About Number Plates
Registration plates, licence plates, number plates, they're all different phrases for the same thing - the lettered plastic plaques screwed to your car, van, truck or motorbike. All vehicles need to have them by law, and you can expect a fine or general hassle from your local constabulary if you don't comply with legislation. Unsurprisingly the criteria for a legal number plate is strictly defined, with the rules covering much more than making sure that it accurately displays the vehicle's correct registration mark and making sure you put the yellow one on the back and the white one on the front.
Although we are a nation of car customisers, the scope for adding individuality by changing the specification of your number plate is seriously limited if you want to avoid the attention of the police. There are rules for the size of plates, the font (letter style), the spacing between characters and of course the arrangement of letter and numbers. It is possible to have plates made with special backgrounds, borders and nationality symbols without falling foul of the law, however, that's about as much as can be changed, save for the purchase of private registrations from the DVLA.
Foremost among the laws governing number plates is the requirement that they are made by a government registered manufacturer and that they must be traceable back to the source. Unlike those bought from high street number plate sellers, plates purchased online can be obtained from non-approved sellers without presenting the vehicle ownership document (V5) under the disclaimer that they are sold as "show plates", i.e. not for highway use. In reality this law is seldom enforced although for ultimate peace of mind you should ensure that your online vendor is government registered and the plates are marked with their postcode.