We live in a beautiful state. Why are our license plates so damn ugly? In case you’ve forgotten, here’s what the standard-issue plate looks like:


Pretty bad, right? It’s like a souvenir T-shirt from the Grand Canyon, circa 1994.

The DMV hasn’t announced any plans to overhaul the current plate, but in the meantime, we can still dream. A couple of weeks ago, local designer Jay Fletcher came up with this sharp alternative plate for the State Plates Project:

Last week, we caught wind of another redesign. Designer Joshua Fowlke, working for Utah-based home and car insurance agency Obrella, has designed a few alternative state plates, and one of them is for South Carolina:


What do you think? The color scheme isn’t far off from the current one, but the palmetto tree watermark is subtler. As with Fletcher’s design, I like the incorporation of the state’s Latin motto (“While I breathe, I hope”). It could work.

Personally, I’m a fan of the old plates from the ’90s that featured an image of the state bird, the Carolina Wren (even if it was a pretty inaccurate depiction of the actual bird). It looked hand-drawn and understated, a far cry from the gradient-heavy desert scene on our plates today. I say we should bring this one back:


The current “Gone Fishing” plate, which features a red drum and acts as a fundraiser for the Department of Natural Resources’ marine conservation programs, has a certain charm to it too:


If you want to take your own stab at redesigning the plate, Obrella has a blank Adobe Illustrator license plate template that you can download. Click here for instructions on submitting your design for a chance to be featured alongside Fowlke’s work.