Let's review the FIRST Logo Standards

All right everyone, I’ve seen so many picture with FIRST’s logo in it, I believe it’s time to review FIRST’s logo standards: http://www.usfirst.org/4vol/resourcectr/downloads/FIRSTlogoStandards_Q.pdf

FIRST has asked nicely for everyone and every team to follow their logo standards, which includes,

Logo protected area

Focus and strong visual impact are achieved by keeping a “quiet” space around our logos. The minimum protected area, or clear space, is determined by the height of the letters within the logo shown as “X” in the diagram on this page. It serves as a barrier to keep away distracting imagery of any kind, including typography (words), photographs, illustrations and other graphic elements. The protected area also determines the minimum distance a logo can be placed from paper edges or folds of printed materials.

Minimum logo size

The determined minimum logo size assures proper legibility. Do not reproduce our logos below these smallest acceptable measurements.

Do not alter the logos

Do not reconfigure or change
the size of any part of our standard
logo versions.

Do not alter or recreate (typeset)
the lettering within the logos.

Do not distort or in any way change
the logo proportions.

Do not change the logo colors.

Do not create 3D logo versions, or
apply any visual effects, including
drop shadows, glow, blur, etc.

Do not add outlines to our logos
or create complete outline versions.

Do not place our logos within any
graphic shapes.

Do not obscure and weaken our
logos by placing them on visually active
background patterns, strong textures
or incompatible shades of color.

Do not use the lettering (wordmark)
from the logos as a word.

Do not use the logos as a word
within text. Remember, they are a
part of our visual expression.

FIRST typefaces
Our preferred typefaces or fonts create
the desired balance between our logo and
verbal communications. The particular styles
of sans serif Helvetica and serif Garamond,
lend themselves to creative and flexible

I haven’t been around the competition the past two years, so I don’t know if these logo standards are still in effect. But unless someone can tell me they aren’t, I strongly recommend everyone to review and follow FIRST’s logo standard.

You and I may not like all these restrictions for the FIRST logo, but just because we don’t like it doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want. That’s why even though there’s a lot of work involved, I’ve started editing an old logo that have the old FIRST logo in it to follow the new standards.

If, on the other hand, my mind is out-dated and these standards are no longer in effect, then you can slap me silly and I will admit to being old :p.

I realize there has been other threads discussing this issue, but I would like to bring this up again, and see if FIRST has made any clarification to their position on the logo standards. Another discussion can be seen here: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47676, but I’ve decided to bring this issue front and center in the General Forum.

I understand there is a lot of grey area when it comes to using FIRST’s logo, but I would really like to see a clear guideline on exactly what we are allowed and not allowed to do. I am feeling very uncomfortable when I keep seeing new pictures with FIRST’s logo in it that doesn’t follow the standards.

If FIRST say they are fine, then let’s tell everyone it’s fine. Otherwise, there is no clear cut on how the FIRST logo is supposed and not supposed to be use.

Has anyone heard anything new since the last discussion we have on this issue?

With the new logo, it’s one step further.

The new logo is copyrighted. That means that you may only use it in the versions provided by FIRST. Even stricter than Ken’s old, out of date stuff (;))

Please be respectful of the copyright guys. It’s legal, they went to the extent to get it that way for a reason…


i mean, our team’s logo contains a triangle, a circle, and a square, but they’re SHAPES meant to imply the FIRST logo, it’s not like we magled the actual logo.

if ya wanna see it, check out


see? we didn’t take the logo and do anything to it, we just IMPLY that it’s there.

i think that’s legal? correct me if i’m wrong.

On these lines, I’ve noticed quite a few people with the little bar graphics in their signatures. One of them is a FIRST logo that I’m pretty sure doesn’t follow the FIRST logo guidelines…

If I am not mistaken, copyrights apply to public usage of text, images, etc. You can make a copy of an entire novel to read yourself, and as long as you do not redistribute or sell copies you are within the limits of the copyright. Using the FIRST logo on websites and other public media is one thing, and in these cases the standards should obviously be followed. But having a little fun with Photoshop and creating something with a creative message is quite another thing, and I do not think that we should be jumping on everyone that posts a picture containing a slightly modified logo.

To comply with the standards I have purposely flawed the link in my sig.

As soon as you post it online in public domain, wouldn’t that then be a form of redistributing it?

The internet is always an iffy ground. But you have to look at context. Is the person posting the picture for people to enjoy? Or to market and sell? How many people here have altered the logo in inappropriate ways, not just standard-breaking ways?

I love to see people be creative, and I love to see people have fun. In fact, I didn’t even start this thread to say, “Hey, what you did is wrong! Stop immediately and delete it from the gallery!” Some even noticed in my profile is an avatar with a little circle, triangle and square in it, to which my unofficial respond is, I don’t think FIRST can copy right a circles, triangles, and squares, and an official repond of, I am working very hard to find a replacement! :wink:

I think there’s no harm in students doing a little work in photoshop to show how much FIRST spirit they have, I am all for that kind of thing. That’s not the issue.

The issue is that, point #1, the way I read it, FIRST’s logo standard clearly says: Use our logo this way and this way only, do not use it any other way.

I don’t like that standard anymore than you do. I think there’s no harm in a little fun every once in a while. But I respect FIRST’s desire to keep a certain standard in their logo. And, as long as the rule is written that way, I have no choice but to remind people to keep reading the logo standard.

Point #2 is, if in fact this logo standard does more harm than benefit when it comes to creative work and showing FIRST spirit, then how can it be worded differently to maintain a balance between keeping the logo standard in a professional level and giving everyone a break when it comes to creativity and having fun?

And finally, point #3 is, if there is a way to word the logo standard differently for the effect described in point #2, then what can we do to ask FIRST nicely about changing their standard? And why hasn’t FIRST been thinking about this if they know teams are having difficulties when it comes to their logo standard, or whether they are aware of the difficulties at all?

This seems to come up every two or three months…

It is NOT copyrighted. It IS trademarked. In fact, it has been a federally registered trademark since 2001. I’m not sure what the “new logo” is, but I can’t find it on the USPTO database. The new FRC version of the logo has not been posted to TESS yet, if FIRST has even filed for registration.

I encourage participants on CD to stop giving instructions on the use of trademarks if you don’t really know what you are talking about. The rules are simple, specific and well-understood, but are not usually taught in high school or college. The instructions for use of the FIRST mark are typical of what all companies request. It’s pretty much a cut-and-paste of about 10,000 other mark-usage instructions. If you are using the mark on promotional material, shirts, signs, robots, your Website or any other “official” use, I strongly suggest you follow FIRST’s guidelines. It’s their mark.

If you want to Photoshop it and share it with your friends and post silly pictures to CD, I certainly don’t see any harm, and, generally speaking, if you change the mark enough that it has obviously been altered (like using different colors, changing the shapes and altering the text to “TEAM XYZ”) I don’t think they would even have a legal right to ask you to change it. The world is full of Coke mark parodies that have not been banned (as hard as Coca-Cola has tried). The key thing is that I suggest that GP would require you to only mess with the mark in respectful ways. If you just want to use the word “FIRST” – go ahead and have fun. US FIRST does not have a trademark on the word “FIRST,” just on the complete logo with the geometric symbols.

Team 1923’s logo refers to the FIRST logo, it is clearly not an infringement on the mark. I hate to sound rude, but the FIRSTWiki globe, is specifically in violation of the mark owner’s guidelines on usage. I wonder if anyone at FIRST has noticed and/or cares?

I’m sure they (FIRSTWiki) have gotten in touch with FIRST and have gotten their approval to use the logo in such ways, or in such ways have created their own and submitted it to FIRST for their approval.

I believe you’re referring to the FIRST userbar. But part of the FIRST logo was also in the popular Championship Divisional Userbars. Granted the divisional userbars did use the official FIRST logo, they did not include the appropriate logo protected area. With the start of this controversy, and to be in agreement with these rules, I have removed the FIRST userbar from my signature as well.

You know, that’s a good point—after all, if you look at various FIRST-sanctioned uses of the logo, they don’t always respect their own guidelines, indicating that maybe they don’t actually care. That is their right, as owners of the logo, but it could be problematic if they were ever in a position to defend that ownership it in court.

What about animations? I know probably >30% national level animations have some kind of modification / inaccurate use of the FIRST logo

I think this is one of the reasons why FIRST should update/ammend/re-word their policy. Obviously, if there had been a problem with the inacurate or modified logos in the animations, FIRST would have said something about it (probably in one of the updates or something).

I wouldn’t be too worried about it, though.

I guess it is there just in case another group takes the logo and uses it in a clearly mocking manner or just to steal the logo as their own FIRST has the ability to take legal action.
How many times has this been brought up? 6+?

This is why corporate owners of marks defend them rabidly – if they ever DIDN’T defend them, they might lose them. This is probably why Hormel asked S.P.A.M. to insert the stupid periods in its name. They (probably) didn’t care that a small group of high school students called themselves “Spam,” but they couldn’t officially say yes without abandoning some rights to their mark. Likewise, when the Navy gave 1294 permission to use the Top Gun mark, they asked us to make a change to it so that it wasn’t exactly the same as theirs. If you look closely, the team number is added near the nose of the jet – changing the mark and relieving the Navy of the responsibility of protecting it. (This was an amazingly nice thing of the Navy to do. Good on them.)

Would the rules that govern the use of the current FIRST logo also apply to the older FIRST logo? :confused:

Actually because it is the old first logo, they are free to use it any way they want. There is nothing guarding the old logo.