Canadian passport reveals its design secrets

New Canadian passports have been hiding a whole series of design gems between their innocuous-looking pages; you just need an ultra-violet light to see them

Images by Imgur user chachichachichicken

New Canadian passports have been hiding a whole series of design gems between their innocuous-looking pages; you just need an ultra-violet light to see them…

While the new-look passports have been in use since July 2013, there’s one aspect to their design that has not (to our knowledge) been duly celebrated until very recently. This week, a post on Imgur via Reddit alerted our attention to one of the most surprising design reveals we’ve seen. As one commenter pointed out, “It’s like a party on every page”.

Loaded up onto Imgur user chachichachichicken displayed several shots of his friend’s passport: “My buddy got his new Canadian passport and had the wisdom to take a look at it under his black light,” he wrote. “We thought we’d share…”.

And what a revelation the images turned out to be: each fairly standard-looking page of the passport (historical figures, well-known monuments etc) is brought to life in a blaze of pattern and colour when view under a ‘black light’ or ultra-violet light source. The design feature acts as an additional security feature that many Canadian’s are just unaware of but presumably is viewable at passport desks around the world.

In 2010 I wrote about the UK passport redesign, in which the Identity and Passports Service evoked this isle’s sea-faring tradition in its rendering of an Albion of yesteryear. Conversely, it was the very modern design of the Norwegian passport that last year set the internet into a documentation-based frenzy.

Now Canada has revealed its hand. While its certainly not as cooly minimal as the Norwegian effort, it’s difficult not to enjoy the party.

The full series of images is at All images by Imgur user chachichachichicken

  • Lovely post, thanks. Pre-digital passports always used to be such romantic items. Collecting stamps from around the world was part of the adventure of travelling. Great to see designers putting some of that excitement back.

  • V

    I actually dare someone to try and forge this—this is beautiful in the effort it’s taken to slap identity fraud in the face.

  • oh man this is such an awesome idea! a little bit of artwork hidden for so long.
    Lauren // OhHay Blogs!

  • Mark

    The Canadian passport design highlights the artistic availability in so many everyday items. This necessary travel item now has more sentimental value to the user. I like how each design is personally tailored to the extravagant Canadian scenery. Norway’s passport does not do their nation justice by presenting a minimalist design. A passport is a source of national pride in which traveling citizens can be reminded of their home. This badge of national pride is perfectly exemplified through Canada’s passport.

  • Brilliant – an ‘easter egg’ you might find in software applied to print – ingenious!
    If you haven’t discovered these before, in Photoshop CC, just hold down the control, alt and cmd keys on the keyboard, select ‘About Photoshop’ from the main menu and you’ll see a hidden gem!

  • Simon

    I want to be a Canadian…

  • This is why everybody should be jealous of Canadians. It’s just brilliant! So weird this wasn’t discovered earlier!