Can anyone please give me a brief history of how the button trend started with FIRST? I am a second year Non-Engineering Mentor and am trying to explain to some students who think we shouldn’t buy buttons that they are important. However, I guess I don’t really know why they are important or how they started.

I guess it advertises the team, increases team pride, and gets the team known, so they are more likely to be picked by an alliance!

Brief? All I know is I’ve got a shoebox full, and that’s a SMALL collection!

I remember buttons as far back as… wait for it… 1999–and I still have some that I picked up that year at SVR–yes, the one in the blimp hangar. (I was 10 at the time, not on a team, but hanging out with the team my dad was mentoring.)

Essentially, what it is is advertising. It’s something that you can give to any other team to help them remember you. You can trade with another team’s members, one-for-one (or whatever quantity works for you). Not all teams give out buttons, or only buttons; other giveaways work well too.

Buttons can be an inexpensive means to advertise your team as a give away. Many schools, ours included, have a button maker so you are making them for the cost of parts and whatever you are printing to put on the buttons.

We have since gone away from buttons as our give away as a local company is able to get us screenprinted silicone wristbands for less than the button parts.

There are a ton of collectible things you can get at events, shirts, posters, figurines, alliance awards, brochures, even ducks that come in chinese food boxes filled with easter grass. You’ll treasure everything you get at events. Even the flu.

Buttons are just easier to collect. I would definetly say I treasure my 365 button, considering they’re from such a far away place.

I remember somewhere on these hallowed forums, Andy Baker referenced buttons at competition going back to at least 1996. At least I think he did.

Buttons are a great way to sponsor your team. But I feel they are so much more than that. Buttons are a way people from one team can share a little about the team on every button and learn about other teams in turn. Buttons build relationships between teams and people that would otherwise never know the others existed.

I may just be rambling but I feel buttons are a very easy to make, effective, and fun way to communicate to others. (at the very least, some of them look really cool)

The buttons have changed over the years. When I started in 1997 the only way to get a button from another team was by trading them one of your buttons. They were not freely given out like they are now.

For the buttons that were more desirable you sometimes had to trade two buttons. The LEGO figures were always the hardest to get and each colored shirt had a different quantity made which made different ones worth more buttons.

Thanks to all for their input. I have shared this with some of the kids on the team new to FIRST and we have a better understanding. As a second year mentor, I have a small collection of buttons, but am looking forward to growing that this year!

We have a rather large button that was made back in our first year back in 1992. Buttons are a common giveaway at many events. FIRST is no different. They are easy make, inexpensive and very compact for transportation. They are an ideal giveaway.

In the past couple years I’ve seen a trend emerge with teams handing out stickers. Our team may pass on the button ordering this year to save some money and hand out stickers instead.

I like putting my stickers on my clipboards. #StuffVCsDo :stuck_out_tongue:

oooh…stickers is an interesting idea! We could even create a sticker wall in the pit for teams to put their stickers on…you might be starting a new trend!!! I like it.

I think buttons just are always used because they are something that most everyone can walk away with. I know these days even just spectators not affiliated with a team and younger kids love them. I think the one nice thing about buttons is that They are a bit more robust than stickers unless you put the sticker on something permanently. My freshman year, one of my best friends collected so many buttons on his shirt that his shirt weighed maybe 5lbs or more. Still one of my favorite memories, and that’s what a lot of FIRST is about…memories!

Be careful with stickers. Venues tend to have a problem with them, since some less responsible students often end up sticking them on things they shouldn’t (walls, floors, bleachers, bathroom stalls, etc.). If you use stickers, give them out in very limited quantities.

I remember when we gave out stickers in Atlanta and teams were leaving them stuck to attractions at Six Flags Over Georgia. I’m sure they were not big fans of us.