Illinois is rolling out a new license plate this year. Here's a well made video on it's evolution. 

Here's a handful of things I learned watching this video:

  • The first plates were circular and you had to fill them out yourself.
  • 1925 Illinois crossed the 1 million mark for registered vehicles
  • 1933 was the first year the plates were made in prisons
  • From 1943-48 we switched from metal to paperboard
  • 1954 the Land of Lincoln was introduced
  • 1961 was the first year letters were allowed (with some exceptions, sorry x and z)
  • 1973 Illinois crossed the 5 million mark for registered vehicles
  • 1978 was the last year plates were issued annually
  • 1980 was the first year vanity plates were allowed

There's a whole bunch more information in this short video. I highly recommend a viewing.