CLOSE CALL: A design that received the most popular support narrowly missed out on winning, mostly due to the choice of Taipei 101 for the anti-forgery image
By Jake Chung / Staff writer
A panel comprised of designers and representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Culture yesterday awarded designer Vance Luic’s （魯少綸） “Shape” （形） the design award for what is to serve as the blueprint for a new national identification card.
The Ministry of the Interior on Feb. 26 launched an online design competition for the card, which is to have an embedded chip.
“Shape” uses mountain and ocean imagery as the background, a choice that indicates a higher level of tolerance and acceptance than the usual choice to symbolize land: the shape of Taiwan, the Ministry of the Interior said.
The textual design is clean and concise, and is able to accommodate names of varying lengths and other information, as well as a clear rendition of a person’s English-language name, it said.
It was the most neutral design, with no obvious preference for gender or primary culturing, making it an ideal candidate for a national identification card, it added.
Rika Su’s （蘇意茹） “Ethnicity; Sea and Mountain; International” won the creativity award, while designer Lin Hao-han’s （林昊翰） “Taiwanese National Identity Card — Local Residents of the Island” received the most popular award.
The most popular design is not necessarily the best design, designer Aaron Nieh （聶永真） said yesterday, addressing an Internet backlash over Luic’s design, which received 46 votes, being chosen over Lin’s design, which garnered 97,498 votes.
The panel’s duty was to ensure that all designs were given an equal chance, in spite of the online votes, which could have easily favored earlier designs over later ones, he said.
While it is understandable that people would be disgruntled that their pick was not chosen by the panel, such feelings should not lead to unjustified criticism of another design, he added.
Netizens who favored Lin’s design had commented that the selection process was a “sham” and that the decision was “handpicked.”
Lin’s design was only a few votes short of winning, Nieh said.
The use of Taipei 101 for the anti-forgery image, which is revealed when exposed to ultraviolet light, was the main shortcoming, as many other images and symbols could represent Taiwan other than the obviously dominant skyscraper or other stereotypical tourist attractions, he said.
Nieh expressed sadness over the winner being verbally bullied for their efforts, saying: “If the creators feel nothing but depression and fear, we too have nothing.”
“Populism is a very scary thing, and we should endeavor to not let ourselves become an oppressor,” he said.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Hua Ching-chun （花敬群） told a news conference that the selection process did not focus on any particular symbol or national recognition, adding that it is normal to have the nation’s flag on the national identification card.
“Shape” has a professional design, is practical and expresses the essence of Taiwan in a more reserved sense, he said.
The Ministry of the Interior would use the design as a reference point for the design of the new national identification card and would consult its designer on a regular basis, he added.
The new card project is estimated to cost up to NT$4 billion （US$134 million）.