On August 15th, 2013, Roots celebrates the 40th anniversary of the store and the brand.
For four formative years in the mid-1980s, as creative director at Reactor Art + Design, I worked closely with Roots founders Michael Budman and Don Green, directing all the company's visual branding including advertising, brochures, in-store signage, apparel graphics and the creation of several private-label brands. I have many fond memories of the regular Friday afternoon "creative" sessions that Michael, Don, Bill Grigsby and I had in the back alcove of my office at Reactor.
Primarily a footwear and leather-goods retailer when we first began working with them, Michael and Don recognized the need for Roots to expand its product offering, and saw athletic wear as a perfect entrée into the apparel market. To brand this new venture, I appropriated Heather Cooper's beaver from the original Roots logo, and added the varsity-style typography. This logo design, still in use today, has been printed on [probably] millions of tee shirts and sweatshirts, and has become a Canadian icon. The phenomenal success of Roots Athletics helped propel Roots out of its footwear niche and set the stage for its subsequent success in the larger apparel market.
Below are assorted logos and hangtags we designed for some of Roots' private-label brands.