By AMFF Trustee Adam Trisk

Change is hard for some, impossible for others and challenging for most – yet it remains the ever present ingredient in every aspect of our lives.

When I think about the commonalities we all share, I find myself recalling Norman Maclean’s brilliance, “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”

It was almost a year ago when we began to explore the possibility of a new brand identity for the museum. What we shared was a desire to give the museum a fresh visual mark that would preserve its history and position it for the future, where we differed was on what that could look like. Eventually though, we found that with a shared passion and extensive consideration, all our thoughts, feedback and conversations merged into one – and while rare, when this happens, the results feel as they should – perfect.

Why was it time for a new logo?

Just as the nature of the waters we love to fish changes, so must the way we show up in the world.

Whether you’re a hand-tied, dry fly, cane only, purist or you’re pushing nanotech coated lines through graphite/carbon composite rods to fish who’ve never seen a fly, the American Museum of Fly Fishing was intended to be a brand that lived alongside your angling passion. Fly fishing is constantly changing, fly fishers are constantly changing and the way people connect with organizations, causes and brands are changing too. So the time felt right for us to consider how we could change as well.

But as I said before, change is hard and that’s especially true for those who have a history and relationship with a specific visual identity. After all, that which is familiar, is comfortable. AMFF, as an organization, is evolving every day. Whether it’s how we’re planning to shift from being primarily a board and trustee supported organization to a member supported org or how we’re expanding our impact and footprint beyond Manchester with our inclusion in Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium, we needed to consider how we show up in the world as an organization that’s not just preserving the past, but that’s committed to remaining current and relevant for the future.

Our approach

The hardest part of any branding assignment is arriving at an identity that’s informed by strategy, accounts for varying perspectives, appeals to diverse aesthetic preferences, and yet, somehow feels singularly cohesive. The exiting AMFF logo was perfectly fine, in fact one could argue it’s excellent. There are certainly those who feel a deep attachment to our previous brand and we both share your perspective and respect it. Others felt it was outdated, that it didn’t translate well across new channels and mediums, wasn’t progressive, represented trout fishing more than angling, and felt it was overly conservative.

So we set out on a visual exploration of identities with the mandate that what we developed had to: preserve the organization’s heritage, re-position the brand to thrive and garner attention from entirely new audiences, breathe new life into our organization and provide us with a unique look and feel that ultimately would excite and attract ALL anglers.

Once aligned on these goals via a strategic design brief, we worked with a trusted and incredibly talented designer (Greg Wilson from Wilson & Co in Bozeman), gathered board and trustee perspectives, gained critical insights into both our existing and future audiences and looked at the competitive and adjacent landscapes of brand identities. Informed and armed with a shared perspective, we embarked on an extensive exploration of potential design territories. Different from refined logos, this exercise allowed us to look at possible design languages we might want to consider and spend time and effort working on.

How and why we chose the direction we did

If you ask 100 people what they think of a logo, you’ll likely get 300 responses. Some won’t like the color or font, others might prefer soft lines or bold outlines….the list of personal design preferences make gaining support for a new identity a particularly challenging exercise. Furthermore, it’s incredibly difficult for people to recognize that the value of the logos they “love” are more connected with the content that supports that brand than the visual design of the logo itself.

We considered designs that would refresh the existing brand, looked at the use of universal angling symbols, constructed versions using the acronym AMFF only, designed versions that were uniquely “American” and explored the use of more environmental elements including mountains and rivers. In all, we looked at a lot of distinctly different approaches for how we might re-design our logo. Eventually, we arrived at the unanimous agreements: there as something special in the territories that supported the concept of positioning AMFF as a conservator and guardian of angling, we liked designs that allowed us to leverage our acronym, and we wanted to simplify the visual elements to include those that universally represented ALL angling.

The elements of our new logo

Eventually it all came together in a beautiful and harmonious logo.

We used a crest or badge shape for the logo to represent a number of strategic imperatives. It supports our position as conservators and guardians of this great past time and also represents a member-based organization – in which our membership connects us with a community of shared passion and knowledge.

We are both AMFF & American Museum of Fly fishing. If you google AMFF we come up first and we want to make sure that as we grow, so does the ability to find us quickly and easily. Like MOMA or MassMOCA or TheMET, we want to be known and quickly recognized, and we believe that by incorporating both our acronym and our name, we will start to become known and recognized by both.

We are the sum of our parts – water + fish + fly. These are universally regarded as the 3 most critical elements of angling and the fly lets you know that within angling, we represent fly fishing. The fly is not a specific fly and yet it is. It actually comes out of a simplified version of our previous logo and serves as an acknowledgement of our heritage. It is possibly one of the most commonly recognized shapes in fly fishing and it sits at the center of our new logo. The fish are nondescript – they could be trout or salmon maybe a bonefish. The are swimming away from the center of the logo to represent catch & release and they’re in the company of other fish to further support the importance of conservation.

We are vibrant. As such, we selected a color pallet that was not only bright and eye catching but that was representative of the waters we fish. Whether it’s the deep turquoise of a glacial river or the aqua tones of the salt water flats, the colors that support our new identity are intended to be inclusive of all the waters that make our pursuit possible.

How you can support us

Combined, our new logo breathes new life into AMFF and contained within it there’s a beautiful story that wasn’t easy to develop, but that’s now easy to understand and relate to. The content we’re working on and all the incredible ways we’re supporting the fly-fishing community will hopefully make this a logo that’s not just representative of who we are, but one that our members enthusiastically display to represent their love and support of us and this great sport.

So now it’s up to you. All of our members will receive a new logo sticker in the mail next month as part of their annual appeal and update letter and we hope they’ll be well displayed. If you love the old logo, buy as much of the remaining branded merchandise as possible ( We are also ordering new merchandise with the new logo which we expect to receive in the next several weeks. Put your order in now so you can be the first to proudly represent and support our future. Either way, we hope you’ll show the same love and support you always have, as it’s through your support that we can remain relevant. Our new logo changes nothing and yet it changes everything. Finding ways of putting our new identity into the world though, is the greatest gift of all, because we believe that eventually… all our efforts merge into one!