Private Number Plate Ideas

If you want to add a bit of personality, humour or originality to your vehicle, a personalised number plate is the perfect way to go. A customised plate makes a great addition to any car, truck, or motorbike. Not only by making your vehicle stand out and be eye-catching on the road, but also by being able to tailor a message that is important or meaningful to you. 


Cherished number plates can be designed in a number of formats and, with some creative thinking, messages can be designed to reflect the driver’s name, favourite sports team, or even a hobby. Styling a number plate to display the message you want is limited only by your creativity and the availability of that number plate. If someone has already made the personalised plate that you want, you will have to come up with an alternative spelling to create a plate that is close to the message you’re looking for. There are some articles below to give some inspiration on creating a personalised plate for you:


Cheap Private Number Plates Under £200

Cool number plates: ideas for your own awesome personalised registration

The 10 Most Expensive Private Number Plates Sold In The UK

Football Number Plates: Ideas For The Ultimate Footie Fan

10 Private Number Plates For Golf Lovers

Where Is The Best Place To Sell My Private Number Plate?

Private Number Plates For Motorbikes


How to use numbers to replace letters

Many people that have made private number plates discovered a long time ago that certain letters could be replaced with numbers to maintain their plates readability. Sometimes this meant that the design in question could be purchased at a lower price, or if the desired plate was already taken it was a great workaround to make an alternate plate that read as close to the desired message as possible. Replacing numbers for letters provides greater flexibility when crafting a cherished number plate as the design is then not restricted to letters alone. Single letters can be used to represent short words, like 2 in place of ‘to’, allowing for even greater flexibility. 


Some of the numbers used to effectively substitute letters are:


1 - ‘I’ or ‘L’

2 - ‘Z’ or ‘to/too’

3 - ‘E’

4 - ‘A’ of ‘for/four’

5 - ‘S’

6 - ‘G’ or ‘B’

7 - ‘T’

8 - ‘B’

9 - ‘G’


Combinations of letters and numbers can be used to design a funny or witty message or reflect other things like a job or location. But there are some rules that must be followed. Number plates must be designed to the required specifications and formats required by the DVLA, and the age of the car must not appear younger than it is. Using a plate to lessen the cars actual age is not allowed by law.

Number Plate Formats

As long as the DVLA rules are observed then letters and numbers can be used to create your personal number plate in the following  formats:


Dateless plates

These tend to be the most sought after and therefore the most expensive version of private number plates. Their format consists of 1, 2, 3, or 4 numbers followed by 1, 2, or 3 letters. This plate can also be reversed with letters first followed by numbers. (e.g. 212 KM, 1 GUY)


Suffix style

This style of plate was issued from 1963 until 1983 and was formatted as 3 letters, followed by a number that could be 1 - 3 digits, and 1 letter. (e.g. WXM 123L)


Prefix style

From 1983 to 2001 number plates were styled as 1 letter, followed by 1-3 numbers, and 3 letters. (e.g. S216 BHJ)


New/current style

Since 2001 the format of number plates has been 2 letters, 2 numbers, and 3 letters. (e.g. YG12 DXH)


Any of these formatting styles can be used to create a cherished number plate that reflects your personality or to display a unique message. People that are proud of their vehicle often choose to have their number plate reflect the make or model of the car. So using the prefix style you could create ‘JAG 1’ or ‘BMW 3’ to display the type of vehicle being driven.


Using the various number plate formats available other creative messages could be designed to create things like:


AR53 NAL (Arsenal)

BI6 BOB (Big Bob)

MAR 1E (Marie)

POK 3R (Poker)

EA57 DAY (Easy Day)

M155 SUE (Miss Sue)


Other design inspirations can come from important names, dates, initials, or even number plate stylings that reflect the career of the vehicle owner such a B4 KER (Baker) or plates that end in things like PUB or GYM to show the job of the driver (DVR!).


Finding your private plate

With all the prefix and suffix style plates it can be difficult to remember what combinations of numbers and letters are legally permitted for use. Fortunately, Swiftreg has a number plate search engine that will help you to find number plates that are close to your desired word or phrase. 


Simply enter the word, name or term you are searching for and our search tool will return all plates that closely match your choice in all of the available formats. For example, if you are searching for a personalised number plate that reads ‘BIG RON’ or close to it, entering it into the search box will return hundreds of options including the following results. 


Dateless registrations - ‘1 RON’

New/Current registrations ‘R016 RON’

Prefix registrations ‘B19 RON’

Suffix registrations ‘RON 44H’


For those that have very specific requirements, the Advanced Search feature may be used to individually select letters and numbers on prefix and current style plates and search our database for their availability. If your chosen number is available the search engine will display and confirm the match.


Prices for each plate will vary depending on their rarity and the combination of letters and number that you are looking for. Some plates can cost high amounts while others are relatively cheap to buy. 


Top Tip: sometimes just altering 1 letter or substituting a letter for a number can reduce the price substantially. 


Depending on your preference and budget you can select the plate from Switreg’s available options that best suits your needs and complete your purchase online. Making your search for your own special number plate fast and easy.

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