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Let’s play our card right


[RE]DESIGNING THE ROMANIAN ID CARD
PUBLISHED IN DOR #5, SPRING 2011



In the same way a change of name can evince a change in reality, design also has the power to transform perceptions. We chose the seemingly insignificant subject (and object) of the Romanian ID, that is the often the first answer to a foreign authority’s question: Who are you?


What is more intimately connected to a citizen’s identity than his ID card?


Caption: A well-designed ID card would change the foreign perceptions of Romanians, our own self-perception and our perception of the respect of authorities have towards us.


The predominant excuse for ugly design is that we don’t have the money to make it beautiful yet functional. Plainly, this is an unsound argument as an ugly ID card costs the same amount as a beautiful and well-designed one. Our proposed design of the ID card has a high emphasis on aesthetic considerations but is borne out of respect for informational architecture and clarity whilst providing a higher utility to users.

  1. Firstly, we reduced the cumbersome size of the existing ID to the standardised ID-1 dimensions (85.60 × 53.98 mm). This standard is utilised for ID cards, banking cards and drivers licenses across EU countries, Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, and the US. Currently, the only element in accordance to this convenient standard is the corner radius being 3.18mm.

  1. Any Romanian youth studying abroad or travelling knows the frantic difficultly of convincing a twitchy bouncer or indifferent cashier that they are over 18 years old, because the date of birth is not directly listed anywhere on their ID. Those outside of Romania have little enthusiasm to decipher the CNP riddle on your card, no matter how you prompt them that it actually encodes your date of birth. As such, a chief (and in our view mandatory) difference with our proposal is the prominence of an easily readable date of birth.
  2. Currently, the reverse of the ID card was completely barren, in our proposal this space is efficiently utilised for holding secondary and non-critical information. The essential details remain on the front: card number and series, numerical personal code, name and surname, sex, date of birth and signature. This logical splitting of information makes the information convenient to find and easy to read.

  1. Our proposal also removes some information, namely, the document’s issuer and the exact location. The prior ought to be stored only by the authorities and is unnecessary on the card itself. In respect to the latter, we still keep the city of residence and postal code but for enhanced privacy and identity theft security we omit the exact address.
  2. Our proposal considers the inclusion of a Quick Response Code (QR Code) to aid convenient and faster processing and electronic information transfer without the necessitation of a chip machine.

  1. Informed by the ICAO 9303 standard, we propose a RF contactless smart card storing chip. This chip would transform the ID into an intelligent and convenient travel document where biometric data – such as facial, fingerprint and iris patterns – can be stored. Holding such information on the card allows the user to be accurately identified, which in turn enable the ID card to be used as a passport according to the ICAO 9303 standard. Dutch, Brazilian and Albanian ID cards currently comply to the standard, allowing their citizens to utilise it as a passport.
  2. Furthermore, we believe that the inclusion of recognisable imagery of Romanian art and culture, such as the internationally renowned modern sculpture by Brancusi, “The Kiss”, would be beneficial. At its simplest level, it makes the ID card more attractive to look at but
    it also consolidates a sensation that being Romanian is something to be proud of and underscores our national heritage and cultural achievements.


© Brandient 2011

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