As the merchandise mark "Made in Germany" refers to production quality, beauty and design can be referred to the Scandinavian countries. Norway now even went as far as to announce a design competion to get their official passport to be redesigned. Oslo-based Neue Design Studio has won the competition and created a modern, sleek document, already winning praise from all sides. The design team worked withe the beautifully simplified depictions of Norway’s natural landscapes drawn with fine lines in pastel shades. “All Norwegians are so connected to nature, it’s a very strong part of our history and defines us as a country,” says Gørill Kvamme of Neue, who explains that the minimal concept came from seeking to find the “essence of something”. When shone under UV light, the landscapes within the pages transform to show the northern lights in the night sky, a magical touch that adds a deeper sense of intrigue to the already striking document. “It represents the vast variety of nature and landscapes you find in Norway … which makes it relevant to all of us whether you have always lived there or just received your citizenship.” The 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. The result of the competition was explained by the jury: “It both illustrates the Norwegian identity and makes sure the passport will be viewed as document of high value”. Now Neue will work closely with the National Police Directorate to find a way to balance the design with the complicated security expectations of a passport - something they are not currently able to discuss in detail. No date for the passport’s release has been set but it is expected to be within the next two years.
Passports aren’t the only national symbol the state has opened up to the country’s design teams. Last month - as a result of a similar competition - Norges Bank picked proposals from design studios Snøhetta and The Metric System for their new kroner notes. Pixelated and also featuring bold colours, the new notes are due to be released in 2017.
Along with the country’s new passports, they show how progressive design is tied in with the Norwegian way of life. As Kvamme says: “Design has a natural role in helping express what country or culture you are a part of.” Will there be soon the merchandise mark "Designed in Norway"?