The three plate designs.

Governor Kim Reynolds has called a DOT graphic artist who’s getting negative online feedback about three proposed designs for new Iowa license plates.

“It’s okay to have an opinion,” Reynolds said today, “but it’s not okay to make ’em personal.”

Christina Anderson said in a recent Facebook post she’s been driven to tears by the comments she’s gotten on social media. During a news conference today at the Iowa State Fair, Reynolds said tax dollars were saved by getting the designs done “in house” at the DOT and Reynolds told reporters called to reassure Anderson that her work is valued.

“I think what people don’t realize is that there were specific requirements that they had to meet when they were designing the plate and so a lot of the public didn’t realize that,” Reynolds said. “They were limited in what they were able to do and I think they did a great job.”

License plates are primarily a means of identifying a vehicle. The DOT’s graphic artists had to reserve most of the plate for the six-digit identification numbers, plus the name of the county in which vehicle owners live. That left room at the top and bottom of the plate for the design elements.

“Across this country, we focus on the negative, but there’s been over 250,000 Iowans that have gone online and registered for which plate that they like,” Reynolds said.

There’s no exact date yet for when one of the three license plate options will be chosen. Last week, the governor said it will be sometime in 2018 when officials begin issuing plates with a new design. Iowa motorists get new license plates once every 10 years.