Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Best and Worst State License Plates of the United States

Look, I had to do this list. I love the United State and their individual state culture and obsessing over and critiquing their fine artwork.

Wait liking Lynyrd Skynyrd is a state-mandated affair in Alabama? You chose this to represent your history? I imagine it comes with a complimentary NASCAR sticker.

Now this is just sweet work. The Last Frontier in all caps, appropriate for a loner state removed from the herd of the lower forty-eight. It also goes against the grain with a bright yellow design, probably representing their endless daylight around the solstice. Top notch.

The Grand goddamn Canyon. Westerns. Horses. All that manliness and we get a purple cactus? This belongs taped to a bathroom mirror reminding you to wash up.

I would never move to Arkansas because if your legislation would allow this terribly drawn diamond, who knows what else it's capable of.

Classy and flashy. The cursive adds some glamor. Simple, no backdrops. But it kind of points to the shallowness of Hollywood when your state doesn't even have a slogan, instead the URL to the DMV.

I love the font. Would be a great state license plate but I hate the grey on the mountains. Looks like residue. Wash it down, perfect. Until then, not impressed.

"Constitution State," yeah thanks for allowing everyone to hide their ignorance by namedropping the constitution. Shit, every college textbook is updated once a year and we're still abiding by this 200-year-old napkin.

 The First State, how insecure are you? It's the equivalent to writing FIRST!!! on a comment thread. Grow up.

You don't deserve your own license plate. Serves you right to have something so ugly and generic. Even your license plates are stupid political ads.

'Sunshine State' is a nice slogan, but can I get some AdBlock for the MyFlorida.Com spam up top? Oh, and those oranges look like someone put flowers on dogballs.

This might be the only good thing out of Georgia. It's subtle, but has that nice, worn-in Americana advertising vibe. It's old school signage like it took notes from Campbell's soup. Love it.

Eh, rainbows. But you kind of need something exotic when you're that far out. It shouldn't be a state is the real problem. It's a bunch of bread crumbs. I could see why someone would want to bomb it.

Terrible tourism ad. "Famous Potatoes"? I needed a good laugh. Oh and if something's famous, it doesn't need the word famous before it.

Great colors, design. Slogan instills the virtues of a great land. "Land of Lincoln." Enough said.

Unique and forgettable both at the same time. Looks like a shirt you'd find at the thrift shop. Probably the most mediocre state license plate.

Farms, forest, and industry all working in unison. It's like they actually tried to make this look alright. It's a little plain but come on, it's fricking Iowa. Plain is their greatest commodity.

Kansas (old, cool logo)

Kansas (current logo)
Oh fuck off, Kansas. The one with the wheat strains was awesome. It was gritty Americana. It was an homage to the people who worked the fields. Now you got this congressional whore emblem. Why don't you go spitshine the the governor's shoes you bunch of Yes Men. Bring back the wheat.

Ken't be serious. This looks like the logo of a failed internet startup.

You know when you eat McDonalds and there's a wrapper with grease and cheese and mustard and ketchup residue? That's what this license plate is.

Sweet. Tasteful backdrop of tall trees behind the lettering. Nice serif font choice for "Maine." Subtle off-center bird design. Yes, yes, yes. This is a solid performer, near top-tier performer right here. This is like the Scottie Pippen of license plates.

Stop trying so hard, Maryland. First you have that stupid avantgarde flag, now "War of 1812" is your slogan? It looks like it was designed in 1812. And based on a pack of chewing gum. And why you are advertising war?

Is "The Spirit of America" never changing? Because you've had the same basic design since 1969.

Your major city, which is was built on the auto-industry, is honored with this mundane excuse for a license plate? I'm glad your economy collapsed.

I would like to recommend this picture to anyone who's run out of Ambien.

Excuse me I want a license plate not a banner for Warped Tour.

noun: dreck; noun: drek
  1. 1.
    rubbish; trash.
    "this so-called art is pure dreck"
Montana is a pretty state and all their license plates to date have been equally pretty. Their current one is big, in your face, ugly, and tacky, but I can't help but like it. I think I just described my future wife.

 Yeah I'm really intrigued by Nebraska now. Someone put this plate in a shredder.

Simple and sexy. I approve. This plate almost screams, "Anyone who puts more thought into a license plate than this is an idiot, so that's all you get." And I respect that.

New Hampshire
Let's see. Rocky mountains, sky, Breaking Bad, and the best slogan ever might make this the best design ever. No bullshit, live free or die! This makes me want to shoot commies while flying on the back of a bald eagle.

New Jersey
Considering all the bad connotations New Jersey has do you really want a plate that looks like it's been pissed on?

New Mexico
Incredible. This is probably the license plate that pissed on New Jersey's, it's that cool.

New York
"Empire State." This is so New York and so classic I can forgive the blandness. Borderline great plate.

North Carolina
I don't even know why I'm trying at this point. It's obvious the artists commissioned to make these plates didn't.

North Dakota
Love the buffalo, hate the cornball font up top. Almost very cool.

You know I try to be friendly, but fuck you Ohio. Fuck you for always screwing over America with your swing state indecision. Fuck you for oppressing your people with terrible, economy-killing legislation and backwoods gay-hating beliefs. But mostly fuck you for this awful license plate. This belongs on a package of eggs, not a car.

You took a picture. Of a pre-existing statue. That was the sum of your artistic integrity. Go to hell.

Lousy beyond belief. Needs more trees. It's like a kindergartner drew it. Not some genius prodigy kid, neither. I'm talking a twice held back, can't differentiate a hippo from a pig type of kid.


Rhode Island
The ocean state snores me to shore. Hideous wave belongs on a bottle of Oceanspray.

South Carolina
I propose the bible be re-written, with a picture of this on the cover. The bible will only contain the sentence "There is no god."

South Dakota
"Great faces. Great places." I laughed so hard at the slogan that I love this one. Everything about this is tacky. The red font is tacky. Carving presidents into a mountain is tacky. Being American is tacky. This is should come with a coupon for a cheeseburger, and I mean that in the best possible sense.

Now this is tacky done wrong. Where's the fun factor? If you were married to this license plate and stationed overseas, this is one wife you'd never write home to.

Solid, simple. This is what you want on your truck while you run over gay illegal immigrants or whatever they do in Texas. Amazing work.

Adorable. If you're weird enough to live in Utah, you're going to want a Sunday morning cartoon slide nailed to your car, so it's fitting.

Looks like it was specially designed for park rangers and I don't like that, because you're alienating the general population, Vermont.

Virginia cares less about license plate design that George Bush cares about black people.

Lovely, simple, classy. Reminds me of Illinois. It's not drowned in artwork. The evergreen state, state slogans don't sound much sweeter than that.

West Virginia
You know I lost my funny five states ago because I'm so disheartened by these garbage designs. I'd rather have the Nazis tattoo numbers on me than have them on these hideous frames.

I really like Wisconsin's, it could be because I live near there. They're not trying to be anything but what they are, which is America's Dairyland. And farms, and sailboats, and trees. These are a few of my favorite things.

I've always liked that cowboy emblem and the colors are great. I daresay this one's damn near perfect.

Best state plates:

1. Wyoming
2. New Hampshire
3. Georgia
4. South Dakota
5. Alaska

Runner-ups: Texas, Washington, Maine, Utah.

Worst state plates:

1. Maryland
2. DC
3. Nebraska
4. Kentucky
5. Ohio

Runner-ups: Tennessee, New Jersey

Congratulations! You made it through. What makes a potato famous?


  1. This is what I got from this. It is okay for Illinois to tribute their one important thing in history (Lincoln), but not for North Carolina or Connecticut.
    It's okay for Texas to be simple and plain but not Pennsylvania.
    Just a couple examples of flawed logic and just sheer ignorance. Half of them you just call ugly and don't give any reasoning. If you're going to put something like this out, why wouldn't you actually at least take the time to fully analyze each state, not to mention real logic. You condone some states for something but praise others for doing the exact same things.

    1. I really enjoy plain license plate designs. Some of my favourite plates include simple designs like Saskatchewan, Ontario, Texas, and the actual current standard issue of Montana (which is a blue map of Montana and the slogan "Treasure State" instead of what's posted here). Some of my least favourites are also really plain and simple— Massachusetts, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Pennsylvania. Having them in one design category doesn't mean that everything in that category will be nice. My favourites all tend to have colours that work together, a proper use of space for design, and just a general good design while others who do simplicity have terrible colours (Mass.), terrible fonts (Alberta, Mass.), and terrible layouts (Newf.&Lab, Mass.). Just because a certain design aspect works in one place doesn't mean it will work everywhere.

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  2. This is so typical of you, Alex.

  3. Could not take this list seriously after the New York plate was called "borderline great". Hands down one of the ugliest plates on the list.

  4. I agree... NY is the ugliest. The plates look rusty. I don't want to move there because I don't want to put one of those gross plates on my beautiful red car. I wish they would go back to the old NY plates that were mostly blue and white.

    1. NY is a great state but someone made a decision to remove a good design. There are numerous options to have alternate graphics that you rather associate with.

    2. I feel like NY's license plate had the potential to be good but the orange colour is just so strange they fell through. I still really like it, though, for what it could have been.

  5. New Hampshire doesn't have the Rocky Mountains.

    1. That's the Old Man of the Mountain, a state symbol of New Hampshire. And it wasn't meant to be the Rocky Mountains, it was an adjective stating that the mountains shown are in fact rocky.

  6. Maryland's old plate was one of the best, simplest, classiest designs in the country, particularly the font on "Maryland". Now it's the worst plate ever. Nice work, Maryland.

    1. I've read that Maryland is bringing back the old design in June 2015, where we'll finally be rid of that monstrosity.

    2. Absolutely right about the return of the classic plate.. I live in Maryland and shelled out $20.00 to avoid the current flag waver to get the Chesapeake Bay plate.

  7. You need to update your Florida plates, they are going even more hideous, check out the latest design for the general plate.

  8. Your gay, okay we get it. You would probably love two fags humping each other on your state plate.

  9. Typical millennial authorship. An attempt to be funny which fails 95% of the time with the exception of a slight smirk. Wittiless and PC. I am sure this writer also demands safe spaces in their Mom and Dad funded college liberal arts course.