What is the Difference Between Personalized & Vanity Plates?

Custom Car Tags vs Vanity License Plates

What are vanity plates? How about custom car tags? Is there a difference between them? You may have seen these terms tossed around while registering or renewing your vehicle’s license plates. The answers to these questions are somewhat nebulous and there isn’t a black-and-white difference between them.

What is a Vanity Plate?

Car with a Decorative Front License Plate

There isn’t a clear-cut way to define vanity plates. Cyber Drive Illinois is one of the few places that provides a definition and contrasts vanity plates with other personalized license plates:¹

“Vanity plates contain up to 3 numbers or 1 to 7 letters only”
“Personalized plates contain both letters and numbers”

Outside of this specific differentiation, the terms personalized license plates, custom car tags, and vanity plates are mostly interchangeable. Vanity plates may apply to purely decorative license plates more frequently, but the term still applies to official tags.

Typically, these terms refer to personalizing required license plates to read specific phrases or names. An important distinction comes into play when considering which states require front license plates.

What States Require Front License Plates?

License Plate Art Featuring Many States

While many motorists seem to want novelty or unofficial front license plates, there are only a handful of states that allow them. 19 states require the rear license plate only. This means the other 31 states require both front and back license plates. See the following list for which states do not require front license plates

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

Personalized Tropical Front License PlateThe above list of states allow custom front license plates that aren’t required to follow established design guidelines or include assigned identifying alphanumeric character combinations. This gives motorists a wide degree of freedom to personalize their vehicles according to their personality and style. Looking for front license plate ideas is a fun way to find inspiration if you live in one of these states.

Advertising with a custom car tag is an easy way to get your company’s name in front of potential customers or clients. Some organizations utilize business license plates as an additional means of marketing their products or services.

However, this does not mean that drivers within these 19 states have complete freedom. There may be restrictions on what phrases or designs are allowed. For example, plates that could be mistaken as official tags for police or government officials. Designs of this nature could potentially pose public security and safety risks.

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CustomSigns.com is your one-stop-shop for all of your signage needs including decorative car tags and political license plates. Whatever your signage needs, CustomSigns.com’s wide variety of signs, banners, and decals are sure to satisfy.

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  1. Cyber Drive Illinois
  2. Autolist

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