North Texas



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Gone to Texas
Often abbreviated GTT, this was a phrase used by Americans emmigrating to Texas in the 1800s, often to escape debt incurred during the Panic of 1819. Moving to Texas, which at the time was part of Mexico, was particularly popular among debtors from the South and West. The phrase was often written on the doors of abandoned houses or posted as a sign on fences.
While speaking in Nacogdoches, Texas in early 1836, shortly before his death at The Alamo, Davy Crockett is famously quoted regarding his last campaign for Congress,
"In my last canvass, I told the people of my district, that, if they saw fit to re-elect me, I would serve them faithfully as I had done; but, if not, they might all go to h---, and I would go to Texas. I was beaten, gentlemen, and here I am."
Early settlers came here for many reasons, noble and ignoble. Their experiences, blending opportunity with hardship, helped create the Texas mystique that still fascinates people around the globe.
Texas's population has increased in every decade since the days of the Republic. But the rapid growth in the years before the Civil War put an indelible stamp on our state. The people who were lured here then, and their experiences, created the foundation for the legend of Texas.
At the beginning of the 1800s, Native Americans outnumbered all others in Texas. When Texas achieved independence in 1836, the estimated population exceeded 50,000, and the majority group was Anglos. That number quadrupled by the 1850 census, just after Texas became a state.
A decision to move to Texas in those days required a willingness to face danger, drudgery and deprivation. But all that paled when compared to the incredible promise Texas offered for a better life. That drew thousands of settlers who'd scrawled “GTT" on the doors or floors of their cabins in Tennessee, Kentucky, the Carolinas and other places.
Most newcomers came by their own free choice. Economic opportunity - primarily cheap and plentiful land - topped the list of reasons for moving to Texas. Some settlers came to escape debt, a failed business, legal problems, or what one writer calls “rascality." For others, there was no choice at all - they came here as chattel. In 1850, there were an estimated 58,000 slaves in Texas.
The journey to Texas required determination and endurance during a weeks-long journey by wagon, horseback, ship or on foot. Virtually everyone came knowing they faced hard work and uncertain futures, and one writer described them as “toil-worn people."
The collective impact of these newcomers in the mid-1800s is well described by writer J. Frank Dobie: “The very qualities that made many of the Texas pioneers rebels to society and forced not a few of them to quit it between sun and sun without leaving cards engraved with their new addresses fitted them to conquer the wilderness - qualities of daring bravery, reckless abandon, heavy self-assertiveness."

Denton  population
Median age: 28.8 65+: 8.3%
• 2014: 128,200
    UNT: 2015: 36,000
    TWU 2015: 15,000
• 2020: 147,800
• 2030: 207,300

At the Pig Stand in Denton, cook W.W.W. Cross, in an effort to wow his customers, placed an order for sandwich bread sliced at double the normal thickness, but then, upon learning that this Texas-sized bread would not fit into the restaurant's toaster, buttered the big slices and toasted them on the griddle. Voilà! Texas toast. The Dallas-based Pig Stand chain, which once counted dozens of outlets in Texas and beyond but has now dwindled to a lonely single stand in San Antonio, is also, by the way, credited with the invention of the drive-in restaurant concept, carhops, onion rings, and the chicken-fried steak sandwich.

Filming Bonnie & Clyde
Pilot Point,
Regional Premiere in Denton, Campus Theater?


A mark for I ♥ Texas
The I ♥ NY mark has been a popular classic icon since its introduction in 1977. The designer, Milton Glaser, used a pictorial symbol for the word Love and typographic symbols for I and New York.

I wondered if the type symbols could also be replaced with pictorial symbols, especially for the state of Texas, possibly the most recognizable shape of the 50. California, Alaska, and New York might be close seconds, but, the outline shape of Texas is universally known and recognized.
Below: I sketched a side view of an eye and stacked the symbols. But, then I remembered that Paul Rand replaced the I text symbol with a pictorial symbol for IBM in 1981:

Rand's orientation of the eye symbol was more consistent with the symmetrical heart and a row of symbols was more useful than a column. Conducting further research on marks for 'I ♥ Texas' brought up these images:



There were others, but all were like these, with only the state letters replaced by an image and the 'I' still a letter character (except for the I Texas Texas one on the right.) I am surprised that the eye symbol hasn't found its way into the classic mark to replace the letter I, especially when a symbol or image is used for the other part (where the NY was originally). Using the eye symbol seems like a natural evolution of replacing words (like heart) with symbol images.

New mark with all image symbols

I used a simplified Rand's eye symbol and rounded the sharp corners of the state shape to better relate to the other two symbols. It worked. The symbols clearly communicate and respect each other as a cohesive unit of 3 marks forming a strong statement. Then, I wondered about adapting the rendering to other states.

Above right: I Love Colorado or I Love Wyoming or I Love Rectangles. This one would not work outside of those states - the state shape is just not unique enough to be quickly recognizable.

The 3 states above (Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey, but not necessarily in that order) may be a bit too obscure to be successful.

A proposed license plate for Texas

Exploit the state slogan
Texas is The Lone Star State, made famous by its simple yet memorable flag, adopted by the Republic of Texas in 1839. That is the state's symbol and logo that is known globally.

Often, license plates are too busy and cluttered. There is a need for simplicity, so that the plate numbers can be quickly and clearly seen and comprehended. License plates probly shouldn't be for self-expression, their purpose is to communicate letters and numbers very rapidly and clearly, for the sake of emergency personne. People can express themselves on bumper stickers and in their cars, not on the license plate.
There is no need for The Lone Star State slogan - the lone star is there.

The simplicity and clarity of the proposed plate as compared to more complex plates.

Oops, something similar has already been done

Ad and plate for the Texas Commission on the Arts. Jim's suggestion on the right.

Above: Spotted on cars in Oklahoma. Below: A painted curb address in Dallas


www.jamesrobertwatson.com/texas.html