By Nicholas Sterling
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
A new license plate design for the state of Maryland is now available for purchase.
The design shows off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and a blue crab – each integral symbols of the state. This is the third time that Maryland’s license plates have highlighted a “bay” theme in 28 years, officials said.
Tina Cardosi and Sujen Buford of TM Design Inc. are the creators behind the plates, which the Maryland Department of Transportation selected out of 250 proposed designs.
Cardosi, who has owned TM Design since September 1995, said she knew instinctively what should adorn the state license plate.
“First, I knew that a blue crab should be the focus,” said Cardosi. “After all, everyone knows Maryland is for crabs! Second, the Bay Bridge is the gateway to vacation in the state of Maryland.”
Cardosi said she wanted the blue crab and the Bay Bridge to be framed by bright blue sky and water and envisioned “a more realistic style of illustration.”
“By portraying the beauty of the Chesapeake in a life-like manner, it draws you in to evoke a feeling from your Bay experiences and desire to go to the water,” she continued. “The vivid colors and crisp, detailed illustrations come together to form a unique and memorable plate that will represent one of our state’s most important aquatic and land resources – the Chesapeake Bay.”
Cardosi, who majored in graphic design at the University of Maryland, College Park, said TM Design has won more than 70 awards for projects relating to logos and annual reports. Buford, who has worked at the Frederick firm three years, has a bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts in graphic design from The Art Institute of Washington.
Erin Valentine, spokesperson for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, said the new plates were necessary.
“We have more tools now in design and in determining what Marylanders want to see in a license plate, so we have the power now to appeal to an even broader group of Marylanders who want to show their pride in Maryland and the Chesapeake,” Valentine said. “Greater appeal will ensure that even more communities have the resources they need for projects that will improve and protect our environment and the Chesapeake Bay.”
The plates are expected to be popular. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration said that 7 percent of vehicles in Maryland have the Chesapeake license plate on their car and another 12 percent of families have at least one of the Chesapeake plates. To upgrade to the new design, motorists will have to pay $20.
Officials said that all funds raised from registration will go straight to the Chesapeake Bay Trust, which is a nonprofit, grant-making organization that aims to improve watersheds throughout the Chesapeake region. The Trust has been linked to the bay plate since 1990 when the design was first created, said Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Other ways to donate to the Trust are through the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund, which appears on the Maryland State income tax form.
Davis said funds raised from the bay plate benefit about 400 organizations.
“The Bay Plate is the backbone of the Trust’s revenue portfolio, and allows us to make the grants we make,” Davis said. “We keep a small portion of the funds to run our office – keep the lights on, pay rent, etc., but 92 cents of every dollar from Bay Plates, the Trust manages to support our programs and the grants.”