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The story of Imagine goes back to 2004. Social media was in its infancy with MySpace and Friendster, Amazon.com was just starting to mean something, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was about open in theaters. In a small apartment in Fairfax, Virginia, a young freelance designer was growing tired of the overly corporate, half-hearted marketing he was seeing in the world, convinced there had to be a way to do it better. So, with only $14 and that notion, he decided to go all in. There were no investors, no mentors, no big client to take care of the bills; he had to wing it if it was going to work.

For a name, his inspiration was the only thing that the company was at the time – his imagination.

THE EARLY YEARS

Imagine started as ImagineDesign, a graphic design studio that created logos, ads, and annual reports for any small business that would give it a chance. Our work ranged from cosmetics to construction, and we began to carve out a reputation for doing good work at a fair rate. We were a team of four and kept pretty busy until the winter of 2008.

The recession tested our talent and resolve as our clients had completely pulled back.

RECESSION + RECOVERY

The ravages of the recession made an incredible impact on ImagineDesign, resulting in a team of one in an almost empty office suite. Something needed to change, so – while juggling the few projects that would come in and clamoring for any that could be found – the vision of the company expanded.

Eventually, the recession faded, and as ImagineDesign recovered, it did so with a full-service approach to marketing. Branding and marketing had always been the logic that drove the work; now was the time to not just think bigger – but to do bigger. Hence, the marketing agency was born.

REBIRTH + FOLLOWING OUR PASSION

As Imagine grew, it became known more as a full-service marketing agency, so the name just didn’t fit anymore. In 2013, ImagineDesign underwent its own re-brand to become Imagine with a look that better represented its ethos of courage in creativity. We’ve since been recognized as one of the world’s top agencies, which is a long way from that apartment in Fairfax.

We also decided to follow our passion and pursue the kind of work that we wanted to do, specializing in only select industries:

·      Nonprofits because giving back is good for the soul

·      Tourism and hospitality because the world is a beautiful place

·      Local government because communities depend on them

Now, we still “Fight Ugly” with a focus on “For the Love of Travel” helping cities and towns become what they had only hoped they could be. 

Stay Tuned for some announcements about our 20th-anniversary celebrations, coming to a destination near you!

Rebecca Barnes

Rebecca aka DMO's Best Friend is the CEO of Imagine. With more than three decades of experience launching and operating award-winning companies, she gained invaluable insights into the intricate challenges that businesses encounter. Harnessing this expertise, she has build successful tourism marketing programs, initiatives, and campaigns for counties, cities, towns, venues, hotels, and captivating destinations. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her Grands, reading, traveling, and sleeping.

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