Reimaging/Reimagining America’s Oldest Language Association

Last summer’s civil unrest, BLM protests, and the inequities laid bare by the pandemic forced much reevaluation. The teachers of Spanish and Portuguese were no exception. During the quiet periods offered by the pandemic, the 16-member AATSP Board of Directors reflected on the AATSP’s time-honored logo, complete with seal reminiscent of the coat of arms of Castile and León, Spain. By last August, we had arrived at the unanimous conclusion that immediate change was needed. The AATSP wanted to project a more inclusive, accurate, and forward-looking image to its diverse members and the public. 

AATSP Profile

Founded in 1917, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive language-specific professional association in the U.S. Our 10,000 members are educators from elementary through graduate school who endorse our mission to promote, develop, and advance the teaching of Hispanic, Luso-Brazilian, and related languages and cultures in the U.S. and in other countries. Along with the association’s other programs, publications, and projects, each summer the AATSP holds an annual conference in either the U.S. or a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country.  

The AATSP’s leaders concluded that while we own our history, the image below is outdated and no longer meets our needs. Especially problematic was the depiction within the seal that excluded the majority of Spanish speakers worldwide and omitted Portuguese speakers entirely. The old seal represented Spanish as the colonial language and reinforced dominance and inequity. Particularly problematic for Spanish speakers of Indigenous heritage, the old seal made us all uncomfortable. 

Therefore, we began a redesign by selecting a graphic designer through a competitive process. Due to a portfolio of fresh designs and a keen ability to listen to and interpret our needs, the AATSP chose Kelsey Daniel of Kelsey Elease Design, a small Black-owned design firm in Birmingham, Alabama. 

With input from the AATSP Board of Directors, now President-Elect Rachel Mamiya Hernandez, University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa, suggested that we incorporate the imagery of azulejos. The new logo is inspired by azulejos that are found throughout the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world. Historically, azulejos have roots in North Africa as well as other ancient cultures. Linguistically, the Spanish tilde or Portuguese til also graces the new design. Board member and Spanish teacher Anthony “TJ” Troche, Spring Valley High School, Las Vegas, suggested the addition of the tilde and the til because they are diacritics common to both languages. Daniel produced several designs in short order that were refined and finalized to meet our criteria of inclusivity and diversity. The azulejo-inspired design conveys the movement and energy that one finds among the AATSP members. One of the variations of the final design has the AATSP motto in both Portuguese and Spanish. 

The colorful new logo is being implemented throughout the AATSP’s programs and publications. The full transition to the AATSP’s new image will take several years to complete due to financial limitations. Also, the old logo is found scattered locally in individual schools and online in our 50 AATSP chapters, over 3,500 chapters of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, and the Sociedad Hispánica de Amistad. The AATSP has a wide variety of programs and contests being held throughout the U.S. that will make the transition to the new logo. The old seal will have restricted use for historical reference. The new logo is already being used in AATSP daily operations and is visible at AATSP.org

Lastly, the new design will be proudly displayed at the 103rd AATSP Annual Conference, to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 8–11, 2021. The conference theme is Celebrando a diversidade: O espanhol e o português/Celebrando la diversidad: El español y el portugués.  

Sheri Spaine Long, AATSP Executive Director

For more information, see AATSP.org.

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