Iowans Impressed By Local Artist’s Revision of Iowa License Plate

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The Iowa license plate voting at the Iowa State Fair has sparked debate.

"I think it's awesome that we get to.  So many times it's done behind close doors," said Janell Sullivan, who was visiting from of Bettendorf.

Thursday's unveiling made others wish the options remained behind those closed doors.  Cameron Miller, from Des Moines, wasn't afraid to hide her feelings of the three options. "It makes me cringe," she said. Dayton Little of Lamoni agreed, saying, "I asked if they are going back to the drawing board and unfortunately they said they weren't."

Des Moines graphics artist and owner of Bozz Prints, John Bosley, was among the critics.  He said, "Iowa is a beautiful, colorful place with personality, and those plates are everything but."

Bosley took matters into his own artistic hands and offered up a solution based off his 'Layers of Iowa' print design.

"It's an agricultural vibe and our RAGBRAI vibe and also the urban sprawl," he said.

It's a design that seemed to wow the uninspired still in line at the Iowa DOT voting booth.

"Honestly if that one was up there I would have voted for it.  It's beautiful," said Sullivan.

Fans of the design, like Michaela Pearson of Norwalk, seemed to believe it screamed Iowa. "I like those two a lot better because it has downtown skyline, city structure, and also our roots of corn and farm."

In July, Bosley had a similar layered design he hoped to add to the list of finalists.  Communications Director Andrea Henry praised it, but said, "Unfortunately, with the parameters we need to work under regarding usable space and legibility, best practices for law enforcement, we would really have to pull your design apart and change the look and feel to make it work for a license plate."

With thousands of likes on Facebook and over 900 shares of his license plate design, social media also provided a resounding applause.  Janell said, "We want to stand out and be different from everybody else in the United States."  A plate as distinctive as the people, the places, and the natural beauty of Iowa.  "It's nice to get that positive feedback and know I am not alone.  Iowa deserves better license plates."

The license plate that receives the most votes will be available sometime in 2018.