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This is my first question here. I hope my question wasn't out of context. I want to know what font is used in California license plate header. The word "California" I mean. It would be great if you can recognize main font too.

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Thanks in advance.

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There's a decent free replica of the main font used for the plate numbers called Penitentiary. – Lèse majesté Feb 29 '12 at 15:49
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Although it is similar to Mistral and Brush Script, my guess is that it's a custom font.

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Very similar but still different. Specially in "C" – Mohsen Aug 19 '11 at 23:50
Agreed. The "a" is also different, and in fact both the "a" and "i" use different glyphs in the repeated letters in "California". As I said, I think it's a custom font. :) – ghoppe Aug 19 '11 at 23:52
I would have guessed it was a custom font as well, until APS221 mentioned Rage. I was skeptical at first, but after comparing the glyphs, I 99% sure he's right. – Lèse majesté Feb 29 '12 at 15:44

The font is Rage. Of course, the tail on "a" at the end is extended.

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Not sure why this was downvoted. There definitely seem to be some striking similarities. Specifically, the "C", "f" and "n" are spot on, and most of the other characters seem only slightly off. It's very possible the designer used Rage Italc and the modified it to give it a more hand-written look. If you don't believe me, go to MyFont and type in "California" for the sample text. – Lèse majesté Feb 29 '12 at 15:38
This is virtually identical to the plate, excepting perhaps the f being shorter and the a having a tail. The a actually looks tacked on manually because it does not touch the r. – horatio Feb 29 '12 at 16:02

It's not a font! Look at the a's and the i's. Remember these license plates were created when computers did not even exist (at least, not for the crowds…). If you really need it, you will have to trace it in a vector design software (Illustrator, Inkscape,…) or maybe someone already did it and share it on the web!

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These made when computer exist. The old plates are different. You are right. This is not a font. But it's possible to have different chars depended on next and previous characters in a font in UNICODE. Look at these, are all same character ه هـ ـهـ, I don't know if it's possible in English too or not. But there something called Arabic Chars – Mohsen Aug 23 '11 at 23:14
Sorry i was wrong, a quick web search and i discovered that this lettering was not so old! But the feature you're talking about is more modern: it is called "contextual substitution" it has nothing to do with Unicode, it's one of the many features of OpenType fonts (OpenType was created in the late 90's!). It works with every language over the world but, for sure, was a great improvement for arabic scripts and calligraphy lovers! – maesehn Aug 24 '11 at 18:13
+1 for the excellent follow-up comment. – Farray Aug 24 '11 at 21:23

Penitentiary Gothic | 2003, Andrew Leman and Richard Lucas, commercial.

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That is a lookalike for the licence numbers/letters of course, not "California". – e100 Nov 1 '12 at 13:40

Rage Italic is the font that is on the California plate

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Welcome to GD.SE! Some of the glyphs are modified to flow better and accommodate the plate numbers, but yes, this is the correct answer. Do the plates keep those rough edges, or is that another modification? – Brendan Nov 18 '13 at 13:54

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