State Plates Project

The State Plates Project was a collaborative art project put together by Jonathan Lawrence. I had the chance to imagine what a redesign of the license plate for my home state of New Jersey might look like.

Many parts of New Jersey are beautiful and fertile—there's a reason it's called the Garden State. I knew I wanted my design to illustrate that, but I was having trouble narrowing down a bold, recognizable way of highlighting that aspect of the state. Cornucopias and plows were boring, and I couldn't fit all of the fruits and vegetables I wanted into the small space of the license plate, while allowing room for things like 'license plate numbers' and 'registration stickers.'

Until I realized that instead of shoving them all in, I could take many years and slowly celebrate the different products of a garden. I could co-opt the necessary elements and use them as the basis for this revolving display.

Each year would have its own fruit or vegetable that would act as a registration sticker, with numbers on the stickers indicating the month it would need to be reregistered. This year, 2014 could be the year of the apple. And 2015 could be onions, and the year after that corn, and then watermelon...

The stickers could be carefully removed each year, or could build up on plates, becoming their own cornucopia of sorts.

My plate design is simple—white type on a blue background, very similar to the plates I remember when I was a kid. It's good to remember that these redesigns often fall back onto nostalgia and things we like. Important design, like license plates and road signs, should be informed by research and data... but this was still a lot of fun.


© 2015