Buying a 3D number plate means making important decisions about:

  • What’s on your number plate, and
  • What it looks like.

A 3D number plate is a perfect way of expressing your individuality and it makes the most sense to do this with a personalised plate.

The two go together. Therefore, you should see buying a 3D number plate as a two-part process:

  • Buying your personalised registration number, and then
  • Buying the 3D number plate you’ll use to display it on your vehicle.

Here, we’ll take you through the necessary steps to finding the right plate you’re your car.

1. Set your budget

Personalised number plates come in at all sorts of prices. Essentially there’s no upward limit on what people are willing to pay just for that one special set of numbers and characters.

It’s easy to get carried away, so it makes sense to work out in advance your upper limit.

Also, you need to budget for your 3D plates once you’ve bought the number.

2. Be Flexible in Your Options

If you set out with a defined goal and you’re not prepared to deviate from it, you risk coming away disappointed. You might even be setting yourself up to fail.

We recommend you stay flexible when searching for a personalised registration number.

When you do an online number plate search, you’ll see a whole range of combinations based on the combination of numbers and letters you’ve entered in the search box.

Some of these combinations will be closer to your ideal number plate than others, but some will also be more expensive to buy than others.

The more open you are to variations on your number plate, the more likely it is you’ll find something that works for you.

3. Understand Number Plate Formats

To find a plate that meets your expectations, you need to know what you’re searching for.

In the UK, there are four different number plate formats. The plate you’re looking for must conform to one of these formats:

  • Dateless –pre-1963 plates, consisting of one or more numbers followed by letters
  • Suffix – issued between 1963 and 1983, consisting of a group of letters, followed by a number sequence and a letter at the end
  • Prefix – issued between 1983 and 2001, consisting of a prefix letter, followed by numbers and letters
  • Current – from 2001 onwards, consisting of two location code letters, the numbers showing the year of manufacture followed by a random set of digits.

When you’re looking for a particular arrangement of numbers and letters, the year of the plate will play a crucial part in this.

The more specific you want this arrangement to be, the more likely you’ll need to find an older plate that can provide this.

4. Choose Your Personalised Number Plate Seller

There are various ways of buying a personalised number plate.

You can buy one directly from the DVLA. You can go to a private dealer. Or you can use a broker to source your number plate for you.
The easiest way is to go via the DVLA. It holds regular auctions of personalised registrations.
This way, you know you’re getting your plate from a trusted, reliable source and you can bid for it. If you’re lucky, you might even end up paying less than you anticipated.

5. Register Your Number Plate

Before you can choose a 3D number plate design for your personalised number, you must register it.

Either the dealer who sells you your number should register it for your vehicle, or you must do this yourself.

  • The document for doing this will be either:
  • V750, certificate of entitlement, or
  • V778, retention document.

If you’re buying an existing registration, you’ll require a V778, which gives you the right to assign an existing registration to your vehicle.

If you have a brand new personalised registration, you’ll need a V750. It’s more

6. Select a 3D Number Plate Design

3D number plates comprise raised polyurethane resin characters on a flat, acrylic backing plate.

It’s the gel doming technology behind 3D number plates that gives them their distinctive character.

As well as raising the characters off the surface of the plate for visual impact, 3D number plates can also incorporate various other visual effects, such as:

  • Different coloured character backings
  • Subtle enhancements to the characters themselves.

These options give you plenty of choices for your 3D number plate.

You must make sure your number plate conforms to DVLA rules that apply to the size and spacing of characters and numbers.

The front backing plate must be white and the rear yellow. The faces of the characters on the plate must be in black. The rest you can customise.

Number plate builder

To make it easy for you, we’ve got our online number plate builder. This makes finding your ideal 3D number plate easy.

Remember: you must register your number plate first before you can use your new 3D plates.

If there’s anything you want to ask us about 3D number plates, please get in touch. Call us on 01204 534 333 or email