That was the near-unanimous reaction to a reproduction of a proposed centennial license plate by the state Centennial Commission's license plate committee Monday.The committee meeting was called to give final design approval for a color plate that will go on sale in January with the proceeds intended to finance state centennial celebrations that will culminate on statehood day, Jan. 4, 1996, Utah's 100th birthday.
After spending 90 minutes looking at some 30 silk-screened metal reproductions with varying color schemes, the committee found itself practically back to where it started nearly 18 months ago.
The biggest roadblock was the yellow and orange replica of Rainbow Bridge that dominated the center of the plate.
"It looks like McDonald's arch," said Dee Guess, setting off a spate of Big Mac jokes and references to a Big Mac plate.
"The arch somehow just does not fit in that plate," said state Rep. Don LeBaron, R-Highland.
Max Evans, director of the state division of history, seemed frustrated at the turn of events but agreed more work was needed to make the plate, especially its color scheme, more palatable.
"We want something that emphasizes Utah's unique landscape, and that is southern Utah," Evans said. "If we take out the landscape then we have just another license plate like all the other states."
Other criticisms of the plate focused on the overly symmetrical appearance of the art and the line of blueish mountains running along the top of the plate, giving it a teeter-totter appearance.
There were some positive results from the meeting. The committee reacted favorably to suggestions by Wayne Barron, a 3M Corp. designer who has been working on the final reproduction. 3M has been hired to work out the final design details and coloration scheme.
Barron's rough drawing would move the arch to the far right side using a design based on Delicate Arch, which would reach higher on the plate. The string of mountains would be softened with less-pointed peaks and moved more to the center of the plate, running from the left side and intersecting with the arch. The block UTAH at the top of the plate would be off-set slightly to the left by making the letters narrower. Running across the bottom of the plate is the legend "1896 Centennial 1996."
Barron also said he would work on a color scheme for the arch using a more natural-looking sand color.
The major difficulty is creating the desired scene without affecting the readability of the letters and numbers that will be a dark blue.
Barron said it will take about two weeks to develop the new design. The committee scheduled a meeting for May 13, 10 a.m., to review the new proposals and, with some luck, make a final decision.
The plate will be available at an additional registration cost of $25. Subsequent renewals will add another $10 to the annual license fee for motorists choosing the plate. After the cost of the plate's production is deducted, the proceeds will then go into a fund administered by the state centennial commission. Counties will receive 20 percent of the fee for plates purchased by county residents to fund local centennial events.
The Utah plan is similar to those used in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Colorado to finance statehood centennial celebrations.