City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway

The idea of city seals dates back to ancient times. Cities were making them well before Jesus' time, and back in the day, seals served as the most high-tech way to officiate documents. Sure, these days they still carry some legal significance depending upon the laws of a municipality, but as far back as 160 years ago, Thompson Reuters pointed out that at least one American judge was ranting about why we needed the symbols anymore. Yet they persist, largely out of tradition but also because, hey, we like pretty things to look at. 

In fact, in today's image-obsessed culture, city seals are probably more vital for their visual identity and branding than any practical legal purposes. Most cities in Miami-Dade haven't realized that fact. Indeed, a lot of their seals are really bad. We're talking a lot of palm trees, a lot of suns, a flock of birds, and a few sailboats.

Naturally, we couldn't help but rank every Dade County city seal we could find: 

31. West Miami 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (4)

Number of Palm Trees: 0
Sun: No
Bird: Yes (Eagle)
Does this look familiar? It should. It's the official seal of the president of the United States. Yes, look:

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (3)

And apparently the City of West Miami just yanked it, ripped out the parts about being the seal of the president, and replaced the verbiage with the city's name. Which is not only incredibly lazy but also incomprehensibly stupid. Now, maybe this would make sense if the city's most famous resident and former city councilman, Marco Rubio, were ever elected president, but the city has just been using this seal for years for no reason. 

30. Miami Beach 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (36)

Number of Palm Trees: 1
Sun: No
Bird: No
Miami Beach just straight-up yanked the City of Miami seal, added some colors, changed the palm tree, and called it theirs. Which is odd because we all know Miami Beach has a weird complex about Miami. Miami Beach is all like, "Yeah, City of Miami, you may be older and you may be bigger, but we all know who the real star of the show is in this neck of the woods. When people close their eyes at night and dream of you, they're really thinking about me." Yet Miami Beach has just been content to rip off Miami's seal for 100 years.

Now maybe you thought this thing was the seal of Miami Beach: 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (38)

Nope. That's just an old logo they don't even use anymore. They should, however, adopt this or a modified version of the Miami Vice logo as their official seal. Actually, never mind. We're afraid Mayor Levine might actually take that up as a serious cause and waste time following through on it. 

29. South Miami

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (9)

Number of Palm Trees: 1
Sun: No
Bird: No
South Miami basically stole Miami's seal too, but we'll rank it a spot higher, both because we don't expect that much out of South Miami and because they put a tiny bit more effort into changing the tree. 

28. North Miami 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (14)

Number of Palm Trees: 2
Sun: Yes
Bird: No

There are two main things wrong with this seal: 
1. That is not what Florida looks like. Not at all. 
2. Hialeah's nickname is the "City of Progress," so who're you even trying to fool with that, North Miami? 

This may, however, be the only city seal in the world (and definitely on this list) to feature brutalist architecture, which, we suppose is interesting to a certain type of architecture nerd. 

27. Medley: 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (21)

Number of Palm Trees: 1
Sun: No
Bird: No

Medley is a town of less than 1,000 people. It's mostly an industrial hub made up of factories and warehouses. They were on the right track here with a simple design summing up what the town was all about — and then they just inserted the City of Miami seal for no reason. Honestly, if they wanted to get a palm tree involved that badly, they could have just rendered one in white to keep the general minimalist motif. 

26. Miami Gardens

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (20)

Number of Palm Trees: 2
Sun: Yes
Bird: No
This just looks like St. Louis went on vacation — rendered in terrible clip art. 

25. Sweetwater 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (6)

Number of Palm Trees: 2
Sun: Yes
Bird: No
Sweetwater's history dates back to a troupe of Russian little people circus performers looking for a place to retire, and had they been honored by the city in its seal, it easily would have been top-five material. Instead, we have an oddly education-themed seal despite the fact that only 13 percent of people 25 and older in the town have a bachelor's degree.  

24. Doral

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (29)

Number of Palm Trees:
Sun: Yes
Bird: Yes (egret)
The main feature of Doral's city seal is its famous golf course. That golf course is now owned by Donald Trump.

Apparently, Trump also shares a barber with the bird that modeled for this picture. 

23. Palmetto Bay

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (11)

Number of Palm Trees: 2
Sun: Yes
Birds: Yes (seagulls) 
We're about to get into a long, hard slog of brutally boring genericness here, and Palmetto Bay kicks it off by being the first on the list to obtain the Miami-Dade city-seal bingo of including a sun, palm trees, birds, and the bonus element of a sailboat. 

22. Aventura

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (35)

Number of Palm Trees: 2
Sun: Yes (well, we assume that's it in the background) 
Birds: Yes (seagulls) 
This seal isn't trying to paint Aventura as anything else but what it is: a place where old people retire to waterside condos. It might have benefited if it had tried to, though. 

18 (Tie). Surfside

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (7)

Number of Palm Trees: 4
Sun: No
Birds: No

18 (Tie). Golden Beach

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (27)

Number of Palm Trees: 1
Sun: Yes
Birds: No

18 (Tie). Sunny Isles Beach

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (8)

Number of Palm Trees: 1
Sun: Yes
Birds: Yes (seagulls)

18 (Tie). North Bay Village 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (15)

Number of Palm Trees: 1 
Sun: Yes
Birds: No

This is beginning to read like one of those Buzzfeed posts where they ask graphic designers around the world to Photoshop their ideal version of a palm tree by the ocean. 

17. Indian Creek Village 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (23)

Number of Palm Trees: 4
Sun: Yes
Bird: No
Indian Creek is a tiny village of 86 people who are all ridiculously wealthy. It's so exclusive we couldn't even find a proper picture of its seal, but it's notable that the central feature of the seal is a gate. That's because they want to keep you out. 

16. Miami Shores

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (18)

Number Palm Trees: 2
Sun: Yes
Bird: No
The fact it lacks color kind of makes it stand out. 

15. Key Biscayne

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (22)

Number of Palm Trees: Three
Sun: Yes
Birds: Yes (seagulls) 
There's actually a lot of cool things you could do with Key Biscayne's iconic lighthouse, and Key Biscayne did not do those things 

14. Biscayne Park 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (31)

Palm Trees: 0
Sun: No
Birds: No
This is the first on our list that doesn't have any of the clichéd elements we've been noticing — not even birds. Which is weird, because the village has declared everything within its boundaries a bird sanctuary since its founding. That's kind of its thing. Yet no birds on the seal. Instead, we get the town's historic log-cabin police headquarters, which, sure, is kind of cool. 

13. Virginia Gardens 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (5)

Number of Palm Trees: 2
Sun: No
Birds: No
They tried to do something different here, and in that they certainly succeeded. It's very different

12. El Portal 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (28)

Number of Palm Trees: 1
Sun: No
Birds: No
"El Portal" is Spanish for "the gate," so of course this seal features a gate. Unlike Indian Creek's gate, however, this one is left slightly ajar to invite you in. They probably should have worked a peacock in here somewhere, but oh well. 

11. North Miami Beach 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (13)

Number of Palm Trees: 4
Sun: Yes
Birds: Yes (seagulls) 
Showcasing the Fulford-by-the-Sea Monument was a good call here, honestly. Somehow it almost makes you think this is the kind of town where people actually do care. Almost. 

10. Pinecrest 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (10)

Number of Palm Trees: 0 
Sun: Yes
Bird: No
Pinecrest is totally going against the grain here. Not only is their seal square, but also they've dared to prominently feature a tree that is not a palm. Then again, "pine" is in the village name. 

9. Bay Harbor Islands

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (32)

Number of Palm Trees: 0
Sun: Yes
Bird: No
This is a village of two islands connected by a bridge, and they've captured that quite elegantly in this seal. 

8. Hialeah

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (26)

Number of Palm Trees: 2 (partial)
Sun: Yes (partial)
Birds: Yes (flamingos) 
Surprisingly, this is the only seal in Dade County to feature flamingos. 

7. Miami Springs 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (17)

Number of Palm Trees: 5 (older variations of the seal clarify that those trees are supposed to be palms) 
Sun: Yes
Bird: No
The three dramatic sun rays are very appropriate for a seal. 

6.Miami-Dade County 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (2)

Number of Palm Trees: 2 
Sun: Yes
Bird: No
The county decided to a distinguish itself by picking a unique shape for its seal but then not going too crazy with it. 

5. Homestead

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (24)

Palm Trees: 2
Sun: Yes
Bird: No
Given what they had to work with, they actually did a nice job here. In fact, we were surprised to learn that Homestead is with it when it comes to keeping its branding attractive. Its official website is easily the prettiest in the county. Who knew Homestead was so image-conscious? 

4. Miami

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (37)

Number of Palm Trees: 1
Sun: No
Bird: No
If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, Miami should feel pretty good that there are so many other cities that love this seal. We don't think it's that special, but it's simple enough to look good stamped on manhole covers and etched into bus-stop glass. 

3. Coral Gables

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (30)

Number of Palm Trees: 1
Sun: No
Bird: Yes (pelican) 
Of all the cities in Miami-Dade, of course Coral Gables would go the straight-out-of-old-school-Europe route with their seal, and had there been stiffer competition, we might have been harsher on them for it. At the end of the day, though, this is pretty nice. It's also the only seal to feature a dolphin — at least we're pretty sure that thing is supposed to be a dolphin. 

2. Hialeah Gardens 

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (25)

Number of Palm Trees: 1
Sun: Yes
Bird: No
This makes Hialeah Gardens look much more distinct than it actually is, and that's an accomplishment in and of itself. Making the fact that it's on the western reaches of the county (and thus gets to better enjoy sunsets) look like a big plus is a nice factor as well. 

1. Opa-locka

City Seals in Miami-Dade Are Mostly Terrible, but We Ranked Them Anyway (12)

Number of Palm Trees: 1
Sun: No (though the red/orange/yellow background seems to suggest a sun)
Birds: No
No one else really even had a chance. Congratulations, Opa-locka. You might not be known for much, but you definitely have the most badass seal in Miami-Dade County. 


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