The State of Branding Florida: Florida Flags and Florida Brands

Branding

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37 min read

Our branding-focused tour of America continues, only this time we’re turning our attention to the countless Florida brands that make this state so, so special.

The state might have a tough job matching up to the various Texas branding examples covered in the previous ‘State of Branding’ post, but we have faith that the Sunshine State will deliver.

If this is your first time reading one of our ‘State of’ blog posts – first of all, welcome – secondly, there are a few things you should really know before our tour begins…

In this series, we get a closer look at the brands occupying a particular state in the US, outlining the history of the branding, the quality of the branding, and anything else we deem relevant.

This is by no means a review of the Florida brands we mention.

That being said, if we feel like something could be improved upon, we won’t hesitate to make our thoughts perfectly clear.

Like with the previous post, we won’t be limiting ourselves to only the logo, dispute the logo being a very important part of what makes a brand.

After all, branding is more than just what you look like; it’s everything that makes you, well, you.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, should we dive straight in?

An image of the skyline of Florida with palm trees towards the front

Florida Branding

Population: 21.2 Million
Capital City: Tallahassee
Time Zone: Eastern Time Zone (EST)
Abbreviation: FL

We’ll be keeping things nice and consistent with every major section of this post with each starting out with a quick summary of the designated seal and flag for every major city within the state of Florida, before moving onto other key branding examples.

Without spoiling too much, the flag designs featured in this post are a lot more imaginative than those we covered in the Texas blog. And that isn’t a political opinion; it’s a design opinion.

Remember folks:

We look at these branding examples through the eyes of a creative branding agency. We have no allegiance to one particular state over another. So when we say we prefer Florida’s flags, that isn’t an attack on any of you Texans that might be reading this.

Again, it’s just an opinion.

The state flag of Florida on a flagpole

Florida Flag: The State of Branding

The Florida flag is a sight to behold.

But it didn’t always look like this. The design you see has gone through multiple iterations as the years have gone by. Between 1868 and 1900, Florida’s state flag consisted only of a white field with the state seal in the center.

It was only until 1900 when Governor Francis P. Fleming suggested that a red cross be added, to ensure that the banner had nothing to do with forming a truce or surrendering.

In the rewriting of the Constitution in 1968, the dimensions were dropped and became statutory language. The flag was then described in these words:

“The seal of the state, of diameter one half the hoist, in the center of a white ground. Red bars in width one fifth the hoist extending from each corner toward the center, to the outer rim of the seal.”

Florida Seal: The State of Branding

The state seal of Florida is another sight to behold.

This insignia is used to represent the government of the state of Florida, and like Florida’s flag, has changed quite a bit from its original design.

As the history books tell it, Florida’s seal was initially actioned back in 1868 thanks to a joint resolution:

“The Resolution specified that the seal had to be the size of an American silver dollar. It also stated that the seal should contain the sun’s rays, a cocoa tree, a steamboat, and a female Indian scattering flowers. These images were to be circled by the words ‘Great Seal of the State of Florida: In God We Trust.'”

Multiple changes have been made to this seal over the years, as mentioned. Changes such as:

  • The Indian woman no longer wears a feathered headdress
  • The mountain in the background has been flattened
  • The steamboat has been altered multiple times
  • The original cocoa tree has been replaced by a sabal palm

The latest revisions took place in 1985, but based on the current design, I can’t see those in charge making any more amendments, at least for the time being.

Why I think that comes down to the overall quality of the current design. I could write an entire blog on what I like about this seal, but what I like most is the artstyle of the current design.

It feels very warm to look at, and doesn’t waste any space in terms of details. There’s a lot going on here but it’s all spread out perfectly!

Key Cities in Florida

Florida is the third most populous state in the United states, with three of its main cities having populations between 10,000 and 100,000 people.

Why is Florida so popular? For starters, the beaches, weather, and outdoor recreational options give residents and tourists a lot to do. For brands, the appeal of running a business in the Sunshine State is varied to say the least.

A growing economy (fourth largest in the nation), a tax advantage over small businesses in some other states, and access to several startup hubs has made the area a sure-fire hotspot for creatives and goal-oriented people.

There are several key cities in Florida we want to mention (we want to mention them as we’ll be looking at branding examples from each state very soon).

When we think of Florida, the following areas come to mind:

  • Orlando
  • Miami
  • Jacksonville
  • Tampa

Do you think of these cities too?

Someone holding a pinbadge in the shape of Florida

Key Facts About Florida

Should we look at some key/interesting facts about Florida?

And, yes, we know that the facts we’re about to cover don’t exactly fit the whole ‘Florida branding’ topic, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting.

  1. Florida has the longest coastline (1,197 statute miles) in the contiguous United States, with 825 miles of accessible beaches to enjoy.
  2. Florida is the boating and fishing capital of the world.
  3. The state of Florida has more than 1,200 golf courses, which is more than any other state in the US.
  4. Florida produces more than 70% of the nation’s oranges
  5. Walt Disney World Resort is the planet’s most visited and biggest recreational resort.
  6. Major industries in Florida include agriculture, aerospace, manufacturing, and information technology.
  7. Nearly 1,000 people move to Florida each and every single day.
  8. Over 5 million speakers of languages other than English call Florida home.
  9. Florida is home to the second-largest foreign trade zone network in the nation with 21 facilities around the state.
  10. Miami International Airport ranks number one in America for international freight shipments.
  11. The state flower of Florida is the orange blossom.
  12. Miami installed the first ATM machine for rollerblades (a weird one, but still a fact).
  13. Key West in Florida has the hottest weather in the US.
  14. Florida is home to the third largest coral reef in the world (the Great Florida Reef).
  15. No matter where you are in Florida, you are never more than 60 miles away from the ocean.
  16. There are no dinosaur bones in Florida as the peninsula was completely underwater during that time.
  17. You must register your car in Florida, even if you only live there part time as per the local law.
  18. The state reptile of Florida is the alligator (no surprises there then).
  19. Florida is home to multiple national parks, including the Everglades National Park, and the Biscayne National Park.

Did you Know that the State Motto is ‘In God We Trust’?

It goes without saying that the state of Florida is very religious, given its official seal and state motto is:

‘In God We Trust.’

Although, the motto has been changed from its original version, which read ‘In God Is Our Trust. The updated motto can be found just about everywhere in America, from the money to messages left on the sides of statues.

Did you Know that there are About 2.8 Million Small Businesses in Florida?

From local bakeries, to tech startups, to barbers, to independent freelancers.

Florida is teeming with small businesses that actually make up around 99.8% of all businesses in the state. They even employ around 3.6 million workers, which equates to around 41.1% of the state’s private-sector workforce.

One of the main reasons for this statistic is the low initial cost to start a business in the state. To be an established Florida brand, all you’re subjected to is a $100 fee to file articles of organization with the Florida Secretary of State’s Office (as well as a $25 registered agent fee).

We should point out that this depends entirely on the exact nature of your company. For example, a tech company might be expected to pay a little more than, say, a dog-walker looking to set up their own brand.

Did you Know that Florida has a Relatively Low Unemployment Rate?

According to Spectrum News 13, Florida’s unemployment rate dipped to as low as 3% earlier this year, and continues to hover around this level following the pandemic. For reference, in 2021, the unemployment rate in Florida was at 4.6%.

What’s more, Monroe County, whose boundaries include the Florida Keys, had the state’s lowest employment rate at 1.5%, followed by St. Johns Country south of Jacksonville at 1.7%.

It’s good news all-round for workers in the Sunshine State it seems, not to mention, the countless Florida brands who also benefit from this.

Did you Know that Publix is Florida’s Biggest Company?

That’s right, Publix, the employee-owned American supermarket chain, who’s headquarters can be found in Lakeland, Florida, is the biggest company in the state; biggest in terms of number of employees, that is.

Which isn’t to burst the bubble of Publix, as this Florida brand is one that comes up a lot when you search for larger-sized businesses operating out of the area.

According to Zippia, Publix has well over 193,000 employees working for them – followed closely behind Darden Restaurants at 178,000, and Jabil with approximately 177,000.

Did you expect a local supermarket to have such power in the sunny state of Florida, or did you know that already? Either way, let us know via social media.

We want your take.

An image of buildings in Orlando

Orlando Branding

Population: 284,000
Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time (EST)
Abbreviation: ORL

Orlando might not be the capital of Florida but it certainly feels like it from the outside looking in – more-so when you look at the types of brands you’ll find here.

Research from Orlando Economic Partnership also suggests that it’s good all-round, for workers and business owners.

According to them, Job growth rate is at 3.3% and it takes roughly 29 minutes on average to commute to your place of work. These statistics might not seem interesting at face value, but they say a lot about Orlando’s current standing as far as employment goes.

Orlando happens to be a very popular location for e-commerce businesses because there are so many unique facets to the city. You have the downtown area where you’ll find nightclubs, restaurants and concerts.

And then you have the tourist area of Orlando known for attracting flocks of tourists each and everyday.

Needless to say, Orlando is booming.

Flag of Orlando

Orlando Flag: The State of Branding

And the award for most-interesting city flag goes to…

The flag of Orlando!

Unlike a lot of other cities/states, Orlando was more than comfortable with taking an established flag and repurposing it for the modern day.

That said, Orlando has only had one flag before this one – a flag that was very similar to the one we have today, only the original looked like something you’d see in a Grand Theft Auto game (the Vice City one, in particular).

The original was created through a design contest back in 1980, which would explain by it’s one of the most 80’s-looking designs I’ve ever seen.

Both versions feature the Linton E. Allen Memorial fountain in the center with emphasis on white and blue lines that split up the background into two distinct sections.

Meaning-wise, the white and blue background is meant to represent patriotism, perseverance, and peace. The fountain was chosen as it’s a recognizable symbol of the city, and its flowing water is said to represent energy and innovation.

What do you think?

I really like it, although, I will admit that I wasn’t thinking of a fountain when I first looked at the Orlando flag. I thought it was a water bottle spraying water out of the end of it.

What do you see?

Orlando Seal: Nature Personified

The seal of Orlando is another great example of city branding. Like the Orlando flag, its seal has a very modern feel to it, featuring very earthy colors and illustrations that you might see in an art museum, let alone a seal for a major city.

The text ‘The City Beautiful’ also helps play into the idealism, painting Orlando as this happy place we all go to when we might feel sad or in need of a break.

I love the lines used to illustrate movements and shadows; they’re a great touch that really helps it shine.

Orlando Branding: Polar Bears, Disney, and More

To keep things interesting we’re going to be picking out random brands that either operate out of, or are associated with each city. That being said, we will include at least one sports team in each section, but will switch up the sport each time.

Doing so will help us offer somewhat of a mixed bag which is a hell of a lot more enjoyable to read compared to us simply parroting the same thing over and over.

Besides, how else are we going to champion the originality of brands across the sunny state of Florida?

Orlando Solar Bears logo
Credit to Orlando Solar Bears

Orlando Solar Bears

If you were to ask us what animal we’d associate Orlando with, I think the last thing I’d say is a polar bear.

That said, exceptions can be made when it comes to ice hockey teams playing in the ECHL. What stands out for me is just how unique the logo is. I don’t think I’ve seen a cooler logo (pun intended).

It’s cool for a few reasons, the most obvious being:

How simple the design is; a polar bear wearing sunglasses, and looking like a badass against a smoking hot sun could have turned out a lot differently.

So props to whoever designed this because it’s badass.

This logo has been in place since 2011 and it still feels new, if that makes sense? The lack of a solid outline is probably the reason for that, which is a design choice seen in countless sports branding these days.

For those unaware, this Orlando Solar Bears logo pays homage to the original hockey club logo that was created in 1995. There’s many ways to describe the old logo but I always liken it to something you’d see on the side of a slushy.

It’s not awful by any means, but it’s very dated.

The updated logo is a significant contrast; again, can’t praise it enough.

Another thing I like is how the colors sync with Orlando City (MLS team) in that both feature a mix of purple and gold. It makes the city a lot more recognizable, regardless of what sport you follow.

A close up of a Mickey Mouse hat from Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World

Don’t pretend like you didn’t see this coming.

You can’t look at Florida branding and not talk about Disney in one way or another. Walt Disney World makes that next to impossible.

An average of 250,000 guests travel daily to and from various parks at Walt Disney World, brought there by over 400 buses, 12 monorail trains, and a fleet of water taxis and boats owned by Disney.

Walt Disney World is one of the most visited theme parks in the world, let alone the United States, for one reason and one reason alone:

It plays into the greater brand experience that lives throughout everything Disney touches.

Brand experiences is what sells for Disney, be it through movies, merchandise, or theme parks. Synergy between all of these things has helped push the brand well into the stratosphere.

Say what you want about Disney, but their branding game is legend tier.

A screenshot of the University of Central Florida website
Credit to University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida

The branding elements used by the University of Central Florida is what originally stood out to us when researching this particular post. By brand elements, we’re referring to icons and other small details that play into your branding as a whole.

You can see these elements for yourself on the homepage of the university.

Not only do they sport the brand colors of the university, but the style of the icons also sit within a similar style to the institution’s logo, which is very shape-heavy.

It’s a fantastic logo too, by the way.

It reminds me a lot of the phoenix logo we designed for TLR Global, one of our many clients in the cybersecurity space.

Anyway, back to the University of Central Florida.

One of the only things that lets the branding down is how inconsistent they are with fonts on the website. Brand guidelines are made for a reason, and dipping in and out of different styles does more to distract visitors than it does grab their attention.

Not sticking to brand guidelines after they’ve been created is a major pet peeve of ours, and the pet peeve of every other creative agency on the planet I’m sure.

Seriously, hours goes into mapping out these guidelines and brands then go and undo it all so easily.

Stick with them people, they exist for a reason.

Earl of Sandwich logo
Credit to Earl of Sandwich

Earl of Sandwich

This might be an odd one to include, depending on your sandwich preferences, but for me, Earl of Sandwich is the best of the bunch as far as taste and options go. I’d highly recommend checking out The Original 1762 sandwich.

It will change your life, guaranteed.

The branding for the brand isn’t bad either; you could call it a cut above when compared to its competition.

I like a few things about the Earl of Sandwich branding, I like:

  • How seamless a sort this type of old-fashioned logo sits on the website and across other touchpoints.
  • The simple nature of the logo on its own, it feels old yet new in the best way possible.
  • The brand story is pretty interesting when you dig deeper into it.

Never underestimate the power of your brand story.

A big reason why I, and many others, visit Earl of Sandwich is down to this story. Sure, the great tasting food helps, but to feel like a part of history is a pretty cool selling point.

You see, the brand story for this Orlando restaurant franchise is very well done, and clearly fabricated to help push the brand further than most might be willing to take it.

According to the Earl of Sandwich, they invented the sandwich, and have been eating sandwiches as far back as 1762. It all began when the 4th Earl of Sandwich asked for a serving of roast beef to be placed between two slices of bread so he could eat with his hands.

It sounds preposterous on its own, but it adds so much to the brand from an awareness standpoint.

“Hey, did you know that the Earl of Sandwich invented sandwiches, maybe we should check them out?”

While factually incorrect, I can guarantee that people are having these types of conversations. The lesson here is that your brand story can be anything you want it to be, as long as it makes sense to you.

A birds eye view of Miami, Florida

Miami Branding

Population: 461,000
Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time (EST)
Abbreviation: MIA

Miami, known for Tom Sellick’s vibrant shirts and its lavish beaches. It’s also a major center and leader in finance, commerce, culture, arts, and international trade.

Miami is sometimes called the “Gateway to Latin America” due to the magnitude of its commercial and cultural ties to the city.

The metro area, in particular, is by far the largest urban economy in Florida and the 12th largest in the US, with a GDP of $344.9 billion. According to one study, Miami is said to be the second richest city in the United States, and third richest globally as far as purchasing power goes.

In other words, the city is full to the brim with business opportunities, and home to countless successful entrepreneurs and brands.

Flag of Miami

Miami Flag: No, Not the Flag of India

Welcome to the club if you thought this was the flag of India because I thought the exact same thing. Apparently, the similarities between the two flags are just mere coincidence; it’s not meant to represent India in any way.

The orange and green are said to be the colors of the orange blossom, a flower that is native to South Florida. Why the colors have been arranged in such a way is beyond us.

This flag was implemented in 1959, 12 years after India started using its own flag. So by that logic, Miami should either be putting together a pretty good apology or get ready to pay an entire country for plagiarism.

I’m joking, just in case any of you take that last statement literally.

A vocal majority of Miami residents have been advocating for a flag change for quite some time, whether or not they’ll get that change remains to be seen.

Miami Seal: Laid Back in the Best Way

If the seal of Miami looks familiar, that’s because it’s the same image located in the center of the Miami flag – only sporting different colors.

Blue and gold are the only colors used here, which, to be fair, work really well as the only colors used; blue being the color most associated with the ocean, and gold the color of wealth.

It’s a very rich-looking seal, one that has a sort of regal feel to it – which isn’t always the case with city seals.

The majority of them are either painfully generic, or stuck in the same design that go back decades.

Do I prefer it over the Orlando seal, though? That’s the question.

It’s close, but that Orlando flag is just something else.

Miami Branding: Heat, Hotels, and More

Let’s kick this section off in a big way, by getting a good look at how the Miami Heat leverages social media to sell its brand effectively.

Three players from the Miami Heat
Credit to Miami Heat

Miami Heat

We could have chosen the Miami Dolphins as the sporting team we analyze, but how could we when a team like the Miami Heat exists?

James Posey, Jamal Mashburn, Eddie Jones, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Alonzo Mourning, and Dwyane Wade, this team is a dynasty in every sense of the word – even if they have the odd stinker from time-to-time.

On the branding court, they’re one of the very best teams in the NBA. Everything from the logo to how they carry themselves on social media, it’s in a league of its own.

In short, Miami Heat’s social media game is flawless.

It’s flawless because brand is at the heart of everything they publish, be it videos of new signings, merchandise promotion, or reminders of upcoming games; all of it is with the brand in-mind.

We’ve included a Tweet below for reference:

Look at the hashtag used and the flame emoji. Both play into the brand that the Heat has established. You might think of these things as minor in the grand scheme of things, but all of it has a role in selling the brand and separating it from others in the league.

Again, there’s only one Heat.

A screenshot of the Goodtime Hotel website
Credit to The Goodtime Hotel

The Goodtime Hotel

This is hotel branding like you’ve never seen before. Introducing, The Goodtime Hotel in Miami, Florida – a hotel known to many for its city skyline views and pastel colors, but also, for its unique approach.

You see, The Goodtime Hotel doesn’t rely on traditional tropes to sell its services. No, no, it relies on having a different mindset to how they brand themselves.

This brand statement of theirs should tell you everything you need to know:

“The goodtime hotel is based on a simple state-of-mind: having a good time. It’s a place where we come together and share experiences. From meditation that calms the mind to music that transports the soul to food that stimulates the spirit, stay with us and get lost in the moment.”

One other thing we have to praise this extraordinary hotel on is its website and logo. The logo is incredibly simplistic, made up of several shapes. The website, on the other hand, is a complete tour de force.

Honestly, head over there for yourself and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

A screenshot of the REEF Technology website
Credit to REEF Technology

REEF Technology

For those who have never heard of REEF Technology, this Miami brand is a small-scale logistics company that aims to help companies make deliveries faster and become closer to companies.

What’s more, the company works to transform underutilized urban space into useful space, offering solutions for challenges such as parking, healthcare, retail, and urban farming.

Essentially, they do a lot of interesting things, which is what initially put them on our radar, what with us having helped countless tech brands in the past through our services.

Branding-wise, REEF definitely has a lot going on, mostly good, although there’s one thing we’d change, and that’s the logo. Get a good look at the screenshot we’ve taken of the REEF website above.

Notice anything interesting about the logo compared to other text on the page?

Allow us to fill that gap for you:

It’s a little too basic for the quality of everything else on the site, at least for me. This might have something to do with the text sitting so close to the bold ‘Connecting the World to Your…’ statement at the top, but I just feel like there’s a better design out there.

Especially when the illustrations, brand colors, and other typefaces work so well!

A screenshot of the Komodo website
Credit to Komodo

Komodo

A taste of Southeast Asia in Miami, who’d have thought it?

Not me, and yet this is but one example of the various businesses that have opened shop in the city with it having so many benefits for aspiring entrepreneurs and business professionals.

What I’d like to direct your attention to with this particular Florida brand is its logo, to talk about the quality and subtlety of its design. Now, some of the letters shown here are pretty standard and something you’ll find in similar restaurant branding.

Others give so much personality to the brand simply by tweaking a few slight things to give it some edge. Look at the slight differences in the ‘K’ and ‘M’ letters.

Parts of these letters have been slightly adjusted to make for something a hell of a lot more memorable, not to mention, visually appealing.

Props to whoever designed this logo; it’s fantastic.

An image of a bridge in Jacksonville, Florida with the city in the background

Jacksonville Branding

Population: 902,000
Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time (EST)
Abbreviation: JAX

Located on the Atlantic coast of Florida, Jacksonville is the largest city by area in the contiguous United States, and has been since 2020 when it was officially declared the title.

Like Miami and Orlando, the area holds a special place as far as branding and business go. It’s home to hundreds of thousands of unique companies – 3 of which are Fortune 500 Companies in FIS Global (more on FIS later), CDX, and Fidelity National Financial.

The local economy aside, Jacksonville boasts the largest urban park system in the nation. It’s actually 4x the size of the island of Manhattan, if you can believe that!

Aside from that, Jacksonville is also known for its rich culture and tourist attractions – attractions like the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Ritz Theater and Museum, and Huguenot Memorial Park.

In other words, you can work hard and play hard in this bustling city!

Jacksonville flag

Jacksonville Flag: Giddyup One and All

If you were to point on a map where you think cowboys would linger in America, we’d bet our bottom dollar that you wouldn’t say Jacksonville – or anywhere in Florida, to be fair.

And yet, the flag of Jacksonville has a cowboy on there, riding high as the sun blares in the background.

Fret not if you don’t understand the meaning as we’re about to go into it.

The flag of Jacksonville was adopted way back in 1976. Its designer, Don Bozeman, won a contest that would decide the flag, with the original design running from 1914 to that year.

The original design had some interesting ideas, but it did feel slightly slapped-together at the last minute (again, just a design opinion, so save your angry comments for the end).

Who is the cowboy on the updated flag? You might be wondering. According to Jacksonville City Council, this is the silhouette of Andrew Jackson, taken from a bronze statue in the downtown urban core.

He represents the city’s history and namesake, with the sunburst representing the bright future of the city. The map silhouette of the city/country – one that shows the St. Johns River through it – shows the consolidated community and the large impact of the river.

The orange color refers back to the Sunshine State of Florida.

Jacksonville Seal: Much of the Same

There isn’t a lot to say about the seal of Jacksonville as it sports the same design as the Jacksonville flag, for the most part.

The only difference is it’s circular, and the Andrew Jackson statue is shown in full, not just the silhouette.

It’s what you’d expect a city seal to look like in terms of how it’s weighted and the font that runs around the edges.

Put it this way, it’s not my favorite out of all the other city seals I’ve looked at in this post.

Jacksonville Branding: Wrestling, Airports, and More

One quick stop in Jacksonville on our Florida branding trip, and it’s straight onto Tampa!

How have you found this post thus far? Are you enjoying it?

We hope you are.

The Young Bucks performing the BTE Trigger to John Silver
Credit to AEW

AEW

If there’s one thing you should know about me, and Tony, the founder and director of Canny, it’s that we love the sport/art of pro wrestling, with AEW being our go-to promotion.

All Elite Wrestling happens to be the wrestling company of one Tony Khan, known to most as the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both brands have a significant following in the area with AEW being, arguably the biggest, at least internationally.

Branding-wise, there’s a lot, I could highlight with AEW, but the main thing I want to highlight is their knack for nailing brand partnerships, which is tough to do in the wide-world of wrestling without coming across as too corny, or too forced when compared to everything else on the show.

In the past year or so, the company has worked alongside some real heavy-hitters to deliver some incredible moments.

They had some of their wrestlers promote the latest Space Jam movie by having them all dress up in Tune-Squad-inspired gear, they promoted Cracker Barrel with a sponsored match where Darby Allin – one of the craziest people on planet earth – jumped onto another human being wearing an actual barrel, and so on.

This might sound crazy, but AEW’s approach to indirect marketing is in a completely different league; only the wrestling industry could get away with it, which is one of the main reasons I love watching it so much.

It’s a spectacle where anything and everything can happen; even when it comes to partnerships..

If you also like wrestling and want similar content from us, check out our breakdown of the updated NXT logo as part of our Rebrand Review series that’s up on YouTube.

Spoiler Alert: It sucks, and is proof that just because you can create something in-house, doesn’t mean you should.

Alewife logo
Credit to Alewife

Alewife

The rustic DIY aesthetic of the next Florida brand on our Jacksonville list made them near impossible to ignore.

If there’s another thing you should know about me – other than my love for wrestling – it’s that I love my craft beers and whiskeys. Call me a hipster all you want, but these things genuinely put a smile on my face.

Alewife craft beer bottle shop and tasting room do a lot of things right, from its ability to promote itself and various beer tastings – to how it utilizes Instagram to build hype and generate more interest.

Still, there’s one issue I have with the branding for Alewife, and that’s the broomstick featured on the logo.

To me, the logo would be better served by shuffling a few of the elements around; move the broom underneath and bring the text up to where the broom is, but make the text smaller.

Or better yet, do without the broom in its current form, maybe replace the ‘l’ letter with the broom?

I’m spitballing here, but you get the idea.

What do you think of the broom? Do you feel like it’s placed perfectly, or should it be moved elsewhere (or taken away permanently)? Give us your take via social media.

A screenshot of the Jacksonville International Airport website
Credit to Jacksonville International Airport

Jacksonville International Airport

We haven’t looked at any airport branding in this Flordia brands post, so let’s switch things up a little and look at the Jacksonville International Airport, shall we?

If there’s one thing we love at Canny, it’s brand consistency, and brand consistency is exactly what you get with JAX. From the website, to social media, to emails, everything aligns perfectly.

Yes, this isn’t the greatest airport branding in the world, but the fact that it remains consistent would put it ahead of the best branding, if that other branding wasn’t completely coherent across all touchpoints.

Consistency sells, remember that.

Another thing I like about the JAX branding are the variations of the logo depending on what site you’re on. Every airport system has its own unique color on the logo, which once again, plays into that consistency factor.

Here’s a quick rundown of the colors for anyone interested:

  • Jacksonville International Airport (JAX): Blue
  • Herlong Recreational Airport: Red
  • Cecil Airport: Orange
  • Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA): Rainbow

A screenshot of the FIS website
Credit to FIS

FIS

You can tell that innovation plays a significant part in the brand identity of FIS Global, a multinational corporation headquartered in Jacksonville known for its work with Google, Disney, Twitch, and Amazon.

The language they use tells us that instantly:

“Advancing the way the world pays, banks and invests.”

“The innovative way to innovate in fintech.”

“Our business is powering business.”

It’s true, almost every business (in and out of Jacksonville) will use the same language to an extent. But what I like about FIS Global is they take it a step further, adding a personal element to any and all statements.

Tech brands like FIS succeed because they’re willing to try something new and aren’t going to settle for standardized codes and conventions. We’ve said this before in a previous post, but just because you’re in the B2B sector, doesn’t mean that your branding needs to bore people.

A shot of the Tampa city skyline

Tampa Branding

Population: 395,000
Time Zone: Eastern Daylight Time (EST)
Abbreviation: TB

Welcome to Tampa everybody, the last spot on our branding tour of Florida.

We’ve seen some incredible sights along the way, but we’ve yet to touch on this beautiful city and the various brands that call this place home.

“We visited multiple cities and were won over by Tampa’s business-friendly environment and growing tech ecosystem. We’re excited to plant roots in Tampa and grow our operations from this vibrant community.”
– James Ontra, co-founder and CEO of Shufflrr

Tampa has a national reputation for its stable, pro-business environment. Favorable corporate tax policies, lower operating costs, no personal income tax, light regulatory burdens, and thriving industries make it the perfect place to establish a brand – or re-locate – and succeed.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a quick rundown of quotes from the media:

  • Forbes named it the number one emerging city for tech in 2021.
  • Tampa was named the best state for business in 2021 by Chief Executive Magazine.
  • WalletHub named Tampa the tenth best place to start a business.
  • Tampa was named the fourth best state for having the best business climate by Tax Foundation.

You get the picture.

Flag of Tampa

Tampa Flag: Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

I don’t think I’ve ever come across a flag quite like this; it’s actually quite a refreshing change of pace if I’m being honest with you. You see, this is one of only a few non-quadrilateral flags in use.

Meaning it doesn’t follow your traditional flag shape.

There’s a lot (and I mean, a lot) going on with this flag – maybe to its detriment; it’s like there were three different styles, and rather than decide on one, all three were mashed together and this is the end result.

In the middle, the gold and red striped section is supposed to represent the flag of Spain who had a large part in both Tampa and Florida’s history with the Spanish exploration. Other nations are also represented here, with France and Great Britain receiving a nod.

Like with other city flags, in the center here is the city seal. The fact that the seal isn’t right in the center is a bit frustrating, but again, this flag is different.

It has a complete mind of its own.

We hope you got the movie reference in our heading, by the way. If you haven’t seen that movie, do so.

It’s incredible.

Tampa Seal: A Very Unique Type

One of the main things that sticks out to me about this Tampa seal is the typeface. It’s different; probably because it was made in Italy in the 1920s by one Val Antuono, Sr.

In the center of the seal is a historically inaccurate depiction of the steam shop Mascotte, which was owned by Henry B. Plant, and was named after the operetta La mascotte by Edmond Audran.

The ship helped transport thousands of immigrants and regular shipments of clear Havana tobacco to Ybor City and West Tampa, helping the city become the Cigar Capital of the World.

Not a lot else is known about the seal, other than it was created in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Tampa Branding: Bandits, Boards, and More

For one final time, let’s look at some unique Florida branding that stood out to us.

Tampa Bay Bandits logo
Credit to Tampa Bay Bandits

Tampa Bay Bandits

I’ve chosen this particular Florida brand for one reason and one reason only:

How freaking cool the logo design is.

This American football team has one of the best logos I’ve seen in a long time, hands down. Everything from the stylised type, to the very sleek cowboy, to the blood-spray-esque color; it all comes together to create something that I can’t look away from.

Maybe I’ve been playing way too much Red Dead Redemption 2, but this logo rules.

A screenshot of the Visit Tampa Bay website
Credit to Visit Tampa Bay

Visit Tampa Bay

It’s easy to believe that once you’ve seen one example of tourism board branding that you’ve seen them all. Still, I bet you haven’t seen anything quite like this.

Introducing Visit Tampa Bay, one of the major tourism brands in the city, and a brand setting the bar pretty high when it comes to branding in this field. Put it this way, no other tourism board in the state looks as good as they do.

It’s the logo and type that really sells it for me; a shout out goes to the brand colors used too. The yellow keyhole and crosskeys mixed with the sleek type create a feeling of local pride.

It’s a logo that looks even better in person. Head to any Visit Tampa Bay location in person and you’ll find a blown up version of the logo just sitting outside. Another thing I like about the logo is how it plays on the brand statement:

“The key to life is adventure.”

It’s simple yet so effective.

Tourism brands, take note.

A screenshot of the University of Tampa website
Credit to The University of Tampa

The University of Tampa

While many might disagree with us, we would class a website as a significant part of one’s own brand.

Which is why we’ve put The University of Tampa on our list here. However, our opinions here are mostly negative (sorry UT, but it needs to be said).

The website is in no way a true reflection of this incredible institution. It feels a lot like one of the templates you find from Wix, with a very generic layout and font style. Okay, one more as we don’t want to rip on them too much:

It looks like a blogger site from the early 2010s.

It’s a real shame because other parts of the branding are so good. ‘Work hard. Play here.’ is a fun/memorable statement but is let down by the quality of the website.

We could do some very interesting things with this if given the chance. If anyone from UT is reading this, do get in touch.

Bloomin' Brands brand styleguide
Credit to Bloomin’ Brands

Bloomin’ Brands

Last, but by no means least on our list of Florida brands we have Bloomin’ Brands, a restaurant holding company that owns several casual dining restaurant chains across Tampa.

As of last year, chains that the company owns and/or operates include:

  • Aussie Grill by Outback
  • Bonefish Grill
  • Carabba’s Italian Grill
  • Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
  • Outback Steakhouse

It’s clear that giving back to the local community is ingrained within this brand, be it through charitable contributions, political contributions, or brand partnerships with other brands such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Most brands struggle to retain that sense of locality as they grow, but Bloomin’ Brands has been around since 1988 and continues to keep its feet firmly planted in Tampa.

The State of Branding Florida: Florida Flags and Florida Brands

How many Florida branding examples have we covered in this post? I’ve lost count, we’ve covered that many! We hope you’ve found this post as educational as it was entertaining – at least from a branding perspective.

And again, please don’t take out opinions on some of the Florida flags mentioned above as a form of attack.

We looked at everything through the eye of a creative branding agency; which is what we are in case you were wondering. We help brands around the world connect with their customers in ways their competitors can’t, with branding being a major component of that.

That being said, if you have an alternative opinion on any of the Florida branding examples covered – or feel like we’ve missed out anything that was worthy of a mention – feel free to let your voice be heard via the social media platform of your choosing.

We’re on all the main channels.

Who knows where we’ll end up in this State of Branding series next, although I heard through the grapevine that Colorado might be next.

So stay tuned.