Kansas is going back to the drawing board after hundreds of people blasted the state’s new license plate design for next year, with many saying it resembled those of other states and a rival state university from neighboring Missouri.
“I’ve heard you loud and clear,” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said in a statement Tuesday. “Elected officials should be responsive to their constituents, which is why we are adjusting the process so Kansans can provide direct input on our state’s next license plate.”
One major complaint is the colors of the design— wheat-yellow colored background with black and dark blue text— were too similar to the color scheme of the University of Missouri, a rival to the University of Kansas, according to governor spokesperson Brianna Johnson.
When asked about the plate being draped in colors used by the University of Missouri, Johnson responded in an email, “Technically the colors were navy and yellow with black digits (not Mizzou colors) but on social media, everything looked black.”
Meanwhile, the governor’s Facebook post announcing the design on November 22 received comments criticizing the design’s lack of originality
“Please give us Kansans the opportunity to choose from a few designs that are unique & reflect our Kansas pride. Why would any of us want Mizzou’s colors on our plates? This design is very uninspired, IMO. I’d be embarrassed to display this design on my car. It just doesn’t cut the mustard (pun intended!)” one user commented on the post.
Others have said the design is akin to New York’s plate while some said the two stars on each side of the plate number are too similar to some Texas plates.
“New York knockoff, Mizzou colors. Texas stars. Couldn’t be much worse. Please don’t force this on the taxpayers. Get some public and professional design input and try again,” one Facebook user wrote in a comment under the same post.
And state officials are doing just that. The Kansas Department of Revenue has paused production on the license plates and will create a process to receive public input before selecting a final design, the governor’s office said in a statement. Kansans will have the chance to vote on a design.
“We wanted to be responsive to Kansans’ concerns, which is why we’re now adjusting the process,” Johnson said.
By Tuesday evening, some social media users were already sharing plate designs in the comment section under the governor’s announcement of the change.
The original design paid tribute to the state motto “ad astra per aspera,” a Latin phrase meaning “through adversity to the stars.” Below the plate number, the words “to the stars” appear in italics.
“It serves as a reminder that there are endless possibilities and that we should always reach for the stars,” the governor said in the November 22 statement announcing the design.
But that’s not how many Kansas residents saw it.
In addition to the slew of strong responses on social media, state lawmakers were also hearing from their constituents, Johnson said.
“I promised to be a bipartisan governor, and I think we can all admit – I succeeded at bringing Kansans across the political aisle together in disliking this new license plate,” Kelly said Tuesday.
The governor’s office plans to announce more details on next steps, including license plate design options and the voting process.
CNN’s Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.