I just received my new passport in the mail. I was horrified—not over my photo, for once—but over the document’s overblown redesign. Gone are the flexible covers that allowed me to flip easily through the pages to admire all my entry and exit stamps and gone are the understated backgrounds that allowed clear legibility of those stamps, my personal data, and my photo. A passport is an official record of our travels to other lands and cultures. It seems contradictory to me that the redesigned pages are so obsessively focused on our own country’s culture and landmarks, as if our government is afraid we’ll forget where we come from.
I am surprised to write this, but not everything needs to be redesigned or rebranded. I like some things to remain unchanged by the whims and trivialities of the real world. Don’t redesign my passport, my license plates, or my money. But, if you must redesign them, please hire a professional who understands the importance of legibility, aesthetics, audience, and concept to do it.