Preparing for your Qualifier: Essential Items  CLICK HERE 
Get Great Images for Your Team or Event:.  LEARN MORE HERE  
Why won't my robot run straight!.  LEARN MORE HERE  
Great new articles from RobotMats.  LEARN MORE HERE  

Fundraising Resources/Corporate ID

There are a number of great, clever ways to get people's attention. Here are some of the ones we've used.

SNAG 0070 AllLogosHere are most of the logos from the past 8 years. Some were designed by the students and professionally finished. Others were created for the team. All were created with input from the students.

We hope they will give you some ideas to kickstart your teams corporate ID project!

CLICK READ MORE BELOW TO SEE THE LARGE VERSIONS OF EACH LOGO.

image005Photos and video are the best way to communicate with your parents, sponsors, and the rest of the world.

Your goal is to make it fun, tell a story, capture the action. Freeze the moment of success, failure, and learning.

What You Must Accomplish

The founder of TechBrick Robotics has compiled an extensive guide to help you plan for, take, and manage great images of your event.

The guide is free with a simple registration and includes other bonus items including a very good Excel show planning tool. Get it here:  https://enktesis.com/photoguide

Your goal is simple: Tell the story well.

Along the way, you must try to get every team and participant in at least one picture if not more. Why? People love pictures of people they love. You’ll also be looking for those moments of triumph and learning and failure that illustrate the outcomes of this effort: To teach young engineers. You will be looking for smiling, engaged children and helpful adults. You will be looking for hard working, compassionate volunteers in all areas. You will be looking for innovative research and design. You will highlight the amazing facilities that schools and organizations make available to these programs. You will record the excitement of the spectators and messages of the special speakers. And you will record all that on ‘film’ to preserve the day, the outcome of months of hard work, for the teams, mentors, and parents.

And you will become an important part of the event and its success.

Just because we take billions of photos every day doesn't mean we get billion of great photos. Photography is an art, a learned skill, and a unique way to see the world.

The guide includes:image001

  • What You Must Accomplish 3
  • Maryland Organizations 4
  • Rulz 6
  • Organizing Your Shoot 7
  • Planning Your Event 11
  • Specific Shot Instructions 12
  • Basic Composition Guidelines 14
  • Justin Kase Conder: Great Images 26
  • Sorting and Editing Photos 27
  • All the Shots 28
  • Brief Notes on Shooting Video 30
  • Software Resources 31
  • Planning a ‘Day of Event’ Video 32
  • Sharing Your Work 33
  • Sample Event Videos 34
  • Sample Photos 35

The guide is free with a simple registration and includes other bonus items including a very good Excel show planning tool. Get it here:  https://enktesis.com/photoguide

The best way to improve your photography is to study great photographs. Justin Kase's portfolio is an astounding set of images from all over the world.

Justin1I met Justin when he was hired to photograph our family for an article in a magazine. We maintained a friendship over the years and I’ve followed his adventures as he traveled the globe covering almost every country in the world. His work is amazing, and I suggest you peruse his site and ask, for each picture, what makes this a moving, compelling, emotional image.

You can view his work here. The instagram images include many of the stories behind the photographs.

Here are two other sites with collections of great photographs:

Time Life: The Most Influential Images of All Time: http://100photos.time.com 
CNN: 25 of the most iconic photographs: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/01/world/gallery/iconic-images 

We wanted to try something different this year to promote our team. So instead of bringing our photobooth we created TechBrick TV. In order to make it seem 'professional' we made the standard items we associated with sports broadcasts.

View our posts on FaceBook to see what we did:  
https://www.facebook.com/techbrick

Click "Read More" for Details

https://www.esigns.com/

With sites like eSigns there is not excuse to not look great.  They can do banners, backrops, banner stands, and much more.

It can be as cheap as $39.99 for the "Awesome-X 63.0"x23.5" Banner Stand, 1-Sided" banner stand.

https://www.esigns.com/banner-stands/awesome-x-63x23-1-side/

We use the "Double Step Retractable 74"x24" Banner Stand, 2-Sided"

https://www.esigns.com/banner-stands/double-step-74x24/

Take a look around. Affordable, fast, great customer service.

Here is our new xstand for this year:

BannerStand2017 18

Here is our banner stand at the Battle o Baltimore scrimmage. Looks great, simple to setup and take down, and uses very little floor space.

BoB2017 20170923 07 57 52 P1010420

https://foldfactory.com/

If you have a little extra money and someone with graphic design talents try doing a super creative brochure. FOLD FACTORY has the most amazing folds and brochures that WILL get attention.

Be warned: You need someone who is a professional graphic designer to pull this off, but it's worth it.

Check out the site and all the cool options.

You've worked hard to prep your team. You've paid your fees, made your plans, spent hours in preparation. Why not look like a million bucks? 

Production Options for Team Clothing

  1. PREFERRED: Use a Direct Print Vendor:  These vendors can print you logo and customization to each shirt in full color. The process is direct print in which they inkjet with permanent ink directly onto your item. And, they offer hundreds of items that can be customized with your logo.
    1. PROS: One design can be applied to many items. Each item can be customized without penalty (for example, we make a shirt for each person with their name). Online system is easy to use. Quick turnaround (2-4 days). Good quality garments (even our shirts from 4 years ago are still going strong). You can open a free store if you want just one one of each item (no customization) Basic stores (unlimited items) are about $6 per month. But you can close the store after the season.
    2. CONS:  Really none except cost. A typical shirt will cost  $14-17 or more but you only have to make what you need (no minimums).
       
  2. Make a sponge print template for custom shirts. This year our FLL teams are going to use generic t-shirts and use sponges and brushes to color their logo. To do this you need to use a local sign shop that can digitally cut out the template. The key is that you cannot have any floating elements (like the center of an "O'). You have to connect them. This will create similar shirts that are each unique.
     
  3. Do it Yourself: Using any number of iron on materials from a variety of vendors you can make great shirts yourself. There are now iron on transfers for light and dark shirts. The key to getting these to work is to FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.
    1. PROS: Do it at home, can be done in a night. Can be done  in color (any thing you can design). Can be customized (since you are printing a graphic for each shirt).
    2. CONS: More expensive than you would expect (materials, ink, shirts).  You will spend, between ink, iron-on, and the shirt, at least $10 per item. Prone to error (which means you typically have to discard the garment). Relatively short wear life (may break up or fades after a few washings. Time consuming (doing 10 shirts will take you a few hours).
    3. WHERE TO FIND SUPPLIES:  Your local Staples, BestBuy, Office Depot, etc. will have the iron on inkjet material. Shirts can be purchased from local sports stores or Wal-Mart/Target (for white). Shirts should be 100% cotton for best results.
       
  4. Use a Silk Screen Vendor: Silk screening is a process that uses inks pressed through screens into the garment. The screens provide a mask for the design.
    1. PROS: Relatively low cost in 1 or 2 colors. Can be put on almost any type of garment. Shops will offer a wide range of garment choices (which effects cost) Extreme garment life (image will rarely fade or crack). In large quantities (48+) this is a very affordable way to make shirt. You can often go to full color screen printing at this level
    2. CONS: Limited colors (fixed range).  No customization (every shirt is the same). Expensive with more than 2 colors. Typically must be ordered in large quantities to be affordable (24 or more). Set up fees are typically charged. Delivery time is typically 10-14 days for most shops.
    3. WHERE TO FIND VENDORS: Start in your local area. There are silk screen shops in almost every town and it's good to buy locally. After that, check online.

Tips for graphic design

Designing good graphics for your team's shirts is not difficult. Each site provides templates for each item (or class of items). Here's our suggested tools.

  1. Buy Adobe Photoshop Elements: This is Adobe's basic image editing software and it can be purchased for less than $100 (it is often bundled with Premier Elements for $150. Premier is a very good video editing package). It's available at almost any technology/office store.
     
  2. Create Graphics at the Actual Size at 300 dots per inch (pixels per inch) in RGB (Red/Green/Blue) color model. Cafe Press offers templates for each item that you just need to open in Photoshop and then add your graphics.
     
  3. Understand the limitations of the printing processes: 
    • For silkscreen you typically can only use solid colors. The more colors, the more expensive. Also, not all colors you see on your screen can be printed with inks. Check with your vendor for color palettes.
    • For Direct Print On Light Shirts remember that your shirt color is your 'paper color.' Most of are used to designing on white (paper). However, your shirts will typically not be white so the colors are additive. That is, for example, yellow color in a light blue shirt will produce a greenish tint. Also, anything that is "white" in your art will be transparent (hence the shirt color). So it best to create a mockup by putting the logo on a sample shirt graphic and removing all white from your logo.
    • For Direct Print on Dark Shirts you can almost do anything you wish. The process works by putting down a white mask and then printing on top of it. There a few issues to consider:
      • The shirts are not as durable as direct print to light shirts.
      • The printed areas don't breath and become hot or sweaty in warm/sunny situations.
      • They are typically more expensive.
         
  4. Make sure you have good starting graphics: You can download Postscript version of the FIRST logos for all programs. Postscript logos (ai, ps, eps, and pdf extensions)  can be converted to images at any resolution.
     
    1. For your team's Logo:
      Ideally it should be created in Illustrator or Freehand as a postscript, vector based graphic. This will let you apply it to any item at any size and allows for transparency. These can be converted to images at any resolution through PhotoShop. Have fun. Use color. Be creative. Hire a local graphic designer if you don't have the skill set on your team.
       
    2. For US FIRST resources go to:  http://www.usfirst.org
      Choose your program then choose "Marketing Tools" from the menu.
      Be sure to review the Intellectual Property Document from US FIRST. Specifically Section II paragraphs 1 and 2.

Happy designing! Let's see a sea of great shirts this year....

// Marco

There are many many sites that now do shirts on demand. Each has it's own unique features. Some sites will do dark shirts front and back, others will not. Some will print on sleeves, and other features. We suggest you look at a few, create a sample shirt to get an idea of costs, the pick the one that works best for you.

Great Shirt Sites for Direct Printing

Totally Cheap Tees (Online):
Very good prices
http://whitemountaintees.com/

928-536-7705 to call them (White Mountain)  and ask for Tyler

JakPrints
http://www.jakprints.com/all-over-shirt-printing/ 
Amazing shirts printed edge to edge.

Café Press (Online)
www.cafepress.com

Zazzle (Online)
www.zazzle.com

Custom Ink (Online)
https://www.customink.com

Spreadshirt (Online)
http://www.spreadshirt.com

Vista Print
http://www.vistaprint.com
Bewildering array of items and clothing.
 

TechBrick Robotics
Forest Hill, MD USA
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD USA
http://www.techbrick.com

Contact Marco Ciavolino
info@techbrick.com
410.838.8264
©2017 Techbrick.com

FIRST®, FIRST® Tech Challenge, FTC®, FIRST® LEGO League, FLL®, Junior FIRST® LEGO® League, and JrFLL®, are jointly held trademarks of FIRST® (www.usfirst.org) and The LEGO Group, neither of which is overseeing, involved with, or responsible for this activity, product, or service.

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