Amarillo continues to trash their brand

After finally conceding that their brandmark was a rip off, Texas town, Amarillo continues to trash their brand with their latest solution; a logo competition.

Now, with hundreds of logos being submitted and continued ridicule, the city continues to get the world’s attention for all the wrong reasons.

Amarillo Council has certainly made a mess of their brand design. Firstly, the claimed that their logo was indeed unique and not infringing on Dubai developer, Emmar’s identity. Then Amarillo City Attorney Marcus Norris pleaded with Emmar to allow them to use their similar looking logo.

Norris argued that “the designs were different enough, including the colours — Amarillo’s had three colours, while Emaar’s was grey. Only Amarillo’s had a slogan (Open Spaces. Endless Opportunities.) and there are vast differences between the two entities’ business arenas and influences”, he said.

The colour comment is particularly intriguing as although Emaar has a greyscale version of their brandmark (as many brands do) but Amarillo’s version of the logo is remarkably similar to Emaar’s full colour brandmark which is blue and yellow. Obviously, Emaar did not agree and Amarillo and the council have reluctantly backed down.

Now, they are they are going back to the drawing board and enlisting the help of well, anyone. Developing a brand identity through a logo competition is a recipe for failure (something we have often talked about in this blog). While engaging the community and building alignment across stakeholders is important to create a strong, meaningful and relevant brand, it needs to be carefully managed.

Creating the right brandmark and identity system requires a distinctive and authentic idea that is carefully crafted and then brought to life across all touchpoints. Design by committee may gain consensus but it will no doubt be bland and miss a fantastic opportunity to truly inspire and emotionally connect.

A brand’s identity is an important representation of the company’s image and reputation. In this case, Amarillo Council is continuing to create a negative image for their city when they are already dealing with an identity crisis that has seen them branded amateurs, ignorant hicks (much of this criticism is coming from locals).

Instead of consulting with branding specialists, the city is again opening up their brand to continued ridicule as most of the of the interest in the city’s branding is focussed on parodies, rather than helping to create a true place brand.

Even a local news site, thinks the process is a joke. Amarillo Globe News quoted an official who suggested “clicking through the slide show, making note of your favourites by submission name, then clicking the VOTE link to make your selections.” They then posted links to both the proper and parody galleries.

Here are some of the selections that are doing the rounds. Interestingly, more interest and even effort seems to be going into the parodies that the well-intended designs.


Choosing a strategic brand design partner is essential to uncover your brand’s DNA and then bring it to life in a unique and compelling way to truly connect with your audiences, build loyalty and help your business survive and grow. Protecting this intellectual property legally is equally as important.

If you’d like to hear how Truly Deeply develops authentic and powerful brands that significantly enhance a company’s ability to compete and grow, I’d love to hear from you.

Michael Hughes
Strategy Director and Partner



1 Comment

  1. As a brand design professional I continue to be floored by these examples that show such a base, misunderstanding of the importance and value of professional brand identity design. What will it take to have organizations understand that this very approach to creating a mark for their business/brand sends a screaming message to the market that they are unprofessional, unethical, and uncaring about what anyone thinks of them. Thankfully we’re seeing a stronger and stronger negative public reaction to this kind of mess. It’d be laughable if I wasn’t crying with frustration.

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