Tag Archives: License Plates

License Plates: 5-1

5. Oklahoma

The archer is a bit showy, but I still like it anyway. I love the font for the state’s name. I actually think the red works here. Everything fits snugly on the plate. No extra space, but it’s not too busy.

4. Nevada

While this isn’t my favorite depiction of the mountains, the overall presentation is great. The state’s name rests on top of the mountains like it owns them. The colors are easy on the eyes. I’m glad they don’t reference casinos or anything trite.

3: North Dakota

The font for the slogan is a bit crazy, and the drawings seem a bit stenciled, but I love the color scheme and the theme.

2. Maine

“Vacationland” sounds a bit presumptuous, which is the main reason this isn’t in the top spot. Otherwise, it’s the perfect plate. Huge font makes it easy to read, the forest is drawn perfectly in the background, and this is easily the best looking bird we’ve seen. The pine cone is a nice touch as well.

1. Wyoming

Holy mackerel is this gorgeous. This has to be either a photo of the Rockies or a great painting. Either way, this really sells the beauty of the state. Every single thing about this plate is perfect. No cheesy slogan, county, or web address. The numbers are huge. The state’s name is prominently displayed. And the silhouette of the cowboy makes a great divider and is the perfect symbol for the state. It’s a shame there’s only 28 cars in Wyoming, but at least they get to proudly display the country’s best license plate.

License Plates: 10-6

10: Minnesota

Showing my Minnesota bias here a bit, but there’s a lot to love here. The lake with the anglers on it is a great subtle touch (and probably too subtle while driving). The state’s outline makes for a perfect divider. Got to mention the 10,000 lakes as well. I have to knock it down for the web address.  At least it isn’t in your face about it. In fact, I got new plates for my car a couple months ago and didn’t even notice the dot com until I did my research for this countdown.

9: Rhode Island

This is fantastic. The anchor is nicely understated and the wave isn’t too showy.

8: Delaware

Similar to New York’s plate, only it doesn’t try to do too much. I like how “The First State” is the first thing you see. Looks like an old plate, but unlike Vermont with its dated green color, this one still holds up.

 7: Mississippi

Get rid of the county name and you have a top five plate. The lighthouse is beautiful, and the setting sun illuminates everything beautifully. I also am crazy about the font for the state’s name with the curly esses.

6: South Carolina

Man these colors are gorgeous. I think the moon is a bit much, but the tree works well for me. The website is the least obnoxious of the plates that use it. For one it doesn’t cover anything up and is in a good font. But it also has a unique url that people might not find instantaneously with a simple Google search.

License Plates 15-11

15: Washington

Mount Ranier is beautiful and is the perfect choice for Washington’s plate. I’m not sure they pull it off completely, but it still works. Not a big fan of the font for the state’s name, though.

14: Alabama

Is that a heart I see? I can’t read the writing inside of it, but maybe that’s a good thing. I love how they work “Sweet Home Alabama” into the plate, and the font is perfect.  The horizon could use a little work. At first I thought I was seeing mountains in Alabama, but upon closer inspection, it’s just clouds. The blues run together just a bit. Still, very pretty license plate.

13: Connecticut

Other than the totally not needed outline of the state awkwardly placed in the corner there, this plate is great, though I do have a bias towards sky blue. I do wish there was something special about Connecticut here other than the motto.

12: New Mexico

Hey, it’s the colors of the old San Diego Chargers uniforms!  I love baby blue and yellow, though I think if I lived in New Mexico I would get sick of seeing it after a while. Anyway, love the emblem in the middle.  Very solid design here.

11: New Jersey

Much like Connecticut in its simplicity, but the state outline is where it belongs. And I love the color that fades slowly as it goes down. Very pretty yellow.

License Plates: 20-16

20: Hawaii

Sweet and simple. I never think of rainbows when I think of Hawaii, but it’s cheery and welcoming. I appreciate that it doesn’t look like a computer generated image.

19. Montana

Now this is how you do a state outline, Nebraska.  It’s a bit awkward, but at least the plate number fits neatly inside of it, as does the state name and state slogan. The longhorn is a nice touch as well.

18: Louisiana

I didn’t realize Louisiana was a sportsman’s paradise, but I’ll run with it. The pelican is a bit large, but I like how it’s in the background. The color scheme is very pleasant on the eye.

17. Arizona

Bluffs and cacti. Yup, that works for me. The state slogan slides in nicely down there, too. A little too purple for me, but I honestly don’t know how else I’d do it. Really dig the fading colors of the horizon.

16: Texas

Oh, Texas. This is looking really good.  The state’s name in big, bold letters. The rolling hills, the picturesque sky. Even the state outline works well. But the blue and red brushstroke in the upper-left corner is a bit much. Pretty low-key otherwise, considering.

License Plates: 25-21

25: Colorado

I think this depiction of the Rockies is just fine. But I don’t get the green sky.

24: Kentucky

Absolutely love the horse coming off the ‘y’ in Kentucky, and using the state outline as a divider works as well. But again with the damn county, and the state’s motto is impossible to read.  Why even put it on there if you need a microscope?

23: Idaho

Bright and colorful, easy to read. It’s one example of red on a plate I don’t entirely hate. And I prefer the depiction of the Rockies here better than on Colorado.  But I can’t stop laughing every time I read “Famous Potatoes.”  It’s just so damn corny.

22: New York

I love navy blue and mustard together. The curved line (and the curved slogan) seems a bit ostentatious to me. Also, New York does not have a pretty state outline, what with Manhattan looking like a broken tail. Perhaps a hyphen would work better there.

21: Indiana

The emblem of the state flag is pretty sweet, and it’s one of the few plates that isn’t completely centered. But just like with Tennessee, the county looks taped on there. Why can’t it blend in with the background color, at least?

License Plates: 30-26

30: Ohio

Wow, this is colorful. It’s nicely drawn, I suppose, but it kind of looks like a page from a Richard Scarry book. I love Richard Scarry, but on a license plate?  I’ll pass.  And come on people, that slogan is impossible to read while I’m standing still in front of my computer screen. No way anyone can read that while driving.

29: Georgia

I’m crazy about the peach design with the state outline in the middle, though not so crazy about it being covered up by the numbers (at least the state outline). Either way, the double-whammy of having the government website along with the county name really hurt this plate.

28: Iowa

Do people really need to advertise what county they’re from?  Who has ever cared, unless you were playing Iowa bingo and “Linn” was your corner square?  Otherwise, this is pretty decent. The stenciled farm in the background is almost too subtle (especially while driving), but it’s a nice scene.

27: Wisconsin

Too much red, but no website or county, so yay!  The farmhouse is cute, but looks like a really old drawing.  And does anyone know what the orange circle is supposed to represent?

26: New Hampshire

“Live Free or Die” has always seemed like an intimidating slogan to me, like our friends in New Hampshire are passive-aggressively letting us know they liberty better than anyone. At least it fits. Politically, they do lean libertarian.  I love the font and how the state name looks. But for the life of me I cannot figure out what that is in the background. Okay, I just looked it up, and it is what I thought I saw: a face in the side of a mountain. Unlike Rushmore, it’s a natural looking one. Apparently, it’s also on their special state quarter. Really, is that all you got, New Hampshire?  Well, they don’t even got that anymore, after the face collapsed under heavy snow in 2003. So there.

License Plates: 35-31

35: Tennessee

I adore the background on this plate. In fact, it’s one of my favorites in the country. And the state’s outline works perfectly where it is. On the other hand, the font for the state’s name is too cursivey for me, and the state’s slogan is microscopic. But it also annoys me when states insert the county on the plate, just in case you forget where you live.  It’s even worse on this plate because it covers up the beautiful background.

34: South Dakota

I don’t totally hate the cursive here. The slogan is alright, but a little cutesy. I know South Dakota is not famous for much other than Mount Rushmore, but it just doesn’t work for me here, as nearly all of it has to be covered up by the plate number.

33: Pennsylvania

Here are those marching band colors again!  I do appreciate that the website advertised at the bottom is not repeating the name of the state, and is their tourist versus their government site.  But that just makes me hate it less.

32: Nebraska

This would be a really solid plate if not for the outline of Nebraska. Not only is it red, it feels like a child drew it and then randomly wrote some letters and numbers over it.  Doesn’t fit at all.  Oh wow, I just noticed the state website there in ultra tiny font.  That’s just ridiculous. Just assume I ranked this lower than I did.

31: Arkansas

I may be seeing things, but are these two different shades of maroon? If so, why? Color consistency is bizarrely missing on some of these. Anyway, that gaudy diamond knocks this plate down a couple of pegs. I don’t even think it would work if made smaller.  At least they picked a perfect font for the state name.

License Plates: 40-36

40: Kansas

I’m not against using the state flag as a backdrop to a license plate, but I’d prefer to see more than forty percent of it. The off-center shot of the emblem doesn’t work for me either, and neither does the cornflower blue. I am completely digging the font, though. The state’s name in all caps work perfectly.

39: Massachusetts

Too much red!  Also, this plate tells me nothing about Massachusetts. The spirit of America?  Um, okay.  Good font, though.

38: Vermont

This one was tough for me to rank. One one hand, it’s clean and crisp. I like the white lettering. It’s just the style reminds me of the 1950’s. And, indeed, this design has barely changed since then. One other nitpick: the slogan’s font size is too small and too thin.

37: Alaska

Alaska, like most states, has some beautiful specialty plates. But their standard issue is pretty dull.  It’s very easy to read, but this color combination is garish. And the flag just looks sad.

36: Utah

I like almost everything about this plate. The font for the state’s name kicks ass. The slogan works on multiple levels. But man, the color scheme is not easy on the eyes. Of course, I’ve driven through Utah, and it’s not always easy on the eyes in person.

License Plates: 45-41

45: West Virginia

I appreciate how clean and easy to read this plate is, but that’s about it. The colors look like what the losers in the marching band lottery got stuck with. There’s nothing separating the first and second halves of the plate number, so the big white space looks like an accident. And that slogan sounds like it was ripped from a soft-core romance novel.

44: California

I think everyone recognizes this plate from TV and movies, and I’m sure many Californians would defend it. But it doesn’t do anything for me. Nothing on here says anything about California. My complaints about the color red and cursive still stand, and the plate number would be very difficult to memorize.

43: Virginia

See my complaints about California. It ranks higher because there’s no red and the plate would be easier to memorize thanks to the letters and numbers being separated cleanly.

42: Michigan

Much like Maryland, I would probably rank this higher if it weren’t for the pointless, obtrusive URL at the bottom. If I had a Michigan plate I would get a plate cover, which doesn’t speak to its design.  The rest I’m fine with, though it’s a little bare bones.

41: Oregon

I like having the evergreen tree in the middle, and including the Rockies is fine as well. But it looks the Easter Bunny threw up all over this. Get a better color palette and this could be top 20 for me.

License Plates: 50-46

50: Florida

A lot of the license plates that I don’t like I can see a possible defense for. Or at least a state pride thing. But I can’t imagine anyone who owns a car in Florida doesn’t recoil in horror every time they have to look at this. I can deal with the oranges, I guess, though they’re a little big. But the dark green, especially transposed over light green, is 70’s fashion gross. Then we get the state website shoved in our face, in curved font, with a change in font size  just to make sure you know the name of the state is Florida, not MyFlorida. I like the mention of it being the sunshine state, but why is it in a different font than the website?  Just a disaster, through and through.

49: North Carolina

I’m not a big fan of this much red dominating anything, let alone a license plate. It’s a harsh color, and doesn’t compliment blue all that well. But it’s not just the colors here. The Wright Brother’s plane is good in theory, but on a license plate it’s just a mish-mash of lines that are covered up by the motto. As for the motto, even ignoring the fact that North Carolina may not have been the first state where a plane flight occurred, why is that something for a whole state to be proud of?  It’s not like the Wright Brother’s flight attempt was a huge event organized and funded by the North Carolina taxpayers. I like the wheat field idea, but it just doesn’t work in blue.

48: Maryland

I know I’ve complained about the colors so far, though black type on white background is really unimaginative. The shield, depicting the Maryland state flag, is actually a pretty cool idea. But I’m too annoyed by everything else. For starters, I think state names in curly font is not a good idea just for readability, though at least this one is not pure cursive. But what really gets my goat is the website. Not only are we needlessly repeating the state name a second time, they felt the need to include “www” as if there’s been a need to type those three letters in an address bar in the past decade. Finally, is it really that hard to find the official state website? They all end in dot gov, and the website is the first hit if you type “Maryland” into Google. What a waste of space. Seriously, take out the website all together and this plate would be middle of the pack.

47: Illinois

Uh oh, red lettering again. But that’s the least of my complaints here. The font for the license number is a bad choice, what with the number four being too stylistic for a cop to read at 80 miles per hour. And as I mentioned earlier, not a big fan of cursive for the state name. But the true tragedy is putting Lincoln’s mug right in the center. First, it’s not even centered correctly as the first number covers part of his forehead. But mainly I don’t want to see a face when I’m looking at a license plate. “Land of Lincoln” is also laughable, as if he’s wild game that can only be found in the deep Illinois woods. Lincoln wasn’t even born in Illinois, and didn’t live there until he was twenty-one!

46: Missouri

There’s a lot to like here initially. I dig the big clear font and the light, fading blue background. And I’ve always had a fondness for the state slogan “Show Me.” But the slogan is so tiny that unless you know it’s there, it’s going to be hard to see while driving.  And then we have the outline of the state. Eeg. Not only is it too big, it’s completely covered by the license number and looks really awkward in the background. Putting the license tab in the middle is kind of cool, but it’s very busy. And then we have the state bird, which honestly looks photoshopped. Get rid of the bird and the state outline, and put “Show Me” at the bottom, and we have a solid plate. But, alas.