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30 Aug, 2010

A passport to Albion

Posted by: admin In: Creative Review

The new-look UK passport, unveiled yesterday, features a host of charming images of the isles and its weather systems. But far from reflecting an urbanised modern Britain, the new designs refer to the folklore of the past…

The psychedelic village scene above, for example, might look more at home on the sleeve of a folk rock album from the early 70s, but it forms the bottom half of the opening page of the new UK passport.

From the small selection of pages that we’ve seen, as issued by the UK Home Office press centre, it’s clear that a range of illustrative elements designed to evoke rural Britain have been incorporated into the document, which was created by the Identity and Passports Service’s product design team. Alongside the cottages above, there’s also some oak leaves and a native Chalkhill Blue butterfly (though any CR-reading lepidopterists, do correct me if I’m mistaken).

Of course, there are plenty of advancements in security features, too. For example, there’s a new transparent covering, which includes several holograms to protect the holder’s personal details, and there will now be two photographs of the passport holder on the official observations and personal details pages, shown below, which will move to the front of the document.

But check the detailing: it’s folk rock again – with a sea-faring lean! There’s a compass, cryptically placed on top of the passport bearer’s face, some gulls and a tern, and even an illustration of some rather choppy seas.

This being Britain, the weather is also a running illustrative theme across the passport’s 28 pages. Ahh, it appears to be cloudy again.

Other pages also feature well-known scenic gems including the white cliffs of Dover, the Gower peninsula, Ben Nevis and the Giant’s Causeway.

The new 10-year passport is set to be issued in October, produced under a £400 million contract by commercial security printers De La Rue.

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