We are trying to brand our team and are wondering how important it is to include the team number in the branding. Is it confusing/problematic to other teams to not have the team number on t shirts and integrated into the logo?
I think its up to the team. Some teams are known by their number and some are known by their name more. It all depends on which one is more prevalent in your branding, logo, etc. Neither one is required though. I’ve seen lots of logos that are either only a picture or a picture with team name but no number.
In my mind it honestly depends on the team number. I have a hard time knowing any team numbers past 5254 lately, but a good brand regardless of team number is much more memorable.
On field performance and robot branding also makes a huge difference in how teams remember you.
What is your team number and name?
To me, part of what determines which one I reference a team with is how easily it rolls off the tongue.
I would say it depends partially on the purpose of your branding. If you’re looking for recognition from other teams and members of the FIRST community I would say connecting team name and number is somewhat important. If you’re looking for recognition from your local community and sponsors I would say reference to the team number is less important.
I actually think that the branding should include both.
For example at competitions, the match schedules only have your team number. Rankings and OPR statistics on TBA also really only reference the team number (I know you can link to the team page from the team number on the event ranking page). So you want people to recognize your team number when they see it in these contexts. You want your branding to create a link between your team number and your team name and the team itself so that when people see your number on the match schedule, they will recognize you.
In terms of higher numbered teams, 6055 BOSS and 5509 Like a Boss are some of the more creative uses of the team number where the number has some relevance to the team brand.
I think branding is critically important, and it’s important to support as much brand recognition as possible. Incorporating a consistent color scheme in everything (robot, team uniform, pit, logo, etc), incorporating your name and team number and logo everywhere you can. Sadly, there are teams I’ve known for a long time that I couldn’t tell you what their team number is, but I know their team name. There are teams I know their number, but can never remember their name. One of my local teams decided to get different colored shirts for champs a couple of years ago… I walked right past their pit 3 times looking for them, all because I didn’t recognize them in their new color.
For my team, our team number is baked right into our logo, as is our team name. The color scheme is consistent with our team uniforms, our pit, and our robot (I actually received several comments this year that our robot was the most recognizable they saw on the live stream!). For teams we normally compete with, we’re extremely recognizable and pretty hard to miss. You can see it all pretty clearly in our mid-season team newsletter.
One other thing to consider - when talking with people outside of FIRST, the team number can be used to help open up the conversation about how large the program is. You aren’t just participating in a small, random competition - this is a big, international competition with thousands of teams!
Here’s a screenshot of one of our internal documents on branding, it shows what we believed to be the 3 types of logos teams use, whether it’s image, text, or number centric (Not to say that these are each of these teams Official logos, just examples of what each logo type would look like on various teams). So depending on your team name & number I feel like you’d have to decide on what works best for you, or what would create the most consistent, recognizable, and professional image that would be easy to use in all forms of media.
Please have your number printed visibly somewhere on the front of your shirts. It can be elsewhere as well, but if it’s visible on the front of your shirt, every team and volunteer will know which team you are without having to ask.
At FIRST events this is very important so teams can recognize you for pre-match meetings and any other reason anyone would want to talk to a team member at events. Please please have your numbers on your shirts. Logo is really up to you, it works both ways.
Outside FIRST events in the community, the number usually means nothing and you are probably better off just advertising your school or sponsoring organizations.
I think it depends partly on how distinctive your team name and aesthetic are. If you’re the Robo[animals], or the Vikings, or another fairly common name, you’ll want to make your number prominent. Same if your color scheme is blue and white, or red and black, or something else pretty ubiquitous.
My old team branded ourselves as “Team 3255, The SuperNURDs”, and had the team number semi-prominently on our logo (not dominating it, but easy to find). Our general aesthetic (superman theme, red/yellow/blue, capes) was very distinctive locally, but at Champs we were constantly mistaken for SPAM (who has a similar aesthetic). My current team brands ourselves as “The Apes of Wrath”, and our team number is a small detail of our logo (lots of people miss it). The only time we’ve had a case of mistaken identity was when we were confused with a team with a very similar number (668 and 6688), so there could be an argument for making our number a more prominent part of our branding.
Team number should definitely be very prominent in a shirt and pit. We go by the rule that if a robotics team would see it, it should have our number to identify it. It’s definitely no fun hearing, “Hey, are you guys a resurrect team” twice in one season because no one knows who you are, even though you’ve been active 10+ years.
We were considering going up to SPAM and asking for 3255 shirts this year (to even things out), but decided against it.
By 195’s branding slide there, I’d say we advertise our number and logo first, and our team name second. Within our local community, I’d say that people probably refer to us as “Paradox” more than “2102”. Globally, we’re the least recognizeable of the three “Paradox” teams (5414 and 1325 OP, please nerf) so we’re probably better known as “2102” by non-San Diego teams.
I don’t know that we’ve specifically thought through any of this and deliberately marketed one or the other though, and it’s an interesting topic.
Just look for the HEX!
And it wasn’t just one year, we ran different color shirts in 2013, 14, 16, 17. And yes, even I couldn’t find us when we had Orange shirts.
To please our fans, we are now Black (with white, silver and sky blue for our trim colors).
As for the importance of numbers, I would strive to design with them in mind. Our numbers are typically in the middle of the HEX below a prominent “C.I.S.” when on our shirt. Other items may just have the HEX with “C.I.S.” in the middle.
I would do as others before have stated, lay out your team branding requirements either before or during the branding process. Look to The Holy Cows for inspiration.
Team numbers are everywhere. They should be prominent on your branding, at least until you become an elite team and everyone recognizes your logo and shirt color from across the arena.
Here’s where you see your number.
Above the driver’s station.
On the bumpers.
In the schedule.
On the ranking screens.
You’re even introduced by team number first, before team name.
Your goal is to get people to see your team number and think or say your team name.
Another thing to consider is that consistency is important, as well as being able to quickly identify the team from a distance. Our team redesigns our shirts every year and the front of the shirt changes. DOH! Sure it has the number, name and logo on it each year, but it never gets burned into anyone’s memory. The other unfortunate thing is that in Michigan, it seems that every team is wearing dark colors, so our dark blue shirt in a sea of dark colors doesn’t stand out like the yellow shirts of 27 and 33, or the neon green of 217. 5053 has a unique shirt that is quick and easy to identify from the other side of the arena. The first thing you’ll see from a distance is the color and style of the shirt, then the logo or then the number, whichever is larger.
If a team is going to pick you to be on their alliance, they’re going to call your team number.
I’ve seen once or twice that an alliance captain said, “We want team [TeamName]” and the MC had to ask what the team number was.
Totally up to you, its makes more sense to not include the number if your team also does other programs in FIRST like FLL or FTC, but if you are just doing FRC, associating your team name and number together in your brand(logo especially) will result in a better familiarity among other teams, and possibly, your outreach demographic.
Thank you all. Although not the reason for my question, I can never remember any team’s number and it drives me crazy at competitions. I am constantly asking “which team is that?” when I hear a number.
Whatever your team chooses to do, stick with it for at least a few years. When teams rebrand, it takes time for the rest of the community to figure out “where did team X go and who is team Y”.
Please also use some imagination when choosing your team name. I remember a match at one of our local events with 3 teams with the word “Spartan” in their name.