A new standard license plate has been approved for the Magnolia State and is slated for issue beginning with the January 2024 renewals.
Leah Frances Eaton of Starkville designed the new tag and said her goal was to create a clean, simple design that included a Magnolia, the state flower.
“It’s been on previous license plates, so it was a little homage,” Eaton said, who added she has no formal graphic design training but does have informal experience.
“Because I own a dance studio, I’ve designed programs for that,” Eaton said. “And then I served in a children’s ministry and designed things for that. So nothing official, in any capacity, but just kind of dabbled in design for the past five years.”
She said the rules of the contest limited some of her design choices, as they required a design with a light background and dark lettering. Her design was chosen from a field of more than 400 submissions to the state License Tag Commission. The commission consists of the governor, commissioner of revenue, state treasurer, and attorney general. The state updates the imagery of the standard plate every five years, and drivers are required to apply for a new plate when the image is revamped.
“We had so many fantastic designs submitted that it was really tough to pick only one winner,” Gov. Tate Reeves said. “The clear talent and creativity of Mississippians were well on display. We are excited to announce the new design and hope that drivers can enjoy showcasing it on road trips both near and far.”
The current plate has a gold background with navy lettering with “In God We Trust” inscribed in the center. It was approved in 2018 and will be phased out as drivers renew their standard tags in 2024.
For an extra fee, drivers can purchase a specialty license plate with some of the proceeds supporting the cause drivers want to display on the back of their vehicles. There are almost 300 specialty plates in Mississippi which include tags representing school districts and colleges, first responder agencies, medical facilities, nonprofit clubs, and wildlife supporters — just to name a few.
All of the tags available to Magnolia State residents can be found on the state Department of Revenue’s website, and a new design — Mississippi Historic Hometowns — is currently available for purchase.
Proceeds from the sale of the Historic Hometowns plate will be used by the Mississippi Main Street Association to promote Main Street communities throughout the state.
The tag features a sunrise backlighting a silhouette of landmarks from across the state, including the Delta, the Hills, the Pines, the Capital area, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf Coast. Once 300 Historic Hometowns plates are sold, the tags will go into production. Applicants will receive a letter informing them that the plates can be picked up at their local courthouse.
“What a unique way to promote our beautiful downtowns while you are on the go,” said Barbara Bigelow, Main Street Columbus executive director. “We are grateful to the Mississippi Main Street Association for their creative idea and appreciate the continued support of our state legislature. I’m ordering mine today and I hope you will, too.”
All photos are courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Revenue.