Iowa blackout license plate design

The new Iowa “blackout” license plate design.

Why didn’t Nebraska think of that?

Iowa is launching a new “blackout” license plate, and the design is generating some buzz for the Hawkeye State.

“WOW. Well done, IA,” one person responded on the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Facebook post.

“So cool!!” said another.

The blackout look is exactly as advertised: A solid black background plate with white lettering — Iowa across the top, the plate number or vanity wording through the middle and the county name across the bottom.

“Simple and elegant — not something you usually say about a license plate,” the Iowa Department of Transportation said. “But that’s what we’re hearing about our new blackout plates.”

Iowa started taking orders July 1, according to the Des Moines Register.

Regular numbered plates cost $35 , while personalized plates with up to seven characters or numbers are $60. Renewal fees apply later. Iowa’s regular plates are green, blue and white with an urban-rural silhouette and cost $25 to personalize.

For details, visit

If you already have a personalized plate and want to switch to a blackout plate, you’ll need to mail in a form available at that link.

Nebraska has been expanding its specialty plates over the years and now offers an array of topical, organizational and military plates.

The state has had a history of plates stirring up public reaction.

Creation of Nebraska’s current official plate ran into controversy over the look of the sower at the center. It turned out that the designer based the look on a Michigan State sower, not the Nebraska State Capitol sower.

Then there was the time that then-Gov. Dave Heineman offered the public a choice of four designs. A humor website campaigned for the most boring design, and it won. The state disqualified those votes, and the plates ended up featuring the state flower and state bird.

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Jeff Robb dives into data for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @jeffreyrobb. Phone: 402-444-1128.

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