New Pure Michigan License Plates Unveiled

Motorists will soon be able to show their Pure Michigan pride every time they take a ride!

George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan (left) with Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and William Gnodtke, chairman of the Mackinac Bridge Authority

From the top of the Mackinac Bridge this morning, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson unveiled two new Michigan license plates: a colorful Mackinac Bridge plate and the Pure Michigan plate, which will eventually replace the state’s standard blue bar plate.

Guests and media made a rare visit to the top of the bridge’s South Tower for the announcement, which stands more than 500 feet over the blue waters of the Straits of Mackinac, providing a true “Pure Michigan” backdrop. According to Johnson, there could not be a better place than one of the most familiar Michigan landmarks to celebrate these new plates.

The new standard plate features a rolling blue wave and the Pure Michigan brand, and will have a configuration of up to seven characters for no additional cost.

The Mackinac Bridge plate features the bridge against a sunrise background, and will also have the state’s Pure Michigan branding.

These new plates are expected to be available for residents to order beginning in early 2013.

We’re thrilled that the plates incorporate Pure Michigan, allowing Michiganders to show their pride and help spread the word that our state is a great place to live, work, play and do business in! What do you think of the new designs?

  • joelcolin

    Will this reset the custom plate pool? As in, if someone is on the old plate with MICHMAN, can I get it on the new plates?

  • RickThompson

     @joelcolin Unfortunately, no, if the custom plate that you wish to have is already taken, it will not be available after the switch. It is simply the design of the plate itself, not the “license plate number.”

  • mrboire

    Is it going to be a continuation of the current XXX NNNN numbering? Or something else? I would have loved to been able to get the all blue great looking plates back as an option. 

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  • ColleenisaContradiction

    i love the new Bridge plate, i am hoping to have a car by the time they come out and that is definitely going to be my new plate…can we personalize them with our own numbers/words????? love them both, and i too love that they incorporate the Pure Michigan logo, been telling my husband for years we need more advertisement for Michigan as a resort state and for it’s natural beauty, the water, etc… and all the other things we have to offer here… can’t wait till the new plates come out..

  • YuOfOwari22

    PURE MICHIGAN! This is great! Michigan is great! I love this! We need more Pure Michigan everywhere! 

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  • angryrose

     @mrboire The blue background and white letter plates that said “great lakes state” at the bottom? I liked those, I hate the white background. 

  • TrishKing

    Do not care for the wave for the standard plate, current standard is nicer, the bridge is great though.

  • Pete Dodds

    Will the bridge plate be available for motorcycles?

  • KerriTang

    The Mac Bridge plate is 10 times better than the one we’re using now!!  When the contest for a new plate was done a few yrs back, the one they chose (what we have now) was so small in detail, you can’t make out what it even is. Couldn’t believe they chose that one.

  • Pure Michigan

     @ColleenisaContradiction Yes, the new plates can be personalized with up to seven characters. 

  • ScottKnitter

    The fewer words, the better. I don’t think the caption “The Mackinac Bridge” is necessary…let the image of the bridge speak for itself. The curious can Google. Similarly, New York State’s license plates don’t have a caption “The Statue of Liberty,” and it would be weird if they did. If the bridge is one of the state’s icons, it works alone without explanation.

  • stroudster39

    The standard place is pleasant to the eye and classy.  The bridge plate is gaudy and overdone.

  • stroudster39

    * sorry – plate

  • thelicenseplate

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  • j05h52

    @Pure Michigan   @ColleenisaContradiction Most of the previous plates including the “Great Lakes Splendor” and “Spectacular Peninsulas” plates had the Mackinac Bridge in the background. I think it’s kind of redundant to have the phrase “Mackinac Bridge plastered on the bottom. Maybe something along the lines of “Great Lakes State” would be more fitting. I know I’m late to the party, but I’m also speaking on behalf of other people I’ve asked. Thanks.

  • shwndyl

    @RickThompson  @joelcolin Let’s say I own a custom plate that says ABCDEFG on the current Spectacular Peninsulas plate. Will I be able to get ABCDEFG on the new plate when I renew my registration?

  • Ric federau

    Nice but why didn’t the design people include the Governors choice for “Michigan’s Premier Winter Sporting Event”,  THE  I-500 at Michigan’s OLDEST city?  The I-500 is a huge partner in the pure Michigan campaign.
    How disappointing that it gets overlooked so often.  A professional snowmobile event that generates Millions in revenue and is so important to Northern Michigan and beyond, to Industry, recreation and more.  The Mighty-Mac IS a mainstay in Michigan’s history and the I-500 is almost as old,     Promote what the Governor proclaimed as Michigan’s premier winter sporting event.  The ONLY recreation involvement he spoke of during his “State of the State” address in 2012.  
    Come on people…. don’t overlook this important event and all it means to millions of Michiganders.  So sad to be left out…….  Please reconsider and bring the I-500 back into the mix as being appreciated for its 45 consecutive years of operation.
    Thank you.
    Ric Federau
    International 500 Chairman.

  • KenKlinzman

    For the new standard plate, I hope they go back to 6 digits instead of 7 like they are now.
    And start with the letter A this time, not B, or C or D. I am sure they will keep 7 digits and
    start with the letter D though, because nobody is going to read this in the Sec. of State office.
    As for the bridge plate, well some people will want it. I like the original Michigan Splendor
    design the best, unfortunately I could not renew mine, so I have a Spectacular Peninsulas
    plate, its the one that is green above and blue below, which always has me thinking
    Go home Michigan, you’re drunk (or at least up-side down)

  • KenKlinzman

    For the new standard plate, I hope they go back to 6 digits instead of 7 like they are now. And start with the letter A this time, not B, or C or D. I am sure they will keep 7 digits and start with the letter D though, because nobody is going to read this in the Sec. of State office.As for the bridge plate, well some people will want it. I like the original Michigan Splendor design the best, unfortunately I could not renew mine, so I have a Spectacular Peninsulas plate, its the one that is green above and blue below, which always has me thinking Go home Michigan, you’re drunk (or at least up-side down)

  • JimPratt

    PURE MICHIGAN  has now been fatally contaminated with the taint of “freedom to freeload” racism. The father of the right-tto-work” legislation was Vance Muse, who, in the 1940′s, said this: “”From now on, white women and white men will be forced into organizations with black African apes whom they will have to call ‘brother’ or lose their jobs.” — Vance Muse, founder of the “right to work” anti-labor campaign The full story behind “right-to-work”:

    PURE MICHIGAN advertising right-to-work connects every featured business, with the ugliness of 1940”s cross burnings of the KKK.   Thanks Pure Michigan MEDC for screwing up so badly.

  • Greg M

    I really like these new plates, I like the Pure Michigan at the top, not too crazy about the new bridge plate, i guess the beach bums will go for that one! lol, I like the white one a lot, but what you need to do is keep the Green and white plate, but change it to a Pure Michigan plate, that would be awesome!

  • Kelly Mahlstedt

    I love the idea of having the Pure Michigan plates and I love the commercials promoting our state. I have just seen a new “Pure Michigan” plate in my town. The white plate with blue writing was a bad choice. I’m in Port Huron right on the border with Canada. Our new plates look exactly like theirs. I wish there could have been a little more distinctive look from theirs, after all, they are just visitors to our country.

  • Maureen M

    I have to renew by license plate by end of April. Will these new plates be available by then?

  • Rick Schwes

    Where can I buy a License Plate Frame with just the wording


    I live in Georgia, but I am from Michigan

  • coolgiftsusa

    customized license plate frames

    All license plate frames offered by is precision stamped and not inaccurately molded to meet the exacting ISO-9002 standards.

  • tireman

    when will the bridge plate be available?

  • Lil

    I’m having a hard time finding any information on why this is even being done. What is the point of moving everyone to a new plate with new numbers? Particularly when you consider that it hasn’t been that long since we moved to the last blue and white plates. I would wager there’s something else going on with these new plates (tracking maybe) because there is absolutely no good reason for me to have to switch plates for the second time in what? Ten years? Seems like a waste of time and money but if someone knows of a good or exact reason, I’d love to hear it.

  • charles


    the blue wave design is simply beautiful;

    it rivals the current NY plate in elegance.

    the mackinac island option is too busy;

    it rivals the current Ohio plate in tackiness.

  • Merlin

    I would like to know why, when this State can’t afford to fix roads properly, fund schools, pay for all the services that people demand, etc etc etc….. why are we changing the plates again. I happened to like the old plates that were blue background with white letters. Simple and easy to read. Now it seems every few years we’re going to see new designs coming out. I’m thinking some politician has a buddy who runs a plate manufacturing plant somewhere with too much downtime. The constant change is unnecessary.

  • Mikayla Shaw

    I’m just wondering when the new bridge plate will be available? I have seen the new Pure Michigan wave plates around but I have yet to see the new bridge plate. Just want to be sure I’ll be able to purchase this plate within the next couple days. Would greatly appreciate an answer to this!

  • When will the bridge plate be available. I just received my renewal for a October plate and there is no mention of that plate nor on the SOS website. I see the blue on white already and mentioned in the booklet.

  • Christopher

    You’re telling me that a team of people approved this gaudy design? Thank god it’s a standard plate because someone couldn’t pay me to put that on my vehicle. Those colors do not represent Pure Michigan and it’s much too busy. These colors belong on a Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada plate.

    I think there were more politics involved in this project than professionals.

    Michigan, your plate, WOOF!

  • James Haralson

    Is the new plate available in either Navy Veteran plate, or Handicap plate

  • Jeff N.

    The new standard “Pure Michigan” plate has got to be the ugliest design that Michigan has ever had! Plain, boring! I don’t like the “Pure Michigan” logo. Give me the good old block letters. And bring back either “Great Lakes State” or “Water Winter Wonderland”. I just had to buy a new trailer plate, and from a distance you can’t even tell it’s a Michigan plate. The new orange plates look nice, but then they are spoiled with a big gray box at the top with the logo inside it, unlike the sample pictured above. Thankfully I have the “Spectacular Peninsulas” plates on both of my vehicles, and will be renewing them as long as possible.

  • Andy

    Now that i have seen the new plates on some vehicles……I think its very difficult to read the license plate number. The white on those colors is hard to see…. Maybe its just me?

  • Nick McClung

    I don’t think the white lettering shows up very well at a distance. I saw one the other day and couldn’t believe that the numbers and letters were white. VERY hard to discern in the day time. Maybe at night they will show up better.

  • Amy Lau

    I’ve seen a couple of the new Mackinac Bridge plates recently, and you CAN NOT see the plate numbers! If I was trying to report a plate number to emergency services, there’s no way I’d be able to!

  • Qrtrbrn

    I agree with Amy Lau. It seems that having readable plates would be important. I CANNOT CONSISTANTLY READ THE NUMBERS AND LETTERS ON THE MACKINAc BRIDGE PLATES FROM ALMOST ANY DISTANCE DAY OR NIGHT!!!! Get rid of them now before the number that have to be recalled, or should be recalled, increases. If you want to rob a bank or snatch a child get Mackinac Bridge plates!!!! MI Senate Bill 654 was introduced today (10/29/13) that would “Require display of registration plates in front and rear of vehicles other than motorcycles”. This might be a good idea because then you could get a lic. plate number from on a vehicle from the front or rear. But this concept won’t work if YOU CAN”T READ THE DANG THINGS!

  • Kevin Weisberg

    The original design of the Mackinac Bridge plate is awesome.

    The version I now see on cars with the white background section for the “Pure Michigan” looks horrible. Why not use the original design shown here?

  • Dave

    I have seen a few new Mack bridge plates and feel the numbers & letters are hard to read.

  • Elaine

    The colors are all wrong for the Mackinac plate. It looks more like Arizona than Michigan.

  • Fuzzbean

    I HATE the new standard plate. I thought the last style, with the straight blue bar at the top and the word “Michigan” big enough to be actually readable, was great. Pretty classic, really. Now both “Michigan” and that lame website address are both unreadable out in real-life conditions on the road, so what is the point? How about we use tiny squiggly thin letters to spell out “If you can read this, you are too close!” on our plates?

    And I agree the bridge plate shown here looks like it is for Florida or Arizona rather than for Michigan.

  • Fuzzbean

    And what is this “Pure Michigan” crap? Are we stealing slogans from New Zealand or something? What ever happened to “Great Lake State” or “Water-Winter Wonderland”? What does “Pure Michigan” even mean? It is blather. How could Michigan be anything other than “pure Michigan”? Oh, wait, there is a piece of New Jersey fell off and landed over by Grayling, maybe. We better go mop that up.

  • Patricia Zia Rondo Murphy

    I love both of the new plates! I’ve been Googling, however, trying to find out whether there is a fee to switch to either of them. My birthday is in mid-April…guess I’ll find out then. The plain one was available last year when I renewed my license and I thought they told me there was no charge. Hope that’s true!

  • Pure Michigan

    @patriciaziarondomurphy:disqus – the standard plate is at no charge. There is a $5 fee for the Mackinac Bridge plate.

  • etime

    absolutely the worst design for a license plate, even from three car lengths away, I cannot read the ID #’s…this is a MAJOR safety concern. Clearly not thought through properly.

  • Vince

    God, I hate this state so much. Just a few more years in this pothole, speed-trap infested sh*t hole and my girlfriend and I are gone.

  • BILL

    I noticed somethin here … sup with sun in this Mackinac Bridge plate
    shown here in middle of sky and new Mackinac Bridge plate that the Sun
    is lower to the bridge? photo attached