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Legal number plate design

Information and the legalities of a legal number plate design and the format that must comply with British Standard requirements.

Registrations and number plates are the primary way of identifying vehicles. The registration number given to a vehicle will stay with the vehicle, until the vehicle if destroyed, unless the registered keeper decides to retain it and transfer it to another vehicle. Registration numbers must be displayed in line with the law and they must only be supplied to the public by a Registered Number Plate Supplier (RNPS).


Standard Requirements

All vehicles manufactured after 1st January 1978 must display number plates of retro-reflective material. Retro-reflective materials must reach the criteria laid out in the BS AU 145d standard. A superior grade of acrylic material is also supplied capable of withstanding weathering, impact and bend test as stipulated in BS AU 145d.

In the UK, white number plates must be displayed on the front of the vehicle and yellow on the rear. The digits must all be black.

The new number plate format consists of 2 letters, 2 numbers, a space of 33mm and 3 random letters, which can now contain the letter 'Z.' It is an offence to rearrange or alter the digits on a number plate. The registration must match how it is read on the V5C entitlement document, also known as the logbook.


The British Standard

By law, each number plate must display a permanent mark of the following information:

  • The name and postcode of the supplying outlet
  • The British Standard number (currently BS AU 145d)
  • The name or trade mark of the manufacturer or component supplier (Ours reads JEPSON)


Country Identifiers and Flags

Motorists can display the Euro symbol and GB national identifier on a number plate if they wish. Any regional flag can also be displayed on the left-hand side of the number plate, along with its identifying name or letters. The flags we have available are:

  • GB Euro Stars
  • England (Cross of St George)
  • Wales/Cymru (Welsh Dragon)
  • Scotland (Scottish Saltire)
  • Great Britain (Union Flag)

A GB identifier will need to be displayed when traveling within Europe.


Classic Number Plates

Vehicles constructed before 1st January 1978 (‘S’ registrations and before) can display classic black and silver number plates. To see the entire vintage range we have available, please click here.


Further Information

For further information regarding the legal number plate design, spacing, layout and offences regarding number plates, please find downloads below of official documents issued by the DVLA.


Why not try our plate builder on

To support you, our plate builder only allows you to design legal number plates, ensuring you are compliant with British Standard and DVLA legislations. Some people don't know if their number plates are legal or not, therefore providing this service eliminates any worry. 

Visit by clicking the image below to design your plates, order online and collect from one of our Collection Points nationwide.