Monday, July 16, 2012
How do you define Deep Ellum?
A community group unveiled a new logo meant to identify the neighborhood for at least a decade.
DEEP ELLUM In the past few decades, Deep Ellum has never had one logo that defined it, said Paula Ramirez, a Deep Ellum resident and a board member of the Deep Ellum Community Association (DECA). DECA had its own logo, the Deep Ellum Foundation had another, and various other icons were strewn about town, like the Traveling Man or the neon sign on Good Latimer. The neighborhood has seen its share of highs and lows, and community members wanted it to have a permanent stamp that would cue tourists and locals that they had landed in Deep Ellum.
"It kind of got to the point where we had a loss for identity for a little bit," Ramirez said. "We had too many images out there representing Deep Ellum. ... We needed to reel them all in and get everybody on the same page: the foundation, the association, the volunteer base. And give the business owners something they can co-brand with."
The guitar head with "Deep Ellum" in script is the logo Ramirez and a team of eight judges believe will define the music neighborhood. Presented to community members Sunday night at a neighborhood BBQ and cakewalk, the new Deep Ellum logo will be displayed on t-shirts, bumper stickers, street signs, and eventually on a neon sign on Elm Street.
The branding project was a year in the making, and Ramirez and the team received more than 100 submitted logos in October 2011 for how the neighborhood should be defined. Can Deep Ellum be remembered solely through its music history? What about the arts? Or the new dog park, even?
The call for entries was a nationwide search, and the judges attempted to pick the "timeless piece" they felt encapsulated the neighborhood best. During judging, the logos hung, unidentified, so members of the panel would consider each fairly. Ramirez and her colleagues kept coming back to the guitar head logo.
"Do you ever go shopping for something and you don't know what you're shopping for, but when you see it, you know?" asked Ramirez. "Everybody in the room had that feeling with this logo." They were even more pleased to find that it was created by a design shop in their very own Deep Ellum neighborhood, Belmont Icehouse, which has created advertising for Texas A&M University and the HP Byron Nelson Championship, among others.
Once chosen, the ad agency received a $1,500 stipend from the Deep Ellum Foundation, and the group was tasked with creating a series of logos so music wasn't the neighborhood's only defining characteristic. All have a "gritty" look, reflective of Deep Ellum, said Tim Hudson, founder of Belmont Icehouse. Each piece "has a distressed element to it because we feel Deep Ellum is not overly polished," he said.
The logos will be made into decals for corresponding businesses. Art galleries will get an art palette sticker; fine dining establishments will get the knife and fork; and so on.
"With this series, we hope to give people this image that we have a lot going on other than music," Ramirez said. "That's our roots and history, but there is so much more."
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