An Individualistic Passport

Sofia and I spent most of our time butting against the fact that passports are intrinsically designed to avoid individualism. Their purpose is basically singular: to allow people (usually government agents) to quickly read information that they can trust is in fact true. That information is personal, perhaps even sensitive, but must be standardized so that passport readers can do their jobs. In fact, passports’ users may in fact be the governments who issue passports and the agencies who must use them to permit people to travel. I make a distinction in this post between passport users (agents) and passport holders (travelers).

To create an individualistic passport, we found we could hide the conformity. Conformity would be necessary for passport users to quickly find information, so we proposed placing an RFID in passports which could transmit this basic information to a screen which agents would read. Despite RFIDs also being (often) anti-individualistic technology, it is invisible to most passport users and would allow for some changes to the passport which could make it more individualistic. However, we recognized that RFIDs are not particularly secure, which can undercut the ability to verify the information it transmits. We are less concerned with the technical implementation, but a secure transmission which would be invisible to passport holders would be our ideal.

As for the individualism, we explored ways to design for creativity. We wanted to be able to design three parts: the cover, the page containing personal info, the photo (which would be included on the aforementioned page), and the part with stamps.

Cover We initially wanted a cover which could represent multiple nationalities at a time to accommodate those who hold multiple passports. Those designs ended up being too conformed and decided such information could be transmitted electronically. Instead, we wanted that part to be totally free-form. I drew the eagle from the Mexican flag on mine.

Personal Info This page would be less functional but should still exist (though only for the photo ). We decided it should work like an introductory slide for a class. It should have parameters for what information should be included, but you can decide on its layout. Additionally, passports could allow you to have personal statements (mine is a bit boring).

Photo Again, this seems it should be approved by some government office to verify that the photo can represent you to passport users. However, it seems that the photo should be easier to update. Some of that would be bureaucratic changes, but our passport had easily replaceable pages (represented here by a napkin). That would also allow you to drastically change your appearance and allow your photo to be up-to-date.

Stamps Stamps could be crowd sourced online and approved by each government. When you arrived at the airport, you could choose from a number of steps, including ones you’d submitted.

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