NEW UK Passport
It’s been hailed as the most secure travel document in the world, a fiendishly complex concoction of invisible inks, special fibres and laminated holograms that will foil even the most advanced fraudsters. But with all the focus on security features, the designers of the new UK passport are sticking to the same old look. Why can’t we try something different and show the world we are up there with the very best in design?
But does it really matter, travel documents should be secure from fraudsters, but who cares what they look like?
Well apparently other country’s do – the Swiss & Norwegian passports have been hailed as world leaders in passport design…
Beyond its minimal red and white cover, with embossed Swiss crosses dancing across the page, it contains a psychedelic world of geometric security patterns, cut-out portraits and a spread of regional diversity by giving each of the country’s 26 cantons their own page.
Norway’s passport turns abstract landscapes into glowing northern lights scenes under UV light making this – probably the coolest passport in the world.
So back to ours…
Critics are saying the new UK passport is a Great British Mess and have compiled the following list of ‘blunders’
- Throughout the 36-page showcase of artists and inventions is the inclusion of ONLY TWO women – architect Elisabeth Scott and mathematician Ada Lovelace.
- Then there is the issue of what they’ve actually chosen to depict. Among the “iconic” British landmarks liberally collaged across the pages, the designers have somehow managed to include two of the most reviled structures of recent times – both of which were short listed for the Carbuncle Cup for the worst building of the year.
- The lunatic tangle of Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit writhes across one page and crashes into the watermark of Shakespeare, who peers out disapprovingly from every spread. It’s a fine example of a very British mess. This privately sponsored Olympic leviathan, built as a totem pole to the richest man in the UK, was recently found to cost the taxpayer £10,000 a week.
- Flip a few pages and there, lurking in the corner below the Houses of Parliament as if in the hope you might not spot it, squats the Titanic Belfast museum. This £76m lump graced the Carbuncle Cup shortlist in 2012, the same year as the Orbit, for its clunking metaphor of trying to look like both a ship and an iceberg at the same time. Thankfully a big cut-out of the London Eye swoops across the page to distract your attention.
- Other pages are strewn with “iconic British innovations” such as postboxes and stamps, trains and ships, computers and clocks, all cut out and collaged at jaunty angles. It looks like a photocopied moodboard, the result of someone typing “icons of Britishness” into Google, putting them through a pastel line-art filter and scattering them willy nilly across the pages. Which is very likely how they did it.
- There’s the Penny Black and the London tube map, Stephenson’s Rocket and Gilbert Scott’s phone box – and then there’s the token page of multiculturalism, which features a south Asian dancer, a Chinese dragon and a Caribbean carnival costume. By trying to cover all bases in just 16 spreads, it flattens British identity into something resembling a tired school textbook.
So there you have it, the new UK Passport. Woop woop can’t wait to get mine, maybe I can get past page two this time!