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The Story of the Rootfire Logo as told by Creative Allies

*This is a repost of an article written by Creative Allies. Creative Allies is an amazing resource to connect designers and musicians. View original article here.

PROGRESSIVE_ROOTS_FINAL_FRONT-294x300Initially skeptical of design contests, artist Andy Pritiken entered the call to create a logo for Charlottesville, VA-based progressive roots community, Rootfire. Pritiken won, and more than two years later, he is still working with the company.

In fact, Rootfire just tasked Pritiken with creating all the artwork for a Rootfire vinyl-only compilation. That album, Progressive Roots Volume 001, features Slightly Stoopid, The Green, Katchafire and others, and was released at this year’s California Roots Festival.

 

What’s your background in art?

I graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelors of Science in industrial (product) design.

Illustration detail for a Tea Leaf Green poster.

Illustration detail for a Tea Leaf Green poster.

We understand from Rootfire owner/founder Seth Herman that you were initially skeptical of design contests. Why did you decide to enter the Creative Allies contest two years ago to design a logo for Rootfire?

I have always felt that crowd-sourcing devalues designers’ time. It essentially is asking designers to create work for free with the possibility of payment. That being said, I also feel design contests can be a good exercise for designers  because it opens up them up to some interesting projects that they may not have access to in their day-to-day work. I entered the Rootfire contest as an exercise because I was feeling creatively boxed in with my projects at the time. I saw the brief and was interested in the company’s ideals and their awesome roster of talent.

Have you entered any other contests since?

I have entered a few others, mostly for the reasons I stated above, it is a nice break from monotonous design projects and gets me thinking in a different way. I never enter with the contest in mind, it simply is an exercise for me. If something ever comes of it, then that’s great, but not the ultimate goal. The only contest I have won is the Rootfire logo.

Pritiken's Rootfire logo design

Pritiken’s Rootfire logo design

Tell us about your current relationship with Rootfire. How has it evolved, and how do you think that relationship has benefited you as an artist?

Seth from Rootfire saw something in the logo I created right away and we have been collaborating on various design projects for the last two years. He has introduced me to other businesses that I now work for as well. The work I am creating for Rootfire and the other companies I have been connected to as a result of the contest now make up a good portion of my client list. Seth and Rootfire has helped immensely with the growth of my and my partner’s business, Blank Studio Design.

How do you think your involvement with Rootfire has created momentum for the company’s brand recognition?

Simply through networking. Seth was able to connect me with other music business professionals. Now that we have been creating work for musicians, we are getting more musicians, managers, etc. interested in working with us. Through Seth, we were able to really expand our brand into the music community.

Illustration detail for a Last Flowers poster

Tell us about your current work, creating all the art for a Rootfire vinyl only compilation. What are some of the projects involved with that?

The Progressive Roots Volume 001 album was a huge success as well and we were able to crate all marketing collateral to go hand and hand with the release. Easy Star records (the company behind the album) was impressed enough to hire us on for some other album design projects. Again through this project, Seth from Rootfire really helped us expand our community of clients.

What are some techniques that you use?
Sketch, Illustrate (Adobe Illustrator), Finalize (Photoshop).

When you’re working on album art, how do you get inspiration for the design?

I am a musician myself and draw tons of inspiration from sound. I always have the band(s) I am designing for on my playlist as I am creating. I take my feelings from the music and translate that to an illustration, a photo, or even a color and go from there.

Seth told us that you’re now doing art for The Green and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad as well.

Again, through Rootfire’s connections and my profession  I was able to create some work from some really great bands. Seth has been an ambassador for us and has made many introductions that have led to more work.

Poster detail

Tell us about some other projects you’ve done, that you’re especially proud of.

Branding for the Summer Meltdown Festival, Marathon branding for the Bank of Hawaii, and poster works for Jackie Greene, The Mother Hips, Tea-Leaf Green and Charles Bradley.

 

 

Seth founded Rootfire while he was managing a group of influential modern reggae acts, including The Green, John Brown’s Body, and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. The goal of the project has always been to connect the people who participate in the modern reggae movement.