The Language of Number Plates

in Number-plate

The use of Roman Numerals in Plate Design

Roman numerals are a numeral system of ancient Rome based on letters of the alphabet, which are combined to indicate the sum of their values. The main roman numerals used when creating car registration include V, X, L, and M. For example V, is the Roman symbol for 5, X means 10, L means 50, and M is 1,000. The Roman numeral that cannot be used in the language of plate speak is I meaning 1. However, in the language of number plates, I can often can be re replaced with 1, due to there visual similarity. This allows you can to create a larger range of birthday ages or your personal lucky numbers. My personal lucky number is 14 and my ideal number plate would include X 1 V.

Substituting letter or Digit Combinations

The main idea behind substituted letters and numbers when designing a number plate and vice versa is to trick the brain into seeing combinations of recognisable symbols. This happens because typically a person can go briefly blind up to 200 times a minute for approximately one twentieth of a second. Each time this happens, the mind can blend images together so they seem continuous. This is how the process of substituting letter or digit combinationsworks, and the language of number plates was born. The main list of replacements in plate design is shown below, but like any list it is not completely definitive. For example, the number 11 can represent the letters H, M, N or U and the number 2 can represent the letters R or Z.

The main difficulty in creating number plate language is the rules on spacing and combinations in plate design as part of the Road Vehicles Regulations of 2001. Today, this is not really a problem as all the main suppliers of number plates in the United Kingdom can take you through the process of buying a personalised number plate quickly and simply without breaking any display laws. There is nothing to worry about, but please remember stay away from show plates as they are not designed to be used on vehicles.

You can of course use your own language or hidden personal codes that you have developed between friends and family, but if you want the general public to understand your car registration it is better to stick to the main language of number plates. Remember, substituting letter or digit combinations is more effective with the older classic style plate design, before 2001. Especially when using Roman numerals. So start thinking imaginatively to create your ideal personalised number plate.

When you come to combine the different styles of Roman numerals and substituted letter and numbers you can create some great combinations of names and ages. For example, a primary number plate of X1 Jon has been sold or is not available, but by replacing O for D, I have created the combination "X11 JDN" which is currently on sale for £494.00.

Why not try creating your own personalised number plate and create a lasting language.

A list of Common Substitutes of Letter or Digit Combinations

  • A » 4
  • B » 8 or 13
  • D » 0
  • E » 3
  • G » 6
  • H » 11
  • I » 1
  • L » 1 or I
  • N » 1V
  • O » 0
  • Q » 0 or O
  • R » 12
  • S » 5
  • T » 7
  • U » V
  • V » U
  • W » VV
  • Y » 7
  • 0 » D or O
  • 1 » I or L
  • 3 » E
  • 4 » A
  • 5 » S
  • 6 » G or B
  • 7 » T or Y
  • 8 » A or B
  • 9 » G
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Tom Sangers has 1 articles online

This Article was written for and behalf of Speedy Registrations by Tom Sangers. Speedy Registrations have been supplying number plates to the public since 1984. Based in Northern Ireland they specialise in private and personalised number plates and can also offer a range of Irish number plates. They pride themselves on our competitive prices, matched equally by a professional customer care service.

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The Language of Number Plates

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This article was published on 2010/04/01