Number Plate Font and Spacing

What are the number plate font rules?

As of 2001 when the current style registration number was released, the DVLA introduced new rules and regulations enforcing a font that had to be universal across all number plates going forward, something which had not been in place previously.

All number plates must not display the standard typeface of Charles Wright 2001. It is no longer valid to have multiple stroke, italic fonts or any other combination as these are considered hard-to-read. The only variation of the number plate font that is now permitted is a 3D effect version of the Charles Wright 2001 typeface.

What are the number plate spacing rules?

As well as the font being mandatory, so is the size and spacing of the characters.

The specifications for the spacing and sizing are as follows:

Each character must be 79mm high and 50mm wide, this excludes the number 1 or the letter I.

The width of each character stroke must be 14mm.

There must be a space of 11mm between characters within the same group.

Character groups must be separated by a gap of 33m.

In order to measure these dimensions whilst also taking into account the fact that each character is a different shape, each character is treated as having the dimensions of 79 mm x 50 mm except the number 1 and the letter I.

Other Number Plate Rules

Drivers are optionally allowed to display a select few national emblems as an additional feature to a number plate.

The permitted emblems are as follows:

British Union Flag with “GB”

English Flag, St Georges Cross with “ENG”

Scottish Flag, St Andrews Cross with “SCO”

Welsh Flag, Red dragon on green/white field with “Wales” or “Cymru”

Euro Flag, Circle of stars with “GB”

The British standard for number plates is currently BS AU 145d. This sets out the characteristics of the number plate including visibility, strength and reflectivity. The plate itself should feature the number BS AU 145d as well as the name and postcode of the supplying organisation.

As well as this the front plate must feature black characters on a white background while rear plates must have black characters on a yellow background.

A non-reflective border is optional.

Motorcycles registered post 1st September 2001 must only display a yellow rear number plate, again with a black font.

Traditional number plates for vehicles made before 1st January 1973 are permitted to display black and white/silver number plates. As of 1st April 2019 vehicles registered pre 1979 will also be able to display these plates however they will have to both apply to the DVLA to do so and also be taxed under the historic vehicles tax class.