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 tag line 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. No two are the same, each rancher having created his unique brand, many of which have remained solid and unchanged through generations. More than just a mark on an animal, it makes a statement about the rancher, the size and scope of his herds, the quality and integrity of his product.

The Denton CVB’s brand, like the rancher’s, conveys in a single image the essence of our product, this place Denton, Texas.

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. 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’s music movement that’s been evolving for many years is respected but difficult to define. There is not a specific “Denton sound” that anyone can identify in a word. That is the result of original and independent. The Denton 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. Another example is visible in the surrounding horse country, the highest concentration of equine diversity and disciplines 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 you wear them often. 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.

The Original Independent brand has been incredibly successful in the marketplace since its launch in 2012. This year, a collaborative partnership is adding another level to the brand message. That level is a call to action, a call to “Come Create.”

The Denton CVB, City of Denton Economic Development, Downtown Denton Development, and various representatives from Denton’s music, technology, business and creative sectors have been working for several months on a plan to broaden the brand’s application to include audiences beyond visitors and travel, the CVB’s primary mission and market. The group will exhibit at SXSW Interactive Expo in Austin this March, their first such project together and the first time for Denton to be presented to this international audience as a desirable “live, work, and play” destination.

True to the Original Independent brand, Denton is a place that draws organic, innovative interest and investment. Ours is a community rich in talent, intelligence and passion. We offer a desirable workforce and quality of life attractive to today’s leading industries and companies. Makers come to shape and build. Creators come to imagine and design. Entrepreneurs come to invent, to dream and to do.

Our music scene is well-known within the SXSW community. The 35 Denton Festival began within SXSW and incubated there its first four years before finding its own feet at home in Denton in 2009. Many fans and artists stop to visit here during the now mini-mammoth-sized 35 Denton Festival the weekend before SXSW’s start.

In Denton, we believe moving forward comprises respecting our past and appreciating our present. For example, our 158-year-old, real-deal downtown is pulsing with life, business, and entertainment. To us, progress and sustainability are interdependent. We keep and repurpose, melding old and new like art.

These are alluring characteristics to the SXSW audience where Denton’s original, independent culture is already highly acclaimed. This year, we are personally delivering our story to the masses with a special invitation to “Come create!”

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