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Colin Howell: UK Designer Ruto Trusted With New Digital IDs


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Colin Howell is an internationally acclaimed designer trusted by President William Ruto to lead the production of new digital Identity Cards (IDs).

Ruto offered him the job during the ID4 Africa annual conference on May 24, after impressing him with a PowerPoint presentation on how his journey across Africa inspired the design of the Kenyan passport.

The United Kingdom (UK) based graphic designer has an impressive experience in design and has worked with several countries, including Qatar, Jordan, Rwanda and Afghanistan, among others.

He studied documentary production at the New York Film Academy in 2009 after pursuing a course in graphic design at the University of the Arts London.

Howell started as a model and an actor in the UK, modelling for various magazines and films under the Sandra Reynolds Agency. However, he later went into graphic design, leading several projects under De La Rue.

His outstanding projects include the design of the current Qatar e-passport, which offered diversification to the book visa and relevant images.

“I designed a concept passport (pair of visa pages, Bio and End pages) in Qatar on a Mac PowerBook and went on to complete this project at the De La Rue studio. This remains Qatar’s current Passport,” Howell explains in his LinkedIn profile.

Howell was also in charge of the design of the United Nations Passport from its initial concepts configuring several security features into its design.

“The bio-data page features a printed facial image formatted to meet ISO standards, including a ‘ghost image’ to provide additional security protection.

My detailed print designs on the visas incorporate first-class aesthetics with the highest possible levels of security protection,” he describes.

Additionally, he designed the Afghanistan Passport working closely with the Minister of Interior and the British passport.

Speaking during the ID Africa conference, President William Ruto lauded Howell for an impressive presentation stating that he was looking forward to working with him on the new project.

“I was particularly impressed and fascinated by the presentation of Colin Howell and his journey across our continent and the expertise he has brought to bear on our identity infrastructure, including the Kenyan one.

“I like what Colin said, that he is looking forward to working with us on our new passport and identity infrastructure,” Ruto stated.

However, he stated that he would only work with him if he agreed to engage the Kenyan designers and experts in the process, adding that it was important for Kenyan youth to contribute their talent to making the Digital IDs.

“It will be impossible for us to work with you only if you are willing to work with our young people, our experts, and our designers so that we can be able to pass on the experience to our young people,” Ruto stated.


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