Help us say “Goodbye” to the Wave license plate

Published on Tuesday, December 07, 2021

CRANSTON, R.I. – The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles, in conjunction with Governor Daniel J. McKee, is opening a design contest today for the look of the primary license plates the state will begin issuing in 2022.

The winning design will replace the “Wave” design that has been in use for 25 years. The Division of Motor Vehicles will begin distributing the redesigned license plates in 2022 with the start of its reissuance program. The new plates will be distributed according to the DMV’s vehicle registration renewal sequence.

“We know the Rhode Islanders take fierce pride in their home state and want a say in how Rhode Island is portrayed around the country,” said Governor McKee. “We expect them to relish this chance to illustrate Rhode Island’s independent spirit by showing off their design skills and ingenuity.”  

DMV Administrator Walter R. “Bud” Craddock said: “We see and hear every day how much importance Rhode Islanders put on their vehicles and the way those look on the road or in their driveways. We hope they embrace this generational opportunity to put their stamp on a symbol that transports a piece of Rhode Island to the rest of the country.”


The contest is open to all Rhode Island residents and to any student attending a school, college, or university in Rhode Island. DMV staff will review all entries before releasing a set of finalists to be voted on by the general public, with the winning design announced in early March 2022.

The contest will open from 12:01 AM on Dec. 6, 2021 and will close at 11:59 PM on Jan. 7, 2022.

The DMV will notify the winner via contact information provided at the time of entry, with the winning design announced after the winner is verified.

Among the specifications and characteristics entrants should consider for their designs are:

-- Only four spot colors, including black, can be incorporated into a design;

-- Avoid designs that require a heavy amount of ink to be used behind the numbers and letters of the registrations;

-- Lighter backgrounds and darker alphanumeric characters are preferred to enhance contrast and registration readability;

-- “Rhode Island” must be placed on the top center of the design, and “Ocean State” bottom center of the design.

Please visit [] for additional contest design guidelines and entry information.

Rhode Island License Plate Vehicle Registration