See which Nebraska license plate designs didn’t get picked this time around | Local

Honeybees, windmills, cottonwood trees and Chimney Rock were among several design options submitted for Nebraska’s next license plate.

After rejecting vibrant blue skies, classic sunsets and an all black option, a design featuring a mosaic plucked from the floor of the state Capitol was ultimately selected.

Known as the “Genius of Creative Energy,” the mosaic features planets, suns, moons and stars. It will be displayed on an estimated 8 million license plates from 2023-2028, according to Rhonda Lahm, director of the state’s department of motor vehicles.

The plate was chosen for its nod to Nebraska’s rich history, which is told in various art forms throughout the Capitol.

Several other design options alluded to the relationship between the rural and urban aspects of Nebraska with city sky lines, cornfields and farm houses — themes that have been used for the state’s license plates in the past.

“I think a lot of people around the country know that Nebraska is an agricultural state, and that has certainly been the theme of many of our license plates in the past,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said Tuesday at a news conference.

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Other options honed in on the celebration of Arbor Day, featuring blue skies, green grass and flourishing trees.

Another focused on Nebraska’s state insect: the honeybee. With a yellow border and honeycomb design, the plate also was emblazoned with the saying “the Western Honey Bee State.”


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A third design kept things simple with a black background and white lettering.

When searching for the next license plate, first lady Susanne Shore and others working on the project had to be wary of certain limitations set by the Legislature.


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Shore had to make certain font, letter and number sizes, colors and visibility levels were up to code — which is not something she initially anticipated.

“I originally thought when we started that you just find a nice attractive image and stylistically plop it on that plate and you’re ready to go. I couldn’t have been more wrong,” Shore said during the news conference.

The chosen plate design was instantly put under public scrutiny with mixed opinions surfacing across social media platforms, but Shore is satisfied with the decision.

“I think it’s incredibly unique and I’m willing to stand behind it,” she said. “It’s inevitable that there’s going to be criticism. It’s sort of a state sport in every state to criticize the license plate. I think time will show that this will become a very beloved license plate.”


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