• Sara Michalowicz

New Design Revealed for Illinois License Plates

Photo courtesy of Chicago Sun Times

Illinois vehicles are getting license plates with a brand-new look.

Secretary of State Jesse White announced on Tuesday, Nov. 15 that the state will begin sending out replacement plates in 2017 due to a manufacturer’s error which caused Illinois license plates to lose their shine, if not rust through, entirely.

This is the first time the state has replaced plates since 2001. That year, Illinois swapped out roughly 9 million plates, but some were made with aluminum and others were made with steel. The reflective paint used for the tags did not adhere properly to the steel plates, which caused them to rust easily.

It will cost about $5 million a year to replace the plates gradually. “This is a forward-thinking, long-term solution that does not require a complete replating overhaul,” White stated at a press conference at the Thompson Center, “This plan removes older plates and replaces them with newly designed plates without our current budget. This will ensure that plates are appropriately replaced with the ultimate goal being no license plate on the road will be more than 10-years-old.”

Owners of the oldest plates will receive their replacement plates first. In 2017, plates that were manufactured in 2000-2001 will be replaced, in 2018, plates made in 2002-2003 will be replaced. Each year, the office will continue to replace license plates in this fashion. This process will start again in 2027, replacing the plates issued in 2017.

Vehicle owners will be notified by mail when they qualify for the new license plates. The redesign of the license plates will bring no additional cost for motorists and should stand up better to weather and use, White explained, but if you don’t want to wait for your free replacements, you can get a new plate ahead of schedule starting in January 2017 for $29.

The new plates rid the fancy, script typeface used for “Illinois,” replacing it with an all-caps, serif typeface. They will also feature redesigned logos: a half-portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the left, over a silhouette of the Chicago skyline that merges into an image of a windmill and then the state capitol dome in Springfield. The motto, “Land of Lincoln,” is seen written across the bottom.

Photo courtesy of Illinois Secretary of State

This is not the first redesign announcement that Illinois drivers have experienced this year. This past May, White announced a new design and process for getting and updating Illinois driver’s licenses. The new driver’s licenses began to roll out to drivers in late July. The changes in the licenses were made to better protect Illinoisans from becoming victims of fraud and identity theft.

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