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ALPCA's Best Plate of 2018: Maryland


Alberta Nova-Scotia Japan Colorado Florida Iowa Illinois Maryland Maine Minnesota Nevada Oklahoma Tennessee


By Gus Oliver #8407, Best Plate Award Coordinator

The winner of the 2018 Best Plate Award is Maryland with its redesigned Treasure the Chesapeake optional license plate. In his emailed vote, Justin Mattes {6748) explained the plates attributes far more eloquently than I could, He said "My #1 pick has to be the Maryland Treasure the Chesapeake Plate. Not only is it embossed, the design covers the entire plate without compromising legibility. The plate has been redesigned a number of times and keeps getting better." This is actually the third design and I think we would all agree that it just keeps getting better. Austin Boudreaux (Junior member 12491) stated, "The background of the plate is very peaceful, pleasant and visually appealing. The digits were visible right where they were placed." This is the second time Maryland has won this award. The first time was in 1984 with their 350th Anniversary plate.

The original version of the Bay Plate as the locals call it was first issued in 1990 and replaced with the current design in 2003. After 14 years, the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Maryland's Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) decided it was time for a new design although it was still very popular. They requested designs from Maryland-based artists. The best of the 250 alternative designs were then voted upon by the people. The winning design was the work of Tina Cardosi through her company TM Design Inc. Her firm had already won over 50 graphic design awards. Tina said she was incredibly honored to have her design chosen for the new plates but she was absolutely stunned when I told it was voted as the best plate for 2018 out of all of the new plates worldwide. "This is really exciting! So cool!" was her first reaction. According to a statement on the Trust's website, Executive Director Jana Davis stated, "the Trust was incredibly fortunate to have found TM Design. Tina and her group have a rare combination of creativity, artistry, responsiveness, customer insight, and collaborative spirit. It was wonderful to work with a group who cared as much, if not more, than we as the client did about the ultimate outcome of the project. They were incredibly tolerant of a long and unorthodox process to create the new design." These plates went on sale on October 29, 2018 with our members already spotting these plates all across the nation.

The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a nonprofit, grant-making organization dedicated to restoring the local rivers, streams, forests, and main stem of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Over the last 33 years, the Trust has awarded over $100 million through more than 14,000 grants to fund watershed restoration projects, citizen outreach and engagement initiatives and K-12 environmental education programs. The Trust has received a "Four Star Rating" from Charity Navigator, placing it in the top 1% of charities nationwide. Over 250,000 Marylanders have purchased Bay Plates which raises over $3M per year. It is also funded by donations from a Maryland state income tax check-off, private and public partnerships, individual donations and other sources.

Although Maryland won with 714 points which was a comfortable margin above the competition. Nevertheless, plates from several other jurisdictions garnered a significant number of votes. Florida came in second with 564 points, Oklahoma was third with 519 points and Japan was fourth with 492 points. It is interesting that the top 3 plates are all redesigns of plates raising funds for worthy causes.

A few members have expressed their opinion that this competition should be limited to general issue plates only. With Iowa being the only one entered, there would not have been much of a contest. There was only one other general issue plate for 2018 but it was not nominated. Even if all general issues were automatically entered and the contest limited to only general issues, it would have still been far less interesting. Also look at how many worthy plates would have been omitted including the winner.

Norm Smith (3353) stated, "I don't like any of them" while Amanda Hildebrand (12491) said, "So many colorful plates to choose from this year!" And, Wes Segni (8206) wrote, "Nice choices to pick from." Were they all looking at the same plates? I felt our membership did a great job in nominating the best plates for consideration.

With 548 members voting, this is the highest rate of participation that I can recall.

I might also add that I received a number of comments about the Tennessee Friends of the Smokies plate being too dark. The actual plate is legible. The printing process of our magazine somehow make it look darker than it really is. My apologies to its supporters. The Oklahoma plate also printed a little dark. On a humorous note one of our junior members commented that he really liked the barn on the left side of the Oklahoma plate. I won't mention his name so as to not embarrass him but that "barn" depicts what many of the rural school houses looked like 100 years ago. They literally were not much better than a barn and were typically poorly heated with a wood stove.

My apologies to Bruce Schmiesing (5265) for failing to recognize him in the last article for nominating the Minnesota plate. Again, I want to thank everyone for participating. Please watch for plates to nominate for 2019 and don't forget to nominate your favorite after December 1st. We are just now discussing dates for the 2018 Best Plate Award presentation. We will post the information below once we have something scheduled.


Maryland: 714
Florida: 564
Oklahoma: 519
Japan: 498
Iowa: 353
Tennessee: 362
Nevada: 336
Illinois: 327
Colorado: 260
Minnesota: 256
Alberta: 190
Maine: 156
Nova Scotia: 145

Total Points: 4680
Total Votes: 548

Last updated: Sunday, 17-Mar-2019 18:35:08 UTC

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