Illinois has the single worst license plate in the country.

So we designed 8 better options in 8 hours.

Ivor Andrew is a B2B marketing agency in Chicago’s west suburbs. For you geography buffs, this means we’re in Illinois. The Land of Lincoln. Our beloved flyover state, by the way, has a brand new license plate. Cool!

And it’s…uh…

It’s not good. Take a look.

What’s wrong with the Illinois plate?

  1. Abraham Lincoln’s half-cropped face.
  2. Utterly brutal typography. It’s stretched not only horizontally on the state title, but vertically on “LAND OF LINCOLN.” And if it wasn’t bad enough type already, they used it as small caps, which distorts it even further.
  3. Most cars have license plate frames, and those frames completely hide the “ILLINOIS” section. Less than ideal.
  4. Thanks to Lincoln’s half-cropped face, reading the first letter of an Illinois license plate is often a guessing game. Legibility seems rather important when it comes to plates, no?
  5. Finally, there are skylines from Springfield AND Chicago in the background. Gotta have everything!

Every part of the Illinois license plate reeks of design-by-committee. There were too many cooks in the kitchen who added too many ingredients, and the result is an ugly, illegible mess. It’s currently the worst license plate in America (with apologies to Ohio’s word cloud and Maryland’s state flag monstrosity).

We can fix this.

Our creative director decided the Ivor Andrew design team could come up with 8 better options in 8 hours.

Here they are. But first…


You tried your best, but the Half Lincoln plate is broken. Truly.

Please take one of these 8 options. We beg of you.

1. “Centennial Flag” by Doug Carter
2. “Meadow” by Doug Carter
3. “Yellow & Blue” by Doug Carter
4. “Tree of Life” by Doug Carter
5. “Other Half of Lincoln” by Alex Laniosz
6. “Misty Sunrise Over a Field of Wheat on a Lazy Sunday Morning with Coffee in Hand and a Good Book on Your Lap and a Warm Breeze Kissing Your Face” by Alex Laniosz
7. “Blue” by Rafal Zielinski
8. “Barn” by Rafal Zielinski

Here’s a client hat. Please put it on and sound off in the comments.

  1. Would you switch the plate or stick with Illinois’ original Half Lincoln that’s currently in circulation?
  2. If you switch, which of our 8 options would you choose?
All 8 Illinois license plate mulligans were created in-house by the Ivor Andrew design team. Total time spent: 8.25 hours.
Like what you read? Give Luke Trayser a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.