Denton. Original. Independent.

Mull it over for a minute. Look at the image; think about the words. What does it mean? What is it saying?

A brand is not a logo or a tagline or a moniker. Rather, a brand is designed to capture the essence of a product.

And the idea of branding is certainly nothing new. Ranchers have used brands to mark their livestock for centuries. I know collectors who have assembled impressive quantities of branding irons from Texas ranches large and small. Visit the Western Heritage Gallery in north Denton at Loop 288 and Interstate 35 to see more than a few of them. No two are the same, each rancher having created his unique brand, many of which have remained solid and unchanged through generations.

The brand is more than a mark on an animal, though. It makes a statement about the rancher, the size and scope of his herds, the quality and integrity of his product.

Denton Convention & Visitors BureauOur brand is just like the rancher’s. It is conveying in a single image, the essence of our product, this place Denton, Texas.

The brand development process is not a quick and easy one. Especially when attempting to brand a city as interesting and diverse as Denton is, input from many community arenas over an extended period of time was essential. When the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau rolled out this brand into the marketplace in January 2012, our primary, external audience got it immediately. Those are prospective visitors who perceived from this image what they would feel about their experience when they visit Denton. Feedback was swift and continues to be positively right on the mark.

The other important audience, perhaps more vital even than the visitors we work to attract, is us — Dentonites. How we see ourselves is absolutely foundational to delivering the Denton that visitors believe they will find when they get here. If we don’t believe and embrace it, why would they? Again, this brand image captures our sense of place so well that Dentonites see it and understand the message because everyone of us is individually a part of it.

The word “original” is a broad application in this brand. It’s more a description of spirit than physical attribute, though the spirit is manifested in the physical fabric of our city. The creative energy fueled by our universities, our arts community, the music industry, small business community, horse country — it drives originality and we embrace it into an original whole. Our downtown isn’t faux. We hold fast to our history while progressively moving ahead. We value originality within our place and among one another.

Independent is more of the same spirit and springs from the same attributes as original. Consider the music scene, for example. Denton is known around the world for the music movement that’s been evolving for many years. Interestingly, though, there is not a specific “Denton sound” that anyone can identify in a word. That is the result of original and independent. The sound is a combination of individual sounds where writers, musicians, poets and venues have their own messages, rhythms, tunes and atmospheres, and listeners get the entire breadth, as varied or not as they choose.

In the surrounding horse country, we have the most diverse equine population and disciplines all in one area than anywhere else in the world. That’s independent. We each do what we do and we all do it here, beside and almost in tandem with one another, creating a vibrant and lively culture.

The weathered appearance of the brand is also a statement. Think about your favorite pair of jeans. They’re probably a bit worn-looking because they are your favorites and you wear them often. And they fit you perfectly, comfortably. So do mine. And they wouldn’t fit anyone else in just the same way. Our brand says that’s how Denton fits, too.

Denton is a place where people are invested and engaged and have been for 150 years. We have grown together into this place. And together we will grow Denton into the future, hopefully never losing sight of who we are: Denton. Original. Independent.