Creating a Credential
How Thales worked with the Colorado DOR to bring Colorado’s own citizens into the credential design process
When looking to redesign its driver’s license and other related credentials to improve security, the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) brought a unique idea to Thales DIS USA Inc., its vendor partner on the project: The DOR wanted to hold a contest for Colorado citizens to design the next credential.
“What was really cool about this redesign is Thales and the Colorado Department of Revenue involved Colorado citizens in the selection of the design,” says Rosalie Johnson, director driver license at the Colorado DOR. “We held a contest, and 55,000 Coloradans voiced their choice for the new credential. Instead of being a card that the government provides to the people without input, the people got to be a part of it. We got a lot of positive feedback about that.”
While the project was a success, that was only possible due to the close collaboration between Thales and the Colorado DOR. Thales, which works with over a dozen jurisdictions on a variety of projects surrounding credentials and credential security, approached the idea with collaboration in mind, like they would any new client project.
“I think we all knew that when you’re putting out a competition to the public to design your new credential, you’re taking a risk in that step,” says Steven Purdy, head of sales, ID & verification North America at Thales. “We took a consultative approach, explaining in granular detail how we could accomplish something like this, because we really wanted to ensure that we didn’t lose the integrity of the security design.”
Purdy explains that regardless of the scope of a project his team works on, they give it the same attention to detail. “We have a process called the collaborative design forum, or CDF, which we use as part of the RFP process,” says Purdy. “We use it to create sample designs, asking questions like how they want their credential to represent their state and colors that should be used—basically: What is the brand?”
In Johnson’s experience with Thales, this approach directly contributed to the success of their credential upgrade project.
“[Thales] is always so responsive and they understand the bigger picture and the solution that we’re trying to achieve for our customers,” she says. “I think that’s really important in a partnership and why our relationship is successful. It’s also why we’ve been able to finish this project and upgrade our credential [during the pandemic]. We were able to come together with the same priorities, mission and vision.”
The new Colorado credentials—featuring designs voted on by the citizens of Colorado—was first issued in February 2022. Beyond the contest-winning design, the credentials will also include state-of-the-art security features, such as microprint, laser engraving and UV holograms on the front and back of the card.
Johnson is excited for citizens to see the new design and emphasizes the meaning of the project for her team and the state at large.
“This was a partnership not only between us and Thales, but also the Colorado citizens and all of our employees at the DMV,” she says. “This was a project where everybody got a voice.”
Listen to our podcast on the Iconic Colorado program at tinyurl.com/COcredential.