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'The most beautiful card in the nation': Colorado releases new driver's license design

dmv card.jpg
Posted at 2:25 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 16:50:16-05

DENVER — Colorado's new driver's license is now available and is a nod to various aspects of life in the Centennial State.

The front of the card is based on a photograph of Mount Sneffels, a 14,158-foot tall mountain in the San Juan Mountains. Matt Nuñez, who is from Colorado Springs and works in Glenwood Springs, submitted the piece. He works as an economic development professional for the city of Glenwood Springs. The back of the card is Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, and was taken by Gabriel Dupon from northern Colorado. Dupon runs his own photography business.

Colorado DMV new driver's license winning images

Both photographers won a $500 grant.

Colorado last redesigned its credentials in 2015.

When the state first began this project, officials turned to the community for their submissions and input. By the end of the Iconic Colorado contest, which launched in August 2021, 119 artists had submitted 407 entries, and more than 55,000 Coloradans voted for their favorites. The winning photographs were announced in March 2021.

Governor’s Advisor on Efficiencies and Digital Transformation Lu Cordova said the project as a whole took about three years and involved 30 people in two countries — Poland is part of the production process, she said.

“We set out to create the most beautiful card in the nation and I think we got that," she said.

If you look closely, you'll find secrets hidden on the card, Gov. Jared Polis said. For example, all 64 counties are written in microtext on the back of the card, a Pueblo chile pepper is on the bottom right, and if you use a UV light, you can find a stegosaurus and greenback cutthroat trout on the back of the card.

Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Dan Gibbs explained that the world's first stegosaurus fossil was found near Colorado's foothills just west of Lakewood and outside town of Morrison, and the greenback cutthroat trout is Colorado's official state fish. While the trout has been listed as a threatened species since 1978, Colorado has taken aggressive recovery steps toward restoring the population, Gibbs said.

Gibbs added that there is also an elk on the front of the card, since Colorado has the largest population of elk in the world and the animals attract countless visitors every year.

Aside from aesthetics, the card is also built to last with the latest security technology, Polis said. It is difficult to counterfeit and is made of the most durable material on the market.

The new card is available now if you would like to renew or obtain your driver's license or ID card online through Colorado's Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can start the process by visiting, using the myColorado app, or visiting a DMV office. Once processed, the card will be mailed to you.

According to the DMV's website, it spent less than $500 on the project, which all went to social media marketing.

Colorado Department of Revenue Executive Director Mark Ferrandino explained that services at the DMV are constantly improving. The average wait time for the DMV in Colorado now is about 19 minutes from when you walk in to when you leave, he said.

He acknowledged that simply reaching a DMV is not simple for all Coloradans, and so the state is introducing a mobile driver’s license office, which will travel around the state to help people who may not have easy access to an office. This can include nursing homes, correctional facilities and residents in rural communities.

Those units will become available in the coming years, Ferrandino said.