increase the security of passport holders.
Norway has company in rethinking travel and identification documentation. In December, United Arab Emirates officials unveiled plans to add updated digital and physical security features to a new range of documents intended to combat fraud and strengthen global trust in the country’s travel documents.