Which U.S. States have the best and worst license plates? Part II - 45-40

The license plate reviews march on with part number two!  I'm counting down the 51 best license plates, starting from my least favorite to my most favorite.

You can check out the first post here, with pictures.  So far we've done:
51. Rhode Island
50. Vermont
49. Alaska
48. New Hampshire
47. Indiana
46. New York

Today we pick up with 45 - 40

45. Georgia
44. Michigan
43. Pennsylvania
42. Massachusetts
41. West Virginia
40. North Carolina

Hope you enjoy!  As a reminder, any criticism and commentary should be taken light-heartedly.  I have nothing against these states or the people who designed the license plates, and I have never actually designed an actual license plate before.  I just enjoy things like this.

If it feels depressing after reading this, trust me, it gets better!  I actually think #40 and #41 have a number of redeeming qualities.  We're headed in the right direction!

45. Georgia

Georgia.  I like the state, but the license plate leaves something to be desired.

Originally I had written a long list of complaints about this one, but I'll spare you.  My primary dislike here is that there is no focal point.  My eyes just kind of swim around in circles.  And it gives the illusion of being off-center.

Perhaps a tip of the cap to Coca-cola would help.

44. Michigan

Doesn't it kind of feel like a DMV or apartment newsletter, sans clip art?  Too many fonts, too many font sizes.

Of the few design choices they made, what do you think they put some thought into? Maybe the color scheme?

(1) Detroit is...blue collar...so the license plate is very...blue?
(2) Michigan has a lot of lakes that are...blue...like this license plate?

Ok, you got me, the color scheme probably has nothing to do with Michigan.  Scrap that idea.

What other design choices did they make?  And what do I think of them?

(1) Bold serif fonts mixed with block fonts  :(
(2) A curious juxtaposition of font sizes for the web address :(

43. Pennsylvania

Why are the numbers taller than the letters?

Would it kill them to use white space?

visitPA.com?  I better head there right now, on my Blackberry, while driving!

42. Massachusetts

Clean, primary colors?  Good.  Invoking a color scheme that matches your slogan?  Good.  So we're headed in the right direction.

But the rest is pretty uninspired.  I am really not a fan of three, possibly four different fonts, especially when all you have is text.  It feels disorganized.  Also, I wonder if anyone familiar with these plates can comment on the squiggly line in the middle.  I'm not sure if that's intentional or just an artifact on the image..

41. West Virginia

It's like Pennsylvania but better, cleaner and more balanced.

It's not without faults.  Like the New Hampshire plate, this one loses major points for the lack of cohesion between slogan and design.  You can say you're "wild, wonderful," but your license plate is about as "wild, wonderful" as a PG movie.  You've gotta up the ante a little if you're going to use that slogan (see below)


40. North Carolina

The effort is here -- in fact I like the idea -- but the execution is all wrong.  

Overlapping colors, overlapping lines, different color palettes.   Muddy, hard to read fonts.  The airplane graphic is buried in the background.  The level of detail on the plane is not appropriate for a license plate either.  

Also, the holes at the bottom (where you attach the plate to your car) look very accidental. It looks like you've been shot at a couple of times, particularly the  "O" of North Carolina.

Probably not the desired effect.

I go back and forth about whether this should be related lower, here it stands at 40.  I guess I think the concept of the license plate is good enough to warrant a higher rating.  They just need to hand this off to a contract designer who can go to town with it.

Well, that's it for today.  Hope you continue to enjoy these.  Looking forward to posting more!

So as a quick recap we have, starting from #51:







...to be continued!


  1. I don't know what you will get when you get to Oregon, because there are over 100 possible choices you can choose from. There is even one plate that only one person in the state qualifies for.

  2. I think that the squiggly on the the Mass plate is some sort of anti-counterfitting mechanism. Kansas has them too and that is the only thing I could come up with for it; it is like a watermark.

    Speaking of Kansas, I'm surprised I haven't seen it on here yet. Our new plates are super-boring.

  3. I was on the road today and saw a Michigan plate and it was totally different from the one you featured. It showed water and a sunset. It looked very nice. Perhaps it was a specialty plate.

  4. @Rod - Wow, LOL! That's amazing about Oregon. Kind of cool actually. The website I got my plates from claims that the Oregon plate I rated is their standard plate but I will do my due diligence to confirm that. Over 100 designs...wow.

    @Zman - Actually, that makes a lot more sense now! I hadn't noticed that about Kansas but I just double checked and you're right, it has a remarkably similar squiggly. Thanks for the tip. Regarding Kansas, it certainly isn't my favorite but it's a remarkably clean design. It's pretty middle of the road to me :)

    @Night Owl - that is awesome. Maybe they do standard plates like this so they can up-charge to nice looking ones. I'm thinking this could be the one you saw:


    I do like that a TON better.

  5. Texas has a variety of plates to choose from and the standard plate has changed recently. I just picked up new plates for the old car last month and they're different than they used to be.


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