Alternate ROOTS of the Future: Stories, Icons, and Tools for Artists

Screen Shot from “Narrative Strategies” Workshop Mural Board, designed by SoulCenter and co-created with ROOTS members, June 2023. 


Alternate ROOTS is in the midst of a 14-month Rebrand/Redesign Process. That means that members and staff are working with SoulCenter, a stellar team of Blk Creatives, to design the iconography, strategies, and connection tools that will propel our work into the future. We’ve been dreaming about the ROOTer(s) of the future and how to support them in their work as justice-loving cultural workers.

In practical terms, it means that we are imagining a new logo for Alternate ROOTS. Once this is chosen, we’ll be designing all kinds of communications and social media tools that incorporate the new logo and colors. It also means that the ROOTS website is getting an overhaul with a deep focus on user-friendliness, clarity, and functionality. We want the ROOTS website to be a useful tool for our members.

Member input has been critical to this process every step of the way. A 5-member Design Advisory Council of ROOTS members has been particularly attentive to this work, and many sessions have been open to all members (and will continue to be!) Here’s some of the workshops members have participated in so far:

Screen shot from SoulCenter’s Design Audit of Alternate ROOTS’ printed materials, May 2023. 

  • May 23, 2023: 27 ROOTers (members + staff) showed up to “Meet the SoulCenter Team” and participate in a Design Audit of the current ROOTS iconography (logo, marks)
  • May & June, 2023: SoulCenter staff conducted in-depth interviews with 7 ROOTS members about the User Experience (UX) of the current ROOTS web site
  • May 2023: Full ROOTS Staff engaged in User Experience workshop with SoulCenter during the staff face-to-face meeting in Atlanta
  • June 22, 2023: 34 ROOTers (members + staff) imagined the ROOTS and ROOTers of the future during “Narrative Strategy Session #1: Who Am I / Who are We?”
  • June 28, 2023: SoulCenter presented 5 possible design paths for the new ROOTS logo to ROOTS staff and Design Advisory Circle members, and collected written and verbal feedback on these designs

Screen shot from Logo Drafts #1 Feedback Form, created by SoulCenter, July 2023. 

Coming Up:

  • July 24, 2023 at 5pm ET/4pm CT: Full membership is invited to a presentation of second draft ROOTS logos. All are invited to submit feedback via a form that will be distributed on July 25, 2023. Register for the presentation HERE.
  • August 1, 2023: Feedback on new logos due
  • August 12, 2023 (at ROOTS Week): SoulCenter presents second draft ROOTS logos and engages folks present in workshop on iconography and narrative
  • September 2023: After considering all feedback, new ROOTS logo/design direction chosen by Design Advisory Circle and several staff members
  • Fall-Winter 2023: Alternate ROOTS Web site re-designed and staff are trained in functionality of site.
  • Winter 2023: New Alternate ROOTS web site revealed to members
  • 2024: Work continues on development of database integration with web site (which includes the member portal), narrative strategy, and other communications tools.

Please join us for the presentation on July 24, 2023 and read the Member News for updates about this project and opportunities to participate in crafting the images and narratives that Alternate ROOTS will use in the next decade and beyond!

Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.