License plates are known more for their message than as artistic medium. While each state may choose their own combination of colors around those squarish embossed characters, perhaps adding a state seal if they’re feeling saucy, there’s little variation—little soul—to the plates themselves.
Enter Jonathan Lawrence and the State Plates Project. Lawrence gathered together 50 designers from all across the country, each assigned a to redesign the license plate of a state they had connection with (Lawrence kept Georgia for himself). The result is a wide breath of compelling ideas for an off-overlooked car ornament, such as John J. Custer’s “Heart of Apple” icon for New York, David Sizemore’s fruit and vegetable registration stickers for New Jersey, or Allen Peter’s Paul Bunyon riff for Minnesota.
With so much good work coming out of the State Plates Project, it is both shocking and disheartening to know how slim the chances are that these plates will be a reality. But wouldn’t it be nice to look at the car ahead of you, and see something well-designed for once?