Weekend hiatus for me and then a busy Monday. But during a 5-minute break, I read an article a while ago from the Economist on the meaning of passport colors and design. Here’s an excerpt:
THE birth of South Sudan owes a lot to America. Perhaps as a sign of gratitude, its national coat of arms (chosen in a public competition last year) looks rather like the great seal. And its new passports, blue and eagle-crested, closely resemble America’s travel document. Those who decry such imitation should study history. Benjamin Franklin based the new American passport, in those days just a single sheet of paper, on the French one.
Further down, it reads:
America’s first passport cover, in 1918, was beige, going green three years later. It changed to various shades of red in 1926 and back to green in 1941. Only on the bicentenary in 1976 did it turn blue, matching the shade in the American flag.
It got me curious as to what different passports look like. So I googled. To my disappointment, or maybe I’m just weird that way to have been disappointed, the ones I found didn’t look as interesting and exciting as I expected. I was perhaps wrong to have expected much. It’s a government-issued document, for crying out loud. Other than a national emblem and the name of the country printed in their own jibber jabber alphabet plus whatever, really, what is there to expect.
Anyway, here are some that I found:
Fascinated? Maybe knowing the history behind the badges would be more interesting than just looking at the cover. Most interesting would be having a passport filled with stamps because you have been traveling. In my lifetime, I wish to actually finish a booklet before it expires. Geezus, I suppose even if you put together all the stamps I’ve collected from my first ever passport to the one I just renewed, I still wouldn’t finish one! But I have to concede, Norway’s and Sweden’s look classy. Looks like you’re part of some high society if you carry one.
And yea, you saw that right. United Nations has its own. Badass.
Anyway, last excerpt:
According to Bill Waldron of Holliston, a Tennessee-based firm that prints documents for 65 of the world’s 249 passport-issuing entities, darker colours are popular because they show dirt less, heighten the contrast with the crest and look more official—much as police wear dark uniforms.
I’ll try currencies next time. But if you know of other nice-looking passports, please do share.
Read the rest here.