Kan. governor’s office responds to viral license plate design

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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – A Kansas graphic designer is speaking up after his design for a Kansas license plate gained traction with people from across the state and beyond wanting it to be the chosen one. A photo of Ben Tegtmeier’s design went viral on social media.

His design, representing BT Creative, shows several iconic Kansas images including bison, sunflowers, the arrow-shooting statue atop the capitol building in Topeka and the Flint Hills in the background. In cursive toward the bottom of the plate is the state’s motto: “Ad Astra per Aspera.” Public support appears to be there, but Tegtmeier’s design won’t be utilized.

In a nutshell, the Eudora-based artist acknowledged that he was “a little late to the party.”

“Wasn’t able to get it finished in the short timeframe for submitting but i thought I would share it anyway,” Tegtmeier said of the design that received hundreds of thousands of engagements on Facebook in about 24 hours. “I wanted to include just a few of the things that make Kansas great. The rolling flint hills, the state flower, the capital statue, the plains(and wheat) of course, the Monument Rocks in Lewis and of course the great American Bison.”

The opportunity for Kansans to vote on five design options the state presented followed Governor Laura Kelly reversing course on the previously-released new license plate after many Kansans spoke out against how it looked. With similar colors, many shared the view that it too closely resembled New York’s license plate design.

When asked why the state decided against giving Kansans like Tegtmeier (BT Creative) the opportunity to submit their own designs, the governor’s office said multiple factors were at play, including the timeline for distribution of the new plates, adaptability of them and, above all, safety concerns.

Kelly’s office provided the following statement:

“The process is moving quickly because the timeline for distributing new plates has already been altered and there are still preproduction processes needing to be performed after the new design is selected. The old embossed plates posed safety concerns as they eroded, so we want to ensure safety and readability of plates as soon as possible. This is of the utmost importance in emergencies like Amber Alerts.

The state did incorporate a lot of feedback from citizens into the designs currently being voted on, including stars, wheat, and sunflowers. We are not accepting constituent designs to adhere to stringent guidelines that comply with the needs of law enforcement entities and best practices established by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (which are outlined here https://governor.kansas.gov/governor-kelly-announces-new…/) and to continue this process quickly, again due to safety concerns.”

Tegtmeier said his design covered all the bases and embodies what most Kansans want.



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