Best Uses for Novelty Plates

Novelty plates, otherwise known as show plates, provide an alternative and personalizable option when it comes to your vehicle registration. We at Bespoke Plates provide, create and install novelty number plates.

Within this blog, we are going to delve into the best uses for novelty number plates, as a novelty number plate maker, we are going to provide all the information you have to know when it comes to these fun alternatives for car personalisation.

But first, what is a Novelty plate?

What are novelty plates?

At Bespoke Plates, aside from 3D number plates, 4D number plates, as well as electric car number plates, we also offer novelty personalised show plates, novelty plates can be selected on our website when choosing your style of plate. That’s right, you can have 3D gel show plates or 4D show plates, the choice is completely yours.

A show plate is a number plate made for display purposes with mild to extreme modifications on characters, spacing and more. The plate owner has complete freedom when designing a show plate, so much so that we even offer accessories that can be used for your show plate such as a number plate holder.

Top 3 Benefits of Promotional Plates - Show Number Plates UK

Best uses for novelty plates

Novelty Plates offer a variety of uses and functions including:

  • Being a thoughtful gift for a car enthusiast.
  • Can be used as a prop for a film of any production value.
  • A unique and personal decoration for a home, bedroom or office.
  • A deterrent for thieves, replacing your plate with a show plate (When on private property) can deter thieves from taking your vehicle, as the likelihood of them getting stopped whilst in the car with show plates on is very high.
  • It can be a perfect compliment to a car you or someone you know have put a lot of time into customising.

Whilst we provide show plates we must disclose clearly that show plates are illegal to use on public roads. Using a show plate on any public road could lead to a fine of £1000 and can also get points added to your license, however, using a show plate on private property is perfectly legal. We make mention of this with every purchase and/or installation of show plates.

With show plates, you have more freedom in personalising your plate, the reason it is illegal to use whilst driving on a public road is due to some designs being harder to read for other road users, whilst alternative backgrounds, spacings and character raising can make technologies such as speed cameras and ANPR’s struggle to recognise the plate. Driving a vehicle from public to private land with show plates on is also illegal.

Show plates generally do not fall in the ‘BS AU 145D’ structure making the vehicle’s origin and owner harder to establish, which will put other road users at risk. Click here to read the ruling on licence plating in the UK. Our blog site offers insight into show plates and their rules. If you’re considering buying a show plate for yourself or someone else, browse our website for the style you want.

We briefly mentioned 3D & 4D plates, below we will elaborate on them for you, as these are options you can add to your show plate to give it a unique and pronounced finish.

3D & 4D Plates

As an established plate provider who also creates novelty number plates in the UK, We at Bespoke Plates thought we should show you what options you have in designing your novelty personalised number plate. Introducing 3D & 4D Plates.

What’s the difference?

The key physical difference between the 3D and 4D plates is in the characters, 4D characters are raised and have a more rectangular look as opposed to the 3D characters, which are slightly less raised and have a rounded look to them.

3D plates are made from acrylic, with the raised characters being made from polyurethane. We ‘stick’ these characters by hand using an aligner bar to ensure perfect spacing. On the other hand, 4D plates share the same acrylic base but are instead made from polyurethane, acrylic sheeting is cut by laser creating a thicker and more rectangular character which also has the added benefit of making the number plate more durable than its 3D counterpart.

3D Plate
4D Plate

Are gel plates legal?

Gel plates are legal, within reason. As long as the character structure follows the ‘BS AU 145D’ style mentioned earlier, and as long all other characteristics of the plate fall within the DVLA regulations, then they are legal and safe to drive on public roads. Any deviation from the rules stated makes them illegal.

The rules are as follows, legal plates must:

  • Be made from a reflective material.
  • Have black display characters on a white background (front plate).
  • Have black display characters on a yellow background (rear plate).
  • Not have a background pattern.
  • Be marked to show who supplied the number plate.
  • Be marked with a British Standard number.
  • Plates must be made from durable materials.
  • Only single colours are allowed.
  • Electric vehicles must display the green band
  • The plate must be applied in a secure and visible area.

It should also be noted that flimsy insecure application of any plate can be a road hazard, which could result in you getting in a fine. That is why as a 5-star rated business on Trustpilot, we are a trusted, legal and experienced seller and installer of custom number plates. This means that from start to finish, we guarantee to provide a high standard of service. You can be sure our quality of service means you will be fully informed, and fully legal.

At Bespoke Plates, we offer the option of adding 3D or 4D characters for your show plate, as well as for your legal registration too. To understand the legalities of having a gel number plate as your visible in-use number plate, head over to our in-depth article available on our blog.

Are novelty plates the same as custom plates?

No, novelty plates are strictly prohibited to use on public roads, hence why they are also known as show plates. You can apply novelty plates to any vehicle as long as that vehicle is not in use on public roads.

Custom plates are number plates that fall within the legal parameters of number plating, such as the aforementioned 3D and 4D plates.

In terms of what cars can have custom plates on the rules are a little different, you cannot put a custom number plate on any car.

In the UK, number plates contain a number to show the age of the vehicle, changing the number plate can create a false perception of the age of the motor in question. Which can be seen as forgery or fraud if done for the purpose of upselling the vehicle and making it seem younger than advertised.

Making sure your custom plate is properly registered before installing, will ensure you are accurately advertising your car if you choose to sell it. Making it easier for you to be able to sell the vehicle with fewer complications, misleading buyers with an unregistered custom plate can not only hamper a potential sale but also leave you liable to legal action and potential criminal charges, even if it was an oversight or mistake on your part.

At Bespoke Plates, whether it’s novelty plates you want or a custom plate, we have the options available for you. There is also an option to visualize your idea on our website, making sure you know what to expect before buying. Whether you want us to install it, or you want it delivered so you can install it yourself, we can provide that for you.

Contact us

To get in touch and discuss your plate with one of the members of our team you can e-mail us at

Alternatively, you can give us a call at 0333 006 7878.

You can also choose to visit us in-store at:

36A Broughton Street,
M8 8NN,
United Kingdom

We hope for anyone still wondering about the best uses for novelty plates, that we provided all the right help and displayed plenty of options for all of your plate modification needs. We at Bespoke Plates want to take all the complications out of customising your number plate. As an approved license vendor we can guarantee your modification abides by the DVLA rules whilst offering same-day collections and full fitting service.

For more information covering all things regarding custom number plates please check out our blog. We cover all the necessary prerequisites that will equip you with all the knowledge for you to acquire fancy new custom plates. Such articles include the legalities that surround custom number plates such as “Private Plate Rules and Regulations“, “Are Custom Number Plates Legal“, “Are 3D Number Plates Legal“, “Are Coloured Number Plates Legal“, “Can You Put a Private Plate On a Lease Car” and “Are Gel Number Plates Legal“.

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