The State of Branding: Texas (From Texas Flags to Texas Brands)

Branding

An image of Texas with the words 'State of Branding Texas' in front of it

Contents

33 min read

One quick online search will tell you that there are plenty of posts out there breaking down Texas flags and other unique Texas logos, only none of them are nearly as comprehensive as this.

How could we not go big when everything is supposed to be bigger in Texas?

You see, unlike those other posts, we aren’t limiting ourselves to one particular lane. As long as it has anything to do with Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, we’re going to talk about it.

This includes everything from Texas sports team branding, to university branding, to tourism branding, and so on.

Think of this as a sort of stamp in the back of your passport with emphasis placed solely on branding.

Do keep in mind that this is less of a review and more of a general overview. That said, we will make our opinions known if we feel like something could be improved to make it better.

You should also keep in mind that branding is a lot more than just a logo, meaning we won’t be limiting ourselves to just the visual identity of the brands themselves. While we could do a post like that justice, we’d only be handcuffing ourselves as far as what we could talk about.

If you’d like to learn more about everything that makes up a brand, check out this post right here.

To kick things off, let’s begin with a branding overview of the state itself, before looking at each major city in greater detail.

Texas Branding

Population: 29.1 Million
Capital City: Austin
Time Zone: Central Time (CT)
Abbreviation: TX

We’ll be keeping things consistent throughout this post by going over the flag and seal associated with the location in question before digging a little deeper.

That said, for this section on Texas, instead of looking at other branding examples, we thought it was necessary to look at some key facts instead; key facts followed by a brand-focused ‘did you know’ section.

A Texas flag blowing in the wind

Texas Flag: The State of Branding

The Texas flag is an easy one to spot if you’re up to speed with your flag knowledge.

A little history lesson for you:

The Lone Star Flag, as it’s known, was originally designed by Texas Constitutional Convention delegate Dr Charles Bellinger Stewart and was adopted by the Congress of the Republic of Texas in 1839.

According to sources, Austin-based artist Peter Krag was paid around $10 – the equivalent of $200 in the modern-day – to make a rendering of Stewart’s original work. In short, it’s a flag that has a lot of prestige, not to mention, history.

Like the US flag, the colors found on this flag sport red, white, and blue colors.

Each color represents something different:

  • Red: Purity
  • White: Liberty
  • Blue: Loyalty

We could write an entire post about the Texas flag and its wide-spread appeal, but we’d be here all day and there are other branding examples we’d like to look at.

Sorry guys.

Texas Seal: The State of Branding

The Texas seal is similar to the Texas flag we’ve just looked at in that both have a lot of history that dates back to 1839.

You see, the seal you see today was based on the original seal of the Republic of Texas, which dates back to January of, you guessed it, 1839.

The seal features the Long Star surrounded by a wreath of an olive branch and a live oak branch. Peter Krag – the same Peter Krag that worked on the Texas flag – also made a rendering of this design.

You’ll find the seal across numerous documents, such as commissions for elected and appointed state and local officials.

One of the most interesting things about the Texas seal is that it’s double-sided, and has been since 1991. On the flip side of this seal, you’ll find a five-pointed star, the Battle of Gonzales cannon, Vince’s Bridge, the Alamo, and the six flags that have flown over Texas.

Another thing you’ll find are the mottoes:

‘Remember the Alamo’ and ‘Texas One and Indivisible.’

Key Cities in Texas

Texas has more than 1,200 incorporated cities within the state. Some are a lot larger than others; cities that you would most definitely class as a ‘key city.’

You more than likely have an idea as to what cities we’re referring to (they are in the title of this post), but here’s a list anyway:

  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • San Antonio
  • Austin

Later in this post, we will look at branding related to each of these locations, so stay tuned.

Outside of having large populations, all of these cities are known for a myriad of different things, be it art, culture, business, or a mix of all three (as is the case with Austin). Business being an interesting area, to say the least.

We’ve said this before in our guide to the best incubators in Austin, but one of the main reasons why running a business in Texas is so viable comes down to the fact that there are no income taxes.

A red neon Texas sign

Key Facts About Texas

We know that most of these things don’t relate to branding in Texas, but we thought we’d include them anyway with us talking about the state anyway.

Here are some key facts about the great state of Texas:

  1. Citizens from Texas are called Texans, Tejanos, or Texians.
  2. The state vegetable is the sweet onion.
  3. Texas is the 9th largest economy in the world.
  4. There are more farms and more land in Texas compared to any other state in the US.
  5. Texas is known as ‘The Lone Star State’ because it was once an independent country known as ‘The Republic of Texas’ with its flag containing a single star.
  6. The state flower is the Bluebonnet.
  7. Texas has more than 14 million people in the civilian labor force.
  8. The state song of Texas is called ‘Texas, our Texas.’
  9. The first Seven-Eleven store was opened in Dallas, Texas back in 1827 and was the first convenience store in the US.
  10. Texas has its own power grid, part of which is fuelled completely by one of the world’s largest wind power farms.
  11. In 2021, Texas added 694,000 jobs, making the state a leading jobs creator.
  12. The state shares a border with New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
  13. Texas has the second highest number of Fortune 500 companies in the United States.
  14. The state dish of Texas is chili.
  15. The first shopping center in America was the Highland Park Village in Texas, built in 1931.
  16. Texas is home to ‘Honkytonks,’ a type of bar where they play country music for entertainment.
  17. Dr Pepper was invented in Texas, with the secret recipe hidden in two different banks within Dallas.

Did you Know that the State Motto is ‘Friendship’?

The state-wide motto of Texas is ‘friendship’ which was adopted all the way back in 1930 and has stuck ever since. It’s believed that this motto was chosen due to the Spanish pronunciation of the word ‘Tejas, which stands for the local Indian tribe’s word for friend.

This motto can be found scattered across the state, featuring everything from road signs to marketing campaigns run by local tourism boards.

You’ll find it hard not to visit this beautiful state and not see the word ‘friendly’ or a variation of the term, somewhere. This is common knowledge to locals or anyone that considers themselves a frequent visitor.

Did you Know that Texas is Home to Nearly 1 Million Women-Owned Businesses?

According to Comptroller Texas, women account for nearly half of Texas’ workforce, boasting nearly 1 million female-owned businesses. That’s a statistic that has grown by 146% over the past 20 years and continues climbing.

There are many women-focused incubators and accelerators within some of the key cities for this very reason. And that’s without mentioning the women in business-style events that run throughout the year.

If you’d like to learn more about startup incubators and accelerators in Texas, know that we have a variety of posts to pick and choose from (one we’ve already named above):

Did you Know that Many Top Brands Have Headquarters in Texas?

Various big-name brands have all set up shop in Texas, with a lot of them even going as far as to place their headquarters in The Lone Star State.

Again, the favorable tax situation, the overall business climate, and access to talent are seen as some of the key drivers.

For 20 years in a row, Texas has been the #1 US exporter and exported around $275B in 2021.
– Hartman

Here’s a quick list of the top brands that have headquarters in Texas:

  • Apple
  • Dell
  • Hewlett Packard
  • eBay
  • Oracle
  • General Motors
  • Indeed
  • Tesla
  • VISA

Did you Know that there are 26 Times More Businesses Operating in Texas than in Wyoming?

A recent study from the United States Census found that there were 579,168 employee establishments, or businesses, operating in and out of Texas. Wyoming on the other hand has 20,966, or 27.6x fewer businesses.

That’s an eye-opening statistic that just goes to show how many brands are currently situated within Texas. It’s no wonder everyone’s talking about how it’s all bigger here!

A city skyline of Dallas

Dallas Branding

Population: 1.3 Million
Time Zone: Central Time (CT)
Abbreviation: DTX

There’s a lot to see and do in Dallas if you happen to be a business owner yourself, seeing as the city is a modern metropolis, known to many as a cultural and commercial hub of the region.

That said, it wasn’t always like this. Dallas underwent a period of incredible growth after World War II, resulting in the population tripling by 1970. All of this wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for a dedicated community of people and support provided by the relevant parties.

Dallas Fact: Dallas is home to 21 Fortune 500 companies including Exxon, Mobil, JCPenney, AT&T, Texas Instruments, and others.

The city now ranks amongst the top in a range of markets, from apparel all the way through to furniture. Do you run a business in Dallas? If you do, what line of work are you in, and how would you describe the business climate?

We’d love to hear from you.

You can reach out to us from any of the social media platforms we occupy (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook).

The official flag of Dallas

Dallas Flag: The State of Branding

If you’ve ever wondered if the city of Dallas – or any other city within the great state of Texas has a flag – then the answer is yes, they do.

They all have their own flag, all of which look like variations of the Texas flag in that they all feature a star and use the exact same colors.

The Dallas flag is arguably the most different from the original. It essentially takes the white star, makes it nearly 3x the size, and then places the city seal right in the middle of it.

Layering all of these elements on top of the other does look slightly clunky, but that’s not to say it’s without its charm. Then again, stars are always a tricky one to play around with design-wise – more so when you’re trying to make other shapes around it seem symmetrical.

If we had to rate this flag on its design, it would get a solid 6/10.

Dallas Seal: Another Lone Star

The Dallas seal is very similar to the greater Texas seal we looked at previously, only it doesn’t have another side. This seal features a single star in the middle of a circle, with the words ‘City of Dallas Texas’ wrapping around the outside of it.

Dallas’ seal has gone through multiple iterations leading up to the version you see today. The earliest version of the seal dates back to April of 1871. What you see today was initially revised back in 1904, and has gone through some light amendments over the years.

A lot of these Texas seals are very bright and bold (you might have noticed this yourself). If we’re being completely honest, the colors are somewhat of an eyesore; especially this one.

Still, at the end of the day, the purpose of this seal isn’t to make money.

It’s a piece of history that captures the heart and soul of the location it represents.

Dallas Branding: Cowboys, Flowers, and More

From one end of the branding scale to the other; let’s shift our attention to some mainstay Dallas brands that help shape the state of branding in the city, starting with the Dallas Cowboys.

Two members of the Dallas Cowboys kicking a football
Credit to Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys

What can we really say about the Dallas Cowboys that you might know already if you’re a big sports fan?

That said, if you’re only watching them for their sporting achievements, you might miss just how effective they are at branding themselves.

You see, no sports brand is better at selling themselves to others than the Dallas Cowboys – at least as far as American Football goes.

First established in 1960, this brand has gone from a $60 million valuation to around $5 billion in the modern day, and they’ve done this through carefully executed marketing and a brand that is as air-tight as it gets.

Everything they do has an air of victory about it, which is only helped further through brand partnerships.

Their partnerships with AT&T and the rapper Wiz Khalifa helped them remain current with trends, not to mention keep on top of the latest technology to help make the experience of every fan that much sweeter.

If you’re ever looking for a blueprint for success, just look in the direction of the Dallas Cowboys.

An image of Elm Street Tattoo
Credit to Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum is one of Dallas’ revitalized neighborhoods. What was once a rundown area known for its eclectic jazz music, is now a haven for arts, music, and innovation, the likes of which you need to see to believe.

The branding of this area is no slouch either.

This tourist destination actually has its very own website – a site that breaks down the rich history of the place, beat-for-beat. At the heart of the branding is the community that helps make this area what it is.

The logo and website aren’t anything to write home about, but like the Dallas flag, you can’t deny that it has heart. And emotion sells nine times out of ten as far as branding goes.

Besides, how many tourist destinations like this have an actual website for you to go to?

Not that many by our count.

A DIRT Flowers delivery van parked
Credit to DIRT Flowers

DIRT Flowers

DIRT Flowers is a local florist in Dallas that does things just a little differently in the branding department.

Their branding is quite a clash of styles. The logo and choice of imagery are quite old-fashioned; dare I say, retro. This meshes very well with the very modern approach to website design and some of its other touchpoints.

Branding-wise, DIRT does a stellar job in its sub-brand House of DIRT, a venue hire business that looks to specialize in photography too, from the looks of it.

I’m 99.9% sure that their branding and website were created internally. I can tell as there are a few things an agency would have picked up on. That said, DIRT does more than enough to warrant a space on this list.

A screenshot of the Visit Dallas homepage
Credit to Visit Dallas

Visit Dallas

In case the name wasn’t a giant giveaway, Visit Dallas is the main tourism board for the city. What I like about Visit Dallas is its ability to channel the spirit of Dallas without having to rely on typical branding tropes that you’d associate with most in this lane.

Sure, there is a lone star sitting in the middle of the D in Dallas, but aside from that, they do a pretty good job of not falling for stereotypical conventions that cause more people to roll their eyes than actually take the information in.

They don’t follow the typical Texan colors, their primary color is turquoise which is balanced nicely with a lot of white.

Head over to the website and see for yourself; you’ll find all that branding goodness there.

A city skyline of Houston

Houston Branding

Population: 2.3 Million
Time Zone: Central Time (CT)
Abbreviation: HTX

Did you know that Houston is known as the world capital of space exploration, the world capital of air conditioning, the world capital of the international energy industry, and the world capital of petrol exploration?

That’s a lot of world capitals.

Here’s another interesting fact (emphasis on interesting):

Houston is the only major American city that doesn’t have land-use zoning laws, meaning pretty much anything can be built anywhere. Taxidermy stores next to restaurants, hospitals next to schools, and yoga studios next to electronic stores.

So many possibilities.

This might sound like a complete mess, but I think it adds to the charm of the place, in a sort of ‘anything can happen’ type vibe. It also bridges the gap between communities/brands that wouldn’t otherwise mingle.

The flag of Houston

Houston Flag: A Whole Lotta Blue

The similarities between the Houston flag and the Dallas flag are obvious, to say the least. Both feature an oversized white star complete with a circular shape within the center. That said, there’s a lot more emphasis on blue here; blue and gold.

We have to say, the colors do a standup job in combining with the simplistic design of the flag. Both come together to create this very royal design. It’s easily my favorite Texas flag of the five shown in this post.

This particular design has been in place since 1915 after Mayor Ben Campbell decided that Houston should have its own flag. Major W.A. Wheeldon, a British ex-pat, came up with the winning design.

According to one newspaper clipping from that year, one design idea included an illustration of Houston as a meteor. I for one would have loved to see how that would have turned out!

Houston Seal: An Ode to the Railroad

Houston’s official insignia is also my favorite of all the other seals covered – including the official seal of Texas. When we get to the end of this post you’ll have your own favorites too, unless you already do?

The seal of Houston consists of three main elements:

  1. Lone Star of Texas: Represents the new nation in the west
  2. Gold locomotive: Symbolizes progress and history
  3. Gold plow: Symbolizes Texas agriculture

All three come together to pay homage to how the railways would be used to transport Texas crops to cities around the US. The train has been featured in the seal of Houston since 1840, the year that Houston City Council designed the seal outright.

Everything in this design is weighted perfectly, which is one of the main reasons why I love this seal; that, and the story behind the design is told perfectly through the images alone.

Houston Branding: Rockets, Restaurants, Zoos, and More

With each city, we want to offer somewhat of a mixed back in terms of the brands we highlight. The one constant here is that we will look at one sports team with every major city we cover; everything else we include is a complete free-for-all.

Houston Rockets logo
Credit to Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets

Remember when we said that we wouldn’t pull any punches if we felt like something could be improved to make it better?

Yeah…

For me, this has to be the worst logo in the NBA – a logo that looks better served on the side of an energy drink than an established team in the greatest league in the world for basketball.

Even Glen, our resident NBA expert here at Canny, thinks this feels half-assed; almost like there is a better design out there instead of simply sticking a basketball behind the wordmark and calling it new.

I get that there’s a rocket theme going on here, but this logo looks almost satanic, like something you’d see in an early 00s horror movie poster. The red lines running off the ‘R’ shape look like blood strokes.

The ‘R’ icon clashes way too much with the wordmark in my opinion. Also, is it just me, or does the wordmark seem quite generic?

A screenshot of the Squable website
Credit to Squable

Squable

What do you get when you mix a ball of colorful balls of yarn and food that infuses European fare with American influence?

You get Squable, a brand that has perfected restaurant branding, in our opinion. The laid-back, minimalist approach to branding has helped put this eatery on the map and will continue to expand its reach because of how universal this type of style is.

It might look messy, but isn’t that the point with some restaurants? The food you eat is prepared messy and even eaten messy too. One look on the Squable Instagram page will tell you that.

Speaking of Instagram, the brand does an excellent job of fleshing out the brand through this touchpoint. The captions of all the food images play into that Squably house style, emphasizing the various combinations of meals and colors seen.

Basically, if you’re in the restaurant business and are in need of some simple branding tips, do yourself a favor and get a good look at what Squable is doing.

A mockup of the Houston Zoo with new branding
Credit to Houston Zoo

Houston Zoo

Now here’s a brand we know all too well.

For those not in the know, we covered the Houston Zoo rebrand on the Canny blog a while back. Our response was mostly positive, with us highlighting some of the smarter branding choices that position the brand as more of a preservation type.

Our opinions on the Houston Zoo branding are mostly the same. We’ve actually warmed to it more, if anything, as we did have a few issues with the logo.

If you’d like our full opinions on this particular rebrand, check out the following post.

The front of a building with a Phillips 66 banner in front of it
Credit to Phillips 66

Phillips 66

Phillips 66 is the last Houston brand we’d like to bring your attention to, and with good reason. You see, this ‘energy manufacturing and logistics company’ has changed drastically as time has gone on.

And we don’t mean change as in, updated the logo every few years.

No, no.

What we want to highlight here is how well the brand has adapted to the changes around it as time goes on – changes such as climate concerns and the number of new technologies that now present themselves.

The brand has always existed as a solutions company at heart, providing a high quality of service that benefits people around the world. That was their motto then, and it’s pretty much the same now, albeit altered slightly.

Phillips 66 sticking to their brand values after all this time is telling. It’s probably how they’ve managed to remain in business for so long.

A canal boat floating on a river in San Antonio

San Antonio Branding

Population: 1.5 Million
Time Zone: Central Time (CT)
Abbreviation: SATX

San Antonio is hailed by many as ‘the city of authenticity’ – a place where business opportunities lie just about everywhere if you’re driven enough. At least, that’s what I assume based on what I’ve seen when performing research for this post.

There’s a strong sense of community here which runs deep through its sports teams, local businesses, and anyone else flying the San Antonio flag.

Healthcare and bioscience are seen as one of the main industries of focus in San Antonio – the same applies to aerospace and cybersecurity. That said, I’ve come across many unique brands in the area that doesn’t fit in any of those categories (take Six Flags Fiesta Texas, for example).

The flag of San Antonio

San Antonio Flag: Not a Lot Going On

And the award for the most generic city flag goes to San Antonio.

We kid, of course, but the flag of San Antonio is pretty lackluster. If we’re being completely honest, there’s not a lot going on, which applies to the majority of versions we’ve seen.

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first flag of San Antonio. There have been three versions of the San Antonio flag with the current one used from 1976 onwards.

Again, we understand the history and heritage behind these flags and what they mean to the people of these cities. Still, we can’t help but rate them on the quality of the designs.

We’re a creative branding agency, go figure.

The San Antonio flag was initially drawn by Spanish/American War veteran William W. Herring. He created this design back in 1933 but it wasn’t adopted fully until 1976, where it’s sat as the official flag of the city ever since.

San Antonio Seal: The Cool Police Badge

The San Antonio seal is the polar opposite of the San Antonio flag in that it’s a lot more detailed in comparison. It looks like a cool police badge with the shape of it and the scales located in the center of it.

By the way, can we just say how nice it is to see a seal that isn’t a full circle too?

The seal was designed in 1925 by Johannes C. Scholze, a resident of San Antonio. Scholze actually created a wood carving of the seal in his original design.

The design itself looks complicated, but it actually consists of only a few elements. You have an Alamo at the top, the Lone Stat of Texas in the center with the words ‘City of San Antonio’ accompanying it, and finally, the words “Libertatis Cunabula” which is Latin for “Cradle of Liberty.”

All-in-all, it’s a fantastic insignia; definitely one of the best the US has to offer.

It’s that good (just not as good as the Houston seal we covered before).

San Antonio Branding: Cardinals, Coffee, and Six Flags

If any of you haven’t been to San Antonio before, know that it’s a beautiful place, home to some incredible brands/branding examples (you’ll begin to see why in just a moment).

The logo of the UIW Cardinals
Credit to UIW Cardinals

UIW Cardinals

To make up for the Houston Rockets logo design, we felt like we needed to make up for it with whatever sports team we picked next to look at through our branding lens. Which led us on a path to the UIW Cardinals.

Mascots play a very important part in the brand of a team. Some are either way too wacky or far too simplistic for their own good. The Red Cardinal, on the other hand, is the perfect example of a mascot done right.

The UIW Cardinals is an American football programme for the University of the Incarnate word located in San Antonio, Texas. It began in 2009 and continues to this day as one of the best divisions for up-and-coming talent.

In many ways, the logo design for the UIW Cardinals feels like what the Houston Rockets’ logo should have been. It’s sharp and looks great on branded merchandise, such as hoodies and caps.

Any logo that sits well on branded merch is a win in our book.

red merit coffee house sign
Credit to Merit Coffee

Merit Coffee

Getting your brand value proposition down can be tough, like so tough that it can drive you in constant circles, leading you nowhere fast.

Some make working that out looks so easy, as is the case with Merit Coffee. This local roastery is obsessed with quality. Not only that but delivering happiness to their customers, no matter who they are or where they come from.

They say as much on their website:

“For many of us, coffee means more than a morning jolt of caffeine. It’s an indulgence, a ritual, a small happy moment in the day.

That’s why we keep pace with the rapid evolution of coffee craft and often lead the way. Like you, we care about the taste and quality of the coffee we serve and the hospitality you experience at Merit Coffee.”

The value they offer is placed solely on the customer and the experience they have when interacting with the brand. It might sound like the UVP of most other coffee brands but I really like the way they approach it.

We covered Merit in a previous blog of ours breaking down the best local businesses in San Antonio. Do check that post out as it was a lot of fun to put together and all the brands on that list are more than worthy of your time and attention.

A rollercoaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

How could we have a blog dedicated to branding in Texas and not talk about Six Flags? Or more accurately, Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

This theme park opened way back in 1992 and is seen amongst some residents as the pinnacle in childhood entertainment; a place where both adults and children can roam around and have fun for hours and hours.

But where does it measure up in the branding department? That’s our question.

As it turns out, surprisingly well.

One of the first things I noticed when you head to the website is that the logo at the top of the page is animated. A mini roller coaster does laps around the logo and wordmark, which is a great touch.

The brand colors are also pretty solid too (yellow and red), about what you’d expect for an entertainment brand. A clear highlight here is the typeface, which, to me, has somewhat of a Dr Suess-type vibe to it.

Again, perfect for a theme park.

A closeup of a visitors brochure from Visit San Antonio
Credit to Visit San Antonio

Visit San Antonio

‘Real stories. True experiences.’

That’s the brand statement of Visit San Antonio, the city’s main tourism board. And what a great statement it is.

Tourism branding is a balancing act to get right for the most part; lean too far on one side and the message gets lost – as is the case with other brands in this sector. By leaning on one side, I’m talking about over-simplifying the message, or going the other way and making it far too complicated for its own good.

Again, this is where ‘Real stories. True experiences.’ truly shines. In four words, Visit San Antonio tells you everything you need to know. They tell you:

  • They’re a brand with a personal touch
  • They’re an authentic brand
  • They leverage storytelling (a great branding tool)
  • They’re a brand that cares about community

If you can nail your brand messaging as well as Visit San Antonio, then you should have no problems resonating with your audience both old and new.

Skyline of Austin, Texas

Austin Branding

Population: 965,000 (Roughly)
Time Zone: Central Time (CT)
Abbreviation: ATX

When it comes to branding, there’s no better city to pull examples from than Austin. It’s a city that feels like a state in and of itself, in the sense that it feels like a country in and of itself as far as technology, music, art, and fashion goes.

The city is a tastemaker in every sense of the word too, in that a lot of business trends originate here. Other than the financial element that we’ve already mentioned, why else do you think businesses are so eager to set up shop here?

City of Austin flag

Austin Flag: The Prestigious Lamp

The difference between the flag of Austin and some of the others we’ve covered/are about to cover is night and day.

If we can liken it to something for a second: it looks like a soccer badge from a team playing in a Spanish league. The flag itself consists of a white field with the seal of Austin without the surrounding circle of text.

In case that wasn’t clear, the flag of Austin is essentially the seal, minus the blue circle that typically fills the outline of it.

How we feel about this:

We’re all for recycling what you can and having synergy between branding elements, but there isn’t a lot of distinction (design-wise) between the two?

Yes, flags have a lot of history behind them and you can’t go just ripping up a design when you feel like it. But I can’t help but shake the feeling that there is a better flag design out there for Austin.

Austinites, would you agree?

Austin Seal: Even More of a Soccer Badge

Again, the differences between the Austin flag and the seal are minimal. However, the seal on its own is one of the best we’ve seen, at least from a design level; there’s a lot more going on, essentially.

The seal consists of multiple moving parts. It’s probably best we break them down piece by piece as the seal of Austin is pretty detailed. The seal consists of:

  • Three even vertical strips
  • One blue isosceles triangle
  • Silhouette of the Texas State Capitol
  • A gold cross in front of white and blue wings
  • An orange oil lamp

You might be wondering why there’s an orange lamp in this seal. And we were wondering the exact same until we looked it up. The orange lamp is said to symbolize knowledge and represents the various educational options within Austin, most notably the University of Texas at Austin.

Austin Branding: Dell, UT Austin, and More

Austin is home to some incredible brands, most of whom have moved their headquarters to this great city to follow others in their successful endeavors, as mentioned. So, you can imagine how many unique brands operate out of this space.

A closeup of a Dell laptop

Dell

We name-dropped Dell earlier in this post, so it should come as no surprise that we’re spotlighting them here.

The fact that they have a ‘Brand Identity Standards’ document that is viewable by anyone should tell you everything before we’ve even had a chance to rate Dell’s branding.

The brands m.o is ‘simplification’ in that they want to streamline the typical processes that make life slightly harder. And like the next Austin brand, we’re about to get into, this synergises with everything they do with the brand acting as the anchor.

When your brand is as good and as cohesive as Dell’s, a lot of the work is already done for you, which applies to everything from marketing yourself to new customers, to retaining the ones you already have.

From a design standpoint too, the Dell logo is iconic. We won’t go into a crazy amount of detail, but the fact that there is so much clear space, once again, links back to their mission to streamline – and in their words, “communicate directly and without fluff.”

A screenshot of the homepage of The University of Texas, Austin
Credit to The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin

Overly-complicated names aside, The University of Texas at Austin (let’s just call it UT Austin for time’s sake) is an example of an institution that gets it right.

The way they have positioned themselves is perfect for the brand and its reputation. UT Austin’s branding works so well because everything they do either emphasizes the students or the area of Austin, generally.

Here’s a snippet from the universities’ website:

“Amid the backdrop of Austin, Texas, a city recognized for its creative and entrepreneurial spirit, the university provides a place to explore countless opportunities for tomorrow’s artists, scientists, athletes, doctors, entrepreneurs and engineers.”

Call it what you want, but this is as strong as it gets as far as brand statements go. And, yes, we realize that calling a university ‘a brand’ is strange, but for the context of this blog, it works.

Put it this way:

There’s a reason why UT Austin is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Austin FC badge
Credit to Austin FC

Austin FC

MLS teams have a habit of changing their branding every other week it seems.

What we like about the Austin FC branding is just how appealing the visual branding elements are to look at. The logo design especially is a cut above some of the other teams participating in the league.

Which is no small compliment when you look at the quality of, say, the New York City FC logo.

We’ve covered the branding of other MLS teams, such as the New England Revolution and CT Montreal on the Rebrand Review. We’ll insert one of these videos below if you’d like to check them out.

I’m nitpicking here but one of the only things that lets this down is the name. Teams like Chicago Fire FC and Portland Timbers have proven that you can be a little more, let’s say, charismatic with what you call them.

Austin FC seems like the default option for a better name down the line.

A screenshot from the Tito's Handmade Vodka website
Credit to Tito’s Homemade Vodka

Tito’s Homemade Vodka

A little bit of backstory for you, Tito’s Vodka started out as a micro-distillery in Austin back in 1995. By 2001 it out-brewed the micro-label, becoming one of Austin’s premier choice for locally sourced spirits.

We’re highlighting Tito’s A) as the brand is the perfect example of how to scale your branding as you grow, and B) because credit should go when credit is due.

The brand started out as a small fish in a relatively large pond, making handmade vodka that emphasizes quality, not to mention, a personal touch.

These elements of the brand are still just as strong as they were back in the 90s. The takeaway here is that brands can effectively scale, not sacrifice, and be all the more successful for it.

If Tito’s Vodka had decided to change course and alter the brand drastically, we might not be talking about them right now.

The State of Branding: Texas (From Texas Flags to Texas Brands)

Texas is one of the largest states in America, an area known for its chili, big-ass cowboy hats, folk dancing, and a bonafide who’s who of animals. It’s also a city known for incredible branding, as you now know.

We hope this post has been a branding vacation to remember – one that you’ll one day return to if you find yourself in need of a refresher. Personally, I come back to this post all the time. The city of Austin, in particular, is one of my favorite places in the world, let alone the US.

Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, there’s some beautiful branding showcased across all of these locations; the same goes for some of the smaller cities within the state.

If you had to pick a favorite from our pool of branding examples, which would you choose? Also, which city would you say has the best flag? Or do you prefer the Texas flag?

Let us know via social media.

To sum it all up, I think I see why everyone says everything is bigger in Texas now, at least from a branding point of view.

Wouldn’t you agree?