Society of Design Uses Custom License Plates to Lure Jessica Hische Back to Pennsylvania

(Photo: Bill Simone)

Never underestimate the power of license plates (as Cosmo Kramer once reminded us). They did the trick for the Society of Design (SOD). When the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit wanted an effective and memorable way to invite letterer, illustrator, designer, and Daily Drop Captain Jessica Hische to be a part of its 2012-13 speaker series, they looked no further than the Department of Transportation. SOD members researched the state’s custom license plate program (eight characters max, including one space), convinced 34 people to change their vehicle registrations, and mapped out a multi-plate message to Hische, a Pennslyvania native who is now based in San Francisco. After filing and re-filing oodles of paperwork over the course of several weeks, they finally had their invitation, in the form of 27 freshly pressed license plates.

The next step was to take the charming analog project to the digital realm. A website was created (, and called to the attention of Hische via Twitter. “Pennsylvania misses you tremendously,” tweeted SOD to the designer. “Please come home.” Her response was immediate, heartfelt, and, fortunately for those who are now driving around with the plates on their vehicles, in the affirmative. “I am crying at my desk. I’ve never been so touched by a group of people I don’t even know!” Hische tweeted in response. “And the answer of course is YES! I will marry you! I mean come to Pennsylvania.” And she’s bringing presents. Each of the SODers involved with the project will receive a delightful drawing: Hische’s hand-lettered version of his or her name.