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Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 06/12/2010

Photo: Md. to unveil new license plates

By Washington Post Editors

State officials are unveiling a new license plate that will become standard on all Maryland vehicles.

The Motor Vehicle Administration planned to introduce the new plates on Saturday during the agency's centennial celebration at its Glen Burnie headquarters. The plates feature a scene around Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

The War of 1812 plates replace the black and white standard issue plates for all cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles, starting on Monday.

Officials say the new plate will be issued through June 2015.

--Associated Press


By Washington Post Editors  | June 12, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
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Absolutely hideous. I wonder how much money was wasted on this? The current plates are fine.

Posted by: woody2471 | June 12, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The design is hideous! The Chesapeake Tags, the B&W tags w/ the seal are fine. The farmhouse one is hideous, but that is an option...

This tag will be standard? wow.

Posted by: joebananas1 | June 12, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

wretched. Never minded the Bay tags, and liked the simplicity of the B&W tags, particularly as every other state seemed to be in a race to see who can issue the most hideous, over-the-top tags.

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 12, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree this design is rather undesireable. It should probably be rethought. The farmhouse tags have too many bright colors.

Posted by: rkayblock1 | June 12, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Lol Bay tags are best.

Posted by: FiatBooks | June 12, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Should the flag of Maryland be on the new plate?

Posted by: | June 12, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

These are hideous and when I was living in NY last year they tried to issue out a hideous blue and gold plate. However a lot of people complained and while the plate is available it did not become standard issue. So I suggest we all complain as much as we can.

The current standard plate has gone largely untouched for 26 years. Let's keep that going.

Posted by: LTParis | June 12, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Agree with the others, this design is embarrassingly ugly. The farm scene still takes the cake as all-time ugliest plate. It reminds me a lot of a take off of the DC plate. VA still leads the nation in most plate designs; it's like ordering bank checks.

Posted by: Terps85 | June 12, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Great Idea. Hideous design. Is that building really a fort? The drawing looks anemic. Also, why the long confusing unmemorable website. Use "" period.

Posted by: dezlboy1 | June 12, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

License plates are not where I look for art. How much did the state spend on this? I could've designed a white background for $0.

Posted by: donlibes | June 12, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Lets see howo many of us here remember the war of 1812. *HINT* none of us.

How bout the budget war were are in right now. How much did this bullshiggidy cost. Is this why teachers are getting furloughed, so the money can be used on this mess.

Posted by: dontmakenosense | June 12, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

That is a horrible looking design. Why is it necessary to change the plates any way what a waste of money

Posted by: agarnett1000 | June 12, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

How about making this plate a specialty plate that is only available in 2012 - the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812? That way, if people want to get it to commemorate the war anniversary they can, but the rest of us can keep our regular tags.

Here's a theory - they've made the standard-issue plates as unappealing as possible so that more people will pay the extra money for the Bay plates. It might actually work.

Posted by: gewaldron | June 12, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Too cluttered, and it looks bent because the design is so unbalanced. It's also harder to read the tag number at a glance.

Since when is the state most notable for a war? We already had decent options; what a waste of tax dollars.

Posted by: Voter4Integrity | June 12, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Jeezie peezie. It never fails to amaze me how Maryland can waste money.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | June 13, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

YIKES! It's bad enough that our national anthem is all about Marylanders will have to display auto tags that romanticize war! There's nothing wrong with the current most other posters have noted. If this is an option, I'm ok with it...if it's mandatory, it reeks. It's bad enough that the most recent plates are www.maryland...

Posted by: DecafDrinker | June 13, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Who designed this? They should go back to design school. As a successful graphic designer and illustrator of many years' experience, I find this design totally unacceptable. If they discontinue the old design, I will get Bay plates. I will not have this horrible looking thing on my car. It offends my design sense: the colors are predictable and cheesy and what is that gray thing in the middle supposed to be? Smoke? The font for Maryland is clunky, it uses three type faces that are all hard to read, some are all caps and the line at the bottom uses small caps, which are also hard to read, the fireworks are sparse and look SO tacky, and worst of all the depiction of what is supposed to be Fort McHenry looks like a brick wall from anywhere. Also, the elements in the design (i.e. the fireworks and the gray something seem to be scattered evenly across the plate, totally a no-no in designing anything).

I always say, if it ain't broke don't fix it. The current plates are so classic and tasteful. Not only is this design a waste of money in an economy that is bankrupt, it is ugly. I don't know which is worse.

Posted by: gm45 | June 13, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Leave it to Maryland! I lived in Maryland and worked in law enforcement from 1990 to 2005. The black and white plates with the unique state flag in the middle were great!

They were easy to identify and easy to read. The simplistic design made them special. I hated to take the plates off my car when I moved to the midwest. My wife actually later used them as part of a metal-welded art piece.

Someone needs to identify what idiot(s) is behind this change.

Posted by: johnwallace2 | June 13, 2010 3:04 AM | Report abuse

UGLY, UGLY, UGLY!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: slang53979 | June 13, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Ugliest of all U.S. state plates, period. A) What happened to "Birthplace of Star Spangled Banner" which was the intent of the plate change in the first place? B) Was it shot down in committee as too controversial, so they went with a War of 1812 theme plate instead? C) Maryland does know that 14 other states were involved in the War of 1812, right?

Posted by: dukiebiddle | June 13, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Chances are excellent that some prominent Maryland politician's 10-year-old granddaughter came up with this, so it was "adopted."

My design, which was rejected out-of-hand, featured a stylized brown silhouette of the Chesapeake Bay on a beige ground, captioned "Don't Poop In Your Bay"

It was considered "too outre" by the selection committee.

Posted by: perryneheum | June 13, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I liked the cursive writing on the current plates. Makes it look classy.

Posted by: shevalsheshe | June 13, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

That is a really ugly plate and a waste of money.

Posted by: HockeyMike351 | June 13, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

This is so awful. The plates we have now look fine. The Bay tags and the regular MD tags are among the nicest I've seen. I'm a MD native and am from the Baltimore area and I still had to think about it to figure out what it was depicting. At least there is time to junk this idea.

Posted by: ysatis830 | June 13, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

So, going forward, the phrase most associated with Maryland will be, "War of 1812"? Greeeaaaaaaat. *eye roll*

Posted by: ryanem1 | June 13, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

This from a rich state that is always raising taxes because they say we have no money. Why waste money on a new license design that we didn't need. I can think of a lot better things the state could have spent their money on.

Posted by: jtsw | June 13, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

LOL. These tags are pretty unattractive from both an aesthetic and design perspective. I'll stick with my Bay tags. On the up side, Chesapeake Bay Foundation should see an increase in revenue!

Posted by: acasey2 | June 13, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Why not turn the current "Treasure the Chesapeake" plate into the new standard-issue? This one is awful. I'm never buying a new car again! :)

Posted by: MoCoPride | June 13, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Are we claiming Maryland owns the War of 1812? Cuz that war was a draw, although some would say the burning of Washington pushes it into the "W" column.

Posted by: krickey7 | June 13, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The pair of small letters must increase the total amount of tags that can be issued to the xx (?) power. I imagine that's why they were used, and I like that.

As for the graphics/overall design, it leaves me cold. If it's possible, Md. (my home state of yore) should use an alphanumeric color that distinguishes the plates from D.C. and Virginia plates.

Posted by: jimh4 | June 13, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

It's harder for the cops to read.

Posted by: silentjay | June 13, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

This tag is horrible! I agree with the many people here who feel that the old standard was classy and subdued. Given the results of this survey, most people in the state will also hate these. The most effective thing we Maryland residents can do is to let MVA know that we hate these new tags and that they should be optional not standard issue.

Don't let this one get by us! Crush MVA with complaints! Bring back the the red, black and yellow!

Posted by: cbharvest | June 13, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

This is simply horrible, from a graphics design sense, from a state imagery standpoint, and for something that defines the State of Maryland.

Why not something like a crab feast, or ocean beaches, or something similar.
is the place to complain.

Posted by: rpike | June 13, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

They should have run this by me first. lol

Posted by: izzieone | June 13, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

The design of this plate will make quick recognition of plate numbers rather difficult. So, if MD isn't interested in catching the bad guys.... go for it.

I find it baffling as to why every person and their brother thinks they understand user interfaces. It's a science.

So, after designing the new license plate, are we going to the moon or curing a prevalent disease without any science behind it as well....?


Posted by: edwardskh | June 13, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Why is this the first time Im hearing about this... I bet most people wont even know of this change until they goto MVA for tags. UGLY. Complete waste of tax dollars, especially since they have to retool and dispose of all the old plates.

Posted by: ewong228 | June 13, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't think these tags "will become standard on all Maryland vehicles" as alleged in this article. They will be issued as standard tags for all cars purchased between tomorrow and 2015 if existing tags can't transfer to the new car. If you want them at renewal time, you have to pay extra. My registration is up for renewal next month. All I'll get is the sticker to put on my plain B & W tag.

Posted by: sotiredofit | June 13, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

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