KENTUCKY — Kentucky license plates are getting a new look.

What You Need To Know

  • New Kentucky license plate launched

  • License plates to be digitally printed on flat aluminum

  • Plates will continue to be manufactured by Kentucky Correctional Industries

  • Plates are ahead of schedule

The most noticeable difference is that the license plates will be digitally printed on flat aluminum instead of traditional, embossed metal with raised letters and numbers.

Less noticeable to the naked eye will be the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's (KYTC) savings on storage space, bulk manufacturing, and unused inventory. With the digital technology, standard and specialty license plates can be produced as needed rather than having to be mass-produced. 

“This digital technology will make license production and issuance more efficient for KYTC, county clerks and, ultimately, vehicle owners,” Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said.

The plates will continue to be manufactured by Kentucky Correctional Industries (KCI) at the Kentucky State Reformatory. However with the digital technology, KCI can print the requested number and ship them directly to county clerk offices. Currently, the state must account, store, and handle over 300 license plate types at over 145 locations and two warehouses. 

KYTC originally planned to introduce the plates in late 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the reformatory and its plate production process to temporarily shut down. 

Intellectual Technologies Inc., the vendor of the new production equipment, is temporarily taking over production from KCI, printing the new plates at its Fort Wayne, Ind. plant.

“We commend Intellectual Technologies for stepping up to help us ensure our counties an uninterrupted supply of license plates,” Gray said.

Newer plates will gradually replace older license plates, and there will be no change in procedure for Kentucky drivers. Fees for plates will remain the same.