Your team branding is simply what makes your team YOU!

This could include team colors, a mascot, your uniform, your team’s mission and/or values. It is that extra special zest that makes you stand out as memorable in your community, to the judges, and other teams.

Why should our team do this?

Branding guidelines provides a list of expectations for your team to follow when representing your team in print or digitally (email, social media), to all of your stakeholders.  Consistent use internally and externally will help to reinforce the expectations. 

Maybe you need to improve your team’s consistent use of your branding elements? Is your team recognizable when you are out in your community? Can judges and other teams find you at competitions? Are your colors or fonts inconsistently used in team communications? Is the logo or name of your team not used properly? Is it too aggravating to find the correct files and information each time?

There are many benefits to pulling this information together into one document, in addition… in the time it takes to create these guidelines and make it available in a centralized location, you will more than make up for over the years of trying to find it over and over again.

  • What has been the most challenging to for your organization to be consistent about?
  • Is there new information?

How to document?

Perhaps have you have seen the extensive branding guidelines documents, like the FIRST Branding Guidelines created by FIRST. They include not just the logos, colors, and typography… but also how the logo can and can not be used, white space required, how the logos are used in organization stationary, the logo development story and more. This is is important for large organizations to maintain how their branding it utilized, but much more than your team likely needs.

A one-page branding document highlights the key information of your team’s image. Make the branding guidelines easy to access and you will make it easy for your team to create a consistent look of the graphics, marketing, and documentation of your team’s efforts.

What does a one page branding guidelines document include?

This can vary based on the needs of the organization. Generally they include a quick visual of the logo files available, a description, icons, fonts used in the logo or for design purposes, color values and more.

  • Logo versions available (full color, one color, etc)
  • maybe a description
  • icons
  • fonts
  • color values 
  • You can also include your mission statement and or values, if you like.

Why do we need to know different color values for our team colors?

There are four most common types of color values found in documentation: Pantone (PMS), CMYK, RGB and Hexadecimal. These color values have different purposes depending on the project. 

The pantone color is typical used in print projects.  Not all colors have a Pantone color match however.

CMYK is also used for print projects.

RGB and Hexadecimal actually represent the same value in two different syntax and are used in digital display as well as Microsoft and Google documents as the preferred method of setting custom colors. 

If you have one of the values, you can easily use an online color conversion tool like https://rgb.to/ to convert to the other values or closes to in the case of the Pantone color values. Print and digital values of colors may look slightly different because one is made of light and the other is a combination of ink colors. 

If you have team shirts and would like that to be your consistent team color, contact your shirt printer and ask them if they can give you a color value for the shirt color. 

How do I find fonts or complimentary fonts?

There are numerous avenues depending on your budget and needs. You may already have a logo with specific font(s) used. First, you want to find out what those fonts are. You can use a tool like:  https://www.myfonts.com/pages/whatthefont if you do not know.  It can not detect all fonts, but can usually find a similar font.

If possible you may want to use a free font, like a google font in your design or in your materials.  They are easy to find and safe for team members to download to their computers.  Also available for use on most websites.

What should I do with it when done?

There are a variety of options. You can put it in your team files drive, bookmark it in a Slack channel, print and post it in your build space or even post it to your website.  Whatever you do, make it accessible to your team so they can know what the expectations are. 

About the Author

Serving as a mentor since 2011, Elise Cronin-Hurley also served as a Team Lead of 4-H Exploding Bacon Robotics Team 1902 from 2016 - 2019.  She volunteers and judges at numerous FIRST events, on regional planning committees, with the FIRST Hall of Fame, and has conducted workshops on imagery, chairman's and team organization. By day she is a freelance web and graphic designer. Read More about Elise