06/08/10 11:08am

Whose idea was it to make the new standard-issue Texas license plates look like cheezy souvenirs from some island celebration vacation? Well, this should fix that: Here’s Houston graphic designer Craig Minor’s new no-nonsense version, intended to look especially sharp below the front grille of one of those mean wader pickups comin’ right atcha. And hey look, it’s bilingual!

Minor’s Texas plate redesign was commissioned by Fast Company blogger Ken Carbone, a mean graphic designer himself. But it isn’t just Texas’s new plates he’s picking on — recent license-plate design is namby-pamby all over. He groups recent plate designs into 3 categories: the acceptable, the unfortunate, and the “so bad it’s good.” Carbone showcases his own improved version for New York, and gets other designers to draw up improvements for Illinois and California: