ROOTs run deep; Rebranding Process
It has been a crazy week for both the team and myself, we have big news coming very soon, in the meanwhile I wanted to share some insights on the re-branding process. I understand that we are no giant, but our ROOTs run deep..
A full re-counting of the history of the team is impertinent now on most fronts; Perhaps at a later time. Still - one of the strongest and most prevalent forces in the making and sustaining of ROOT has long been Twitch.tv.
I am always proud to say that we were one of if not the first "team" on Twitch, we saw them and to an extent helped them in the process of growing from a baby to the juggernaut they are today.
I'll try to be brief; When StarCraft 2 came out, I guess being the nerds that StarCraft fans/players are, some of us decided we wanted to share it / stream it. There were few options, all too complicated for me, but I am sure I had help from co-founder of ROOT and old friend drewbie. And when all else failed there was R1CH and shortly there-after TheGunrun to poke for technical guidance. I didn't have to stay on flash media encoder for too long before I found livestream, ustream and justin.tv, once I got to try justin.tv, it was a done deal.
This was our 2nd ROOT shirt, back in late 2010-Early '11. Already, IGN was trying to get in on the game; IGN was looking at all things media - they weren't a competitor to justin.tv but looking to enhance the space - in fact even though their efforts to be pro-active in the space felt like a small project in the brand, they felt like a behemoth in the space - we wanted to be associated with them. What could we do for IGN? produce content, videos in exchange for pay. And also have a badass logo on our back and we'll probably get tons of exposure.
Last but not least PokerStars was giving us a trial period, that could develop into our first big financial sponsorship- We were asked to meet goals signing up people to a tournament and we CRUSHED it, they had to open another tournament, it also helped that 2 of our players, KiWiKaKi and Fayth, were Poker pros so it was kind of a perfect fit.. So this deal was looking like a given.. and then online Poker collapsed in the U.S. #rip
Most relevant to the situation at hand, you can see ROOT was already sponsored by Justin.tv - we gave each other what we could, which was mostly lots of love, better rates per commercial, and a shirt. Kevin (who later became Twitch COO) wanted to print our shirts, he asked us to, he told me he found a really cool place to do it as well, only problem was our logo had a few too many colors so we had to go with 3 to minimize costs.. The fact that this was a consideration really helps put things into perspective to me, in terms of how far Twitch has come since. I was so damn greatful for these shirts back then, they are still my favorite.
In parallel, teams like EG were being built on the shoulders of iNcontroL, IdrA, and Machine while the already-veteran Team Liquid had Nazgul leading the charge with the likes of Ret and TLO on the rise. HuK was at the center of it all, as you'd expect, friend and rival to ROOT- somewhat bitter we didn't ask him to join up until that point, he joined VT & made it his mission (and often succeeded) to beat us by himself - ended up joining TL and EG the year after that.
Up until right before this point in time I've just described, iirc; most of the very few streaming platforms focused predominantly on non-gaming live events. Justin.tv had 2 pet projects running; One for gaming and the other one for who gives a sh*t at this point.
The project around gaming is what quickly evolved into Twitch.tv. In retrospect, it made too much sense; gamers game, A LOT- they want to share, there can be practical application to the skillsets learned for viewers, there's an accessible chat to interact live.. yeah - gaming and streaming is just a perfect match.
From my vantage point; Who are the guys on the gaming project (Twitch?) good, smart people; many Taco Bell enthusiasts (r3sp3kt), but ALL StarCraft nerds at that point - if they didn't play the game; they watched it PLENTY. I think that their lives and the ultimate outcome of what has now grown into a global phenomneon was somewhat fairly tethered to the game, a mission that looking back was so essential that they carry for the gamer's sake. At that point in time there were other players in the market and League of Legends was on the rise, catching up to StarCraft 2 in terms of popularity at quick pace. Own3d.tv (cue Imperial March, I guess) had managed to monopolize League of Legends streams, where Twitch held their grounds with StarCraft. Long story short, a war of sorts erupted; people switched sides, Twitch was after League, Own3d was after SC2, then something something over a lapse of time and Twitch won!
Ever since then, Twitch has supported us through thick and thin. When deciding on updating our logo, alongside further change and news and plans heading into the year 2019 - it became clear that we should pay homage to our oldest friend in the space and main sponsor for years; Twitch.
Looking for shapes to contain the logo, circlular ones were high up on my list, we've done a shield type background, we've done a rectangular more simplistic one.
I feel like our logo is playful, as is our roster. I like to think that we started as a friendly, community-oriented team in 2010 and we've been able to maintain this feel thanks to the evolution of our streamers and their individual communities. When I ran into this particular type of circular shape I was partial to it, I clicked through google results to learn that this particular type of shape is is an "ensō", an orignially Zen-Buddhist tradition. A creative practice of self-expression, that can have many interpretations. I prefer the associations with mind, universe, and infinity - but the raw concept of simple expression is almost appealing enough on it's own, add to that how badass it looks and the "chaotic" feel to a now completely asymetric logo that I think still manages to read very clearly. On that note, we hope you like wearing purple and don't mind a zen circle on your chest, as we expect new jerseys for 2019 to be available for sale soon, and they are going to be sexy.
This logo / new identity is only the start of re-defining our brand, our plans, and our announcements for 2019. Stay tuned over the next couple of days for shoe-eating 100% sick news.
CEO, ROOT Gaming LLC