Scissortail flycatcher license plate

Oklahoma unveiled its new design for a standard license plate in 2016. BARBARA HOBEROCK/Tulsa World file

Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell’s quest to rebrand Oklahoma includes creating a new look for the state’s standard license plate.

Many Oklahoma residents never liked the current tag unveiled three years by Gov. Mary Fallin.

The white silhouette of a scissor-tailed flycatcher against a sea of aqua hues looks like the Twitter logo; the cascading, pointed mountain range in the background doesn’t resemble any local landscape.

It was bland, abstract and just didn’t look like Oklahoma.

Criticisms also included difficulty in seeing the tag number on top of the image and a lack of any public input in the design process.

Many people felt there was no reason to replace the popular 2009 tag design inspired by Allen Houser’s “Sacred Rain Arrow” statue depicting an Apache warrior shooting an arrow at the sky. That was the winning design after Oklahomans provided comments on 40 possible images, a much more inclusive approach.

We support Pinnell’s plan, which starts with public comment in a tag redesign. It gives a chance for Oklahomans to have a say and affect the overall branding effort.

Projects like this have a way of bringing residents together in the search for symbols of unity.

It’s not lost on us that a new tag will come with a cost. It’s a backdoor tax hike, albeit a one-time bite (until next time).

In 2016, every motorist paid $5 for the new plate. It cost $2.05 to make each tag, and the rest went into the state’s general budget.

Considering how much grumbling there was about the 2016 tag, we can support hitting the reset button.

The process needs to be thorough and long-lasting.

The state needs to get it right this time.

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