Located along the Gulf of Mexico on the west central coast of Florida, Tampa Bay is an area that encompasses various cities with the biggest one being Tampa. It’s a popular destination with multiple entertainment attractions like Busch Gardens and Legoland, major league sports teams — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL), and Tampa Bay Rays (MLB) — and a number of museums and historic neighborhoods like Ybor City. But Tampa Bay has heavy competition from other Florida destinations like Orlando and Miami, so Visit Tampa Bay (formerly Tampa Bay & Co.), an independent not-for-profit organization that “leads the effort of economic development through tourism” has introduced a new tourism brand to elevate the status of Tampa Bay. The identity has been designed by Tampa-based Spark.
We leveraged the spirit of adventure and exploration that arrived here with Tampa Bay’s first visitors to create a brand that is bold and daring.
The logo is heavily inspired by iconic Tampa Bay landmarks (University of Tampa, Bayshore, Ybor City) and traditions (Gasparilla). And the tagline of “Treasure Awaits.” hints at all the discoveries to be made in Tampa Bay. The new brand is an invitation to vacationers, business travelers and residents to unlock Tampa Bay’s fearless spirit. It’s a brand that makes us all proud to call Tampa Bay home.
The old logo, well, you can see it, right? No need to beat a dead horse. At the potential of making you all wonder if I’ve lost my mind I’ll make this claim upfront: the new logo is brilliant. I (and we all) chide destination brands for being too generic and not specific enough to the history or attributes of the place it’s branding but this one is so relevant and appropriate it sets a bar. When I first saw the logo I immediately thought of their NFL team, the Buccaneers. Pirates. Skull and crossbones. The connection was instant. The bones are made up of large keys, appropriate for a city and state with rich colonial history. The skull is a keyhole — which is the only point where the logo (and the application in the video) get a little corny and annoying — that pays off on the use of the keys. Together they form a bold icon that looks fantastic on a t-shirt and establishes Tampa Bay as a contemporary and playful city. I don’t care much for the custom, Museo-ish typography but it gets the job done. There aren’t a lot of applications yet, but this looks very promising, especially with the glimpses of the hand-scrawled typography. Ahoy!
Thanks to Nick Irwin for the tip.