Order A Plate
Almost every Seder Plate I've ever seen arranges the six items in a circle, in a specific order that seems to be nobody's minhag (custom). I've asked Rabbis and looked at various Haggadahs and nobody seems to have the minhag to arrange them the way all the plates are made, not Sephardim, not Ashkanazim, not Litvaks and not Chassidim. How come?
Dear Joshua Tree,
Funny you should ask. Just the other day I went to a mikveh to immerse a new vessel, and I bumped into a friend who was immersing a Seder Plate he had just bought in Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood. His Seder Plate was engraved in Hebrew letters with the name of each item and its place on the plate. With a wry grin, my friend showed me the message printed on the back of the box that his Seder Plate came in: "Made in China!"
Anyway, there are three major customs regarding the placement of the items on the Seder Plate. My friend's Seder Plate correctly followed one of them, the custom of the Arizal.
Perhaps the plates you've seen were made by artists with an eye more for aesthetics than tradition.