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Virginia License Plate Design Contest

take action against distraction

Design Guidelines

  • Designs must be created following one of the license plate templates provided. The size of a Virginia license plate is 6 x 12 inches; your design space is a 5.5” x 11.5” rectangle. The font, size, color, and placement of VIRGINIA cannot be altered.
  • If using a computer program:
    • Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator programs are preferred. Your final design must be submitted to the website as a .jpeg or .pdf.
    • The use of spot colors is preferable over process color (CYMK). Your design can use up to three spot colors in addition to Pantone 286 blue and white, which is the license plate background color. Create a legend to display specific Pantone colors used in your design.
    • Avoid thin lines less than 1/32 of an inch.
  • You can design over the entire white background of the plate or just on the left or right sides of the plate. If covering the full background, the design color will need to be light enough to easily and clearly read the dark blue license plate number, month, and year label.
  • The width of a design on the left or right margins of the plate cannot exceed 2 ½ inches from the edge of your design space.
  • Avoid using letters or numbers in your design that may be confused with a license plate number.
  • You may add one or two lines of text at the bottom of the license plate. The entire space across the bottom of the plate is available and not to exceed 1 ¼ inches in height from the bottom of your design space. The simpler, the better so the message can be read easily from a distance.
  • Do not plagiarize. It is not legal to use designs or images that are copyrighted or trademarked, including images you may find in books, magazines, or on the Internet.

What to Do

Create your design. Get creative depicting an image of distraction-free driving. You may create your design in a computer program, by hand, or whatever other medium you choose. Follow the design guidelines above and be sure to keep your original artwork or computer file. If your design is selected as a finalist, DMV will contact you for the artwork.

Write a short explanation. In 100 words or less, explain how your design depicts or encourages distraction-free driving. The judges will consider your explanation when they evaluate your design.

Submit your design. DMV will begin accepting entries on November 1 and has extended the entry period through December 18, 2017. Be sure to follow the instructions below or your entry will not be eligible for the contest.

  1. Complete all the fields on the online entry form (coming soon).
  2. Complete, sign and upload the Entrant Agreement form as either a .jpg or .pdf file. (If you are under 18, your parent or guardian must sign the consent form.)
  3. Upload your license plate design as either a .jpg or .pdf file.
  4. Submit your online entry form, signed Entrant Agreement form, and artwork no later than December 18, 2017.*

Questions? Be sure to review the Entrant Agreement and Frequently Asked Questions for details, or contact

* Please contact if you are unable to submit your entry online.

Evaluation Criteria

Contest judges will use the criteria below to select the eight District Finalists:

  • Communication of message - design concept effectively informs/educates/persuades the audience of the importance of safe, distraction-free driving; motivates audience to action.
  • Originality/creativity – design concept is unique and shows imagination; no plagiarism.
  • Quality – design concept shows artistic vision and maturity in how the visual problem is solved.
  • Suitability – design concept meets technical requirements, does not impact plate legibility, is appropriate for reproduction on a state license plate.