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- Digital Signage
- Email Signature
- Email Marketing (ActiveCampaign)
- Enclosure Slips
- Event Signage and Displays
- Impact Resources
- Marketing Handouts + Templates
- Media / News Resources
- Online Store
- Social Media
- Stationery (Cards, Envelopes, Letterhead, Badges)
- Video Assets
- Zoom Tools
Read through the entire brand site to make sure you understand the standards, guidelines and how everything works before creating materials. These assets are only to be used for official N.C. Cooperative Extension communications.
If you have questions or problems as you use these assets, or if you’d like to request additional resources and templates, please contact us.
DOWNLOAD OUR BRAND “CHEAT SHEET”:
Consistency is Key
Consistency is a basic and critical marketing concept that is often neglected. Consistency helps audiences know the materials are ours and attach that trust and value to Extension.
In print, this means consistent color schemes and the same logo, font and design elements. Electronic and broadcast media use consistent audio (theme music), video (opening montages) and design elements; and print media use consistent design marks.
Being a single entity within a group, such as a county center in a statewide network, can present a tug-of-war between consistency and customization. Creating your own ad formats and communications look is like starting at ground zero and building a brand from scratch.
Review our Visual Identity for more info on design standards.
Digital Signage Generator
EIT has developed a digital signage system for managing screens in Extension county centers, including a web tool to help you quickly create slides from built-in templates or your own custom designs:
Digital Signage Templates
Additionally, you can use the digital billboard templates below to create an event or program announcement slide for your county center screens. The brand style guidelines apply to all billboards. The only font family used should be Arial.
You can include a logo image as part of your email signature. When used this way, the logo should appear at the bottom of the email signature, below all of your contact information.
Adding the Logo to Your Email Signature in Gmail
- Download the logo image to your computer.
- Go to your email settings, then scroll down to the “Signature” section and enter your signature info in the text field. If you already have an email signature, verify that everything is correct.
- Note that a public-disclosure statement is the last element in the signature:
All electronic mail messages in connection with state business that are sent to or received by this account are subject to the North Carolina public records law and may be disclosed to third parties.
- To properly format your signature text, make sure you’re using the “Sans Serif” font at normal size.
- To insert the logo image, position your blinking cursor two lines below the last line of text in your signature. Click the Insert Image icon (next to the Link icon) to upload and insert the image file from your computer.
- Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
Guidelines for Email Signatures
- See the above images above for examples of suggested signature layouts – you can choose to include or omit most details.
- We highly encourage employees to include the name of their university (NC State University or N.C. A&T State University) in text.
- You can add additional contact info, such as a fax line or mobile phone, if necessary for clients.
- Remember that some email clients don’t display images; your contact information should always be in the form of text, not images.
- Do not use embellishments like italics or cursive in any part of your signature (only the “Sans Serif” font at normal size in Gmail settings).
- Don’t resize the logo image, and keep it on a line by itself without any other text or graphics on the same line.
- As a best practice, try to refrain from adding additional graphics/images under your signature. See below for guidance on social media icons.
Social Media Icons in Email Signatures
You can include approved social media icons that link to official university / Extension social media channels in your email signature. When used this way, the icons should appear at the bottom of the email signature, below all other elements including the Extension logo. Don’t resize the icons, and keep them on a single line together, without any other text or graphics on that line.
To include the icons as part of your email signature:
- Insert each icon in turn as explained above in step 4.
- Next, click on an icon to select it, and then click the Link button. In the “Edit Link” box that appears, paste the URL for the channel the icon represents into the “Web address” field and click “OK.”
- Do this with each icon in turn, until each icon links to its respective channel. Don’t include the icons in your signature without linking them in this way!
- Once you have added the icons to your signature and clicked “Save Changes,” send a test email to ensure the links are working correctly.Download Social Media Icons for Email Signature
Email Marketing (ActiveCampaign)
ActiveCampaign is a Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM) that replaces Constant Contact as Extension’s email marketing tool for counties and campus.
In addition to email campaigns, ActiveCampaign offers enhanced functionality for managing all digital communication and interactions with your audiences.
- Visit EIT’s Using ActiveCampaign page for detailed guidance on accessing and using your account, as well as training resources.
Branded templates are available to help you facilitate impactful, on-brand communications. County centers should use our custom N.C. Cooperative Extension ActiveCampaign templates by default.
Templates incorporate the partnership logo, font and colors to comply with our visual style guide — meaning you can focus less on design and more on meaningful content. Templates can be localized and customized.
Sample Templates for N.C. Cooperative Extension:
Have Questions About Your ActiveCampaign Account?
If you’ere unsure of how to access or use your ActiveCampaign account, or need help with other questions, contact the Extension Information Technology (EIT) Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We strongly encourage you to take advantage of EIT’s ActiveCampaign training before diving in. Find training information, step-by-step guidance and FAQs at Using ActiveCampaign.
Email Marketing Tips
Be mindful of how frequently you send emails to your audiences. Excessive contact will cause fatigue, leading recipients to ignore your messages. Find additional tips and guidance below:
- Email Marketing Best Practices (NC State)
- ActiveCampaign FAQs (EIT)
- Creating and Sending an Email Campaign (ActiveCampaign)
Download the enclosure slip template for inserting into mailings from your county center or program. The file can be edited in PowerPoint and printed with three enclosure slips per page.
Event Signage and Displays
Employees can quickly and easily order from a selection of N.C. Cooperative Extension signage and event branding materials from our state vendor, The Roberts Group.
Visit Event Signage and Displays for a list of some of the most requested resources, such as banners, county center signage and table covers. Our vendor can assist you with custom orders and finding additional products, from displays to decals.
- Explore our official N.C. Cooperative Extension store to find branded apparel. More details are available on the Online Store page.
- The Stationery section of this page outlines other related items, including business cards, envelopes, letterhead, name badges and “thank you” cards.
- Find impact reports and handouts at Extension Stats and Strengths, which can be downloaded and printed locally.
Use the university’s set of on-brand icons to add visual interest and illustrate important facts and figures within your web and print content. If using other icons, make sure they are clean and simple with a singular focus and color.
Icons can be changed to any color in NC State’s color palette. Either place a white icon on a field of color, or convert an icon’s color for use on a white background. Only use one color per icon. Icons should not be altered or combined.
For print projects, use the EPS/PDF files (called “vector” files) to ensure that icons print clearly at any size. PNG/JPG files should only be used on the web or in Microsoft Office programs like PowerPoint. Note that EPS files can be used in PowerPoint as well.
Print and Web files are available as .zip folders. Note that these folders are housed on Google Drive due to the file size – you will need to be logged in with your Unity ID to access the files.
Extension Core Program Area Icons
Extension created unique icons to visually represent each of its three core program areas: Agriculture, Food and Nutrition, and 4-H Youth Development.
Use these icons as needed when developing materials – both web (PNG) and print (EPS) files are available via Google Drive.
In order for Extension to remain relevant and successful for years to come, it’s important that our stakeholders recognize the value of our programming across the state. Whatever the challenge, we never stop delivering on our promise to improve lives and grow North Carolina.
Ideally, your team will have drafted a local marketing plan to guide your efforts (we can’t overstate how important this is to optimizing your resources and maximizing your marketing impact), at which point the resources below can help you promote your programs and grow awareness of Extension’s impact.
Extension Stats and Strengths
Our primary impacts webpage features a variety of annual impact resources that offer the latest details and data regarding our statewide efforts.
- NC State Extension Annual Report 2021-22 (Accessible PDF | Digital Version)
- NC State Extension | Annual Impact Handout 2021-22
- Extension Impacts Booklet (1-pager version)
- Extension Impact Graphics
- Find slides and graphics, including customizable templates, for local screens, social media and more
Find more resources at Extension Stats + Strengths.
County Economic Impact Materials
Find templates for digital slides and an infographic handout that can be customized with local data. Use the spreadsheet linked below to find data for your county. Additional icons and Extension impact data are available to use as needed.
- County Economic Impact Data 2021 (Spreadsheet)
- Extension County Economic Impact Slide Templates (PowerPoint)
- Extension County Infographic Handout Template (Word)
Other Impact Tools
- *Local Impact Handout Template
These 1-pager templates include a front page with annual Extension impact info, while the back page is completely customizable for highlighting local efforts.
- *Pandemic Success Story Handouts
There’s an ongoing need to demonstrate Extension’s impact during these challenging times. Find a set of success story handouts – which can be localized – featuring key efforts in core programmatic areas.
- We Still Grow N.C. | Extension Pandemic Response Stories
*To download resources from Google Drive, select the files you want, then right-click and select “Download.” These are .DOTX files, which are Microsoft Word templates. When you open them, it will create a new Word doc (.docx) so you can save files without altering the original template.
For additional tools refer to Communicating Local Impacts.
You can view or download N.C. Cooperative Extension logos all at once (organized by print and web/digital uses) or individually as needed.
The “Print” folder contains EPS files, which are the only logos that should be used for print, as these vector files will maintain print quality at any size. Share these logos with vendors for promotional items like shirts, etc.
The “Web” folder contains JPG files, which can be used for Microsoft Office documents, like Word and PowerPoint, or for websites.
- Download Logo Files for PRINT
- Download Logo Files for WEB / OFFICE PROGRAMS
- Download Extension 4-H Logos
Review the Visual Style Guide for detailed logo usage guidelines.
View or download other university logos as needed:
Logos without Shadow
Individual Logo Elements
Marketing Handouts + Templates
General Overview Handouts
Download plug-and-play resources that provide an overview of Extension without the need for adding or editing content. Quick and simple tools for events, meetings or to share at local centers.
Customizable Word Templates
Choose from a collection of Word templates and customize with your content to create on-brand marketing documents.
Templates include the N.C. Cooperative Extension logo and space for county center or program identification. While the templates were developed with specific uses in mind, there is flexibility to use them for other purposes as needed – be creative!
Review the folder to find the following templates:
- 2 Cards
- 2 Local Reports
- 5 Fliers/Handouts
There are also two support files (NCCE.thmx and NCCE.xml) that should be downloaded with the template files. Store these wherever you file the templates on your computer. You can use the templates without the support files – you don’t need to open them or do anything other than file them away – but they help ensure that settings like our color palette and fonts function properly.
Each of the template files already includes the required equal opportunity statement. Employees may still need to add a certain statement(s) – a cost statement, for example – within the templates at times.
We’ve omitted these statements (except the non-discrimination statement, which must appear on everything) because the templates can be used for various purposes and may not require all of the same statement(s) each time. This also creates flexibility to place required statements where they fit best within your content.
Review the Referencing Extension page for guidelines on required statements.
Media / News Resources
Templates and Helpful Handouts
- News Release Template | N.C. Cooperative Extension (Word) (Google Docs)
- Use this template when developing a news release for your local Extension center or program. Please review the guidance below on news release best practices and working with the media before committing to a release.
- Telling Our Story – Extension Communications Tips Sheet
- Media Relations 101: Working with the Media
- News Releases 101: Tips and Alternative Strategies
- Guidelines for Agent Columns
If the opportunity arises to serve as a source for a media outlet (whether it’s a local newspaper or a national trade publication), take time to review these tips before providing an interview.
- Know who the reporter is and what organization they represent.
- Ask what the story will be about and when their deadline is.
- Determine whether you are knowledgeable to do the interview or if you need to refer to someone else.
- Develop three key messages and supporting points for these messages.
- Anticipate tough questions and practice answering them with your key messages.
- Don’t assume reporter knowledge; consider providing key points in writing.
- If a reporter asks a question that you don’t want to answer, bridge to a response that gets across one of your key messages.
- Be prepared. Stick to key messages, talk slowly and lead with the bottom line.
- Avoid “no comment.”
- Tell the truth.
We are also available to assist with media relations and story development. Contact us to learn more or discuss a media opportunity.
Visit our official N.C. Cooperative Extension store to find branded apparel. More details are available on the Online Store page.
*You’ll need to login with your Unity ID.
Apparel and promotional items may be purchased from other sources, but NC State employees should use university-approved vendors (view list of licensed vendors).
Photos and Images
Utilize our photo galleries as possible and always follow the style guidelines when creating marketing materials. Our images are copyright-protected, on-brand and should not be used for personal purposes.
Alternative Text (“Alt Text”)
Alternative text – also called “alt tags,” “alt descriptions” and “alt text” – is the written copy that appears in place of an image on a webpage if the image fails to load. This text helps screen-reading tools describe images to visually-impaired readers, and also allows search engines like Google to better crawl and rank websites.
Review guidance from NC State regarding alt text and how to utilize it effectively and responsibly on your websites:
Faculty and staff are expected to respect the intellectual property rights of others and refrain from copyright infringement. Copyright is a legal right to control the use of certain types of works, including text, graphics / photos, video, audio and many other forms of expression.
View NC State Copyright for more details and resources. Be mindful of copyright and utilize the tools on this site to avoid issues.
Images in these university and Extension galleries do not require attribution when used by employees. If sharing with an external entity like a media outlet, they can credit the university (e.g. “Courtesy of NC State University” or something similar).
- Extension Brand Pics (Google Drive)
Log into Google with your Unity ID to access the folders/files on Google Drive
- NC State Photos (All Galleries)
You must first request an account to download hi-res image files
Photo Release Form
- Photo and Publicity Release Form | NC State
Includes English and Spanish versions of the form
When needed, you can also consider exploring royalty-free image sites. This short list includes sites that offer freely-licensed visual media content, though fees may be applied to certain pics in some situations.
- Creative Commons
- Wikipedia Commons
- National 4-H Photo Library
- USDA-ARS Image Gallery
- USDA | Flickr (see Harvest album for example)
- Regular Presentation Template (4×3)
- Wide Presentation Template A (16×9)
- Wide Presentation Template B (16×9)
Extension Overview Slides + Templates
Download slides with general Extension information to insert into presentations as needed. Slides include basic overview details, Extension history, impacts and organizational metrics, as well as slide templates that can be customized.
- Extension Overview Slides and Templates (Preview slides as PDF)
Download as PowerPoint template file (.POTX) from Google Drive
NC State employees can also access tools and templates for Google Slides as part of the university’s G Suite services. Create, edit and collaborate with others on presentations from any device for free.
In an effort to improve the availability and distribution of printed Extension publications, we are continually revamping our service model to serve you.
Visit the Order Extension Publications page for the latest guidelines on requesting all printed publications, including the N.C. Agricultural Chemicals Manual, Pest Control for Professional Turfgrass Managers and others.
You can also view electronic versions of all publications via the NC State Extension Publications Resource Catalog.
Social Media Assets
Best Practices and Guidelines
This valuable resource will guide you in the use of social media for official university / Extension communications. The site also provides basic guidance on how to best use social media, including examples of practices and guidelines from various institutions that are intended to help you use social media effectively, protect your personal and professional reputation and follow university policies.
Refer to the NC State Social Media Site for the university’s official social media policy and other tips and tools. Connect with CALS + Extension Social Media Specialist Adriane Clark for more information.
What Not to Do on Social Media
Find guidance on strategic planning and content development – understanding your goals, using appropriate social channels, and creating content that is targeted to your audiences. This training will help you plan and coordinate your local social media efforts more effectively.
Graphic Design for Extension Social Media
Discover the basic design principles of our brand, tips for maximizing your impact and useful tools to assist with your local social media efforts in this presentation.
Social Media Channels Overview
Image and Photo Tools
Quickly load and resize your images for specific social media networks using this free tool from Sprout Social:
Find up-to-date image size guidelines for common social media networks below:
Extension Social Media Messaging Themes
Extension’s social media content should reinforce and fall within one or more of the following messaging buckets, which align with our brand drivers and provide optimal support for Extension’s marketing goals and brand identity:
- Best People (= Expertise, Profiles)
- Highlight our topical expertise and employees: we have the best people and customer service (e.g. employee stories/profiles, some Homegrown videos, etc.)
- Research-based Programs (= Content, Tools/Services)
- Spotlight key programs and their impacts: trusted, research-based efforts driving growth and prosperity across the state
- “Programs” = what Extension provides (tools, services, knowledge, etc.)
- Extensive Partnerships (= Outreach, Network)
- Tout our partnerships and vast statewide network: we’re in every community working with stakeholders to address timely issues that others aren’t equipped to manage
- Leader in Experiential Education (= Delivery/How, Helping clients transfer research into everyday application)
- Focus on the “how” / delivery aspect of our work: Extension provides individualized solutions (tools, resources, guides, events, etc.) that exemplify high-tech / high-touch, innovation, customer-oriented, localized
Social Post Checklist
- Does the post support how we’re growing the state / improving the lives of North Carolinians?
- Does it appeal to and/or is it timely or relevant to our audiences?
- Does it support one or more of our four strategic messaging themes?
- Could it cause negative impacts for partners or stakeholders (is there a chance it could deter consumers from engaging with certain products, activities, etc.)?
Social Media Analytics Tools
How can you track your Facebook and Twitter posts to see how they are performing? Learn how to capture useful analytics for your outreach on these popular social media channels.
Utilize the resources and guidance in this section to acquire branded stationery items for your local efforts.
*Note that county centers are responsible for all costs, with the exception of new employees’ first order of business cards and name badge. If you are invoiced for these new employee items, tell them to charge the Extension account on file and/or have them contact Justin Moore.
N.C. Cooperative Extension business cards are available through The Roberts Group at any time. Administration will cover the cost of a new employee’s first order of cards, just add a comment in the order form and the cards will be invoiced appropriately.
*The following cards are for NC State county employees:
- View Business Card | 1-column template
- View Business Card | 2-column template
- View Business Card | Two-county agent template
*N.C. A&T county employees should contact Anita Wright for guidance on ordering business cards.
Employees may order envelopes at any time; orders are no longer being placed centrally on a quarterly basis. Wolf Xpress is the official vendor of N.C. Cooperative Extension envelopes.
When ordering envelopes, please order directly through Wolf Xpress following the instructions outlined below. You needn’t send orders to Extension Administration or CALS Communications.
*Additional sizes are available upon request. Please allow up to 2-3 weeks for delivery.
We encourage employees to print letterhead as needed at your local office. However, if your office has insufficient print capabilities or you need larger quantities, you may place orders through Wolf Xpress for letterhead as well.
- Download Letterhead | 1-column template (View sample PDF)
- Download Letterhead | 2-column template (View sample PDF)
- Order Online at Wolf Xpress
- View Letterhead Pricing Sheet (Wolf Xpress)
- Letterhead listed at bottom of sheet
Employees may submit new or replacement badge requests any time using the online order form below. Extension administration funds new employee badges at this time.
Temporary Name Tag
Employees can download a template (PDF) for creating quick name tags for events and meetings. These are intended for temporary use by visitors or employees who need a badge on short notice.
Vendor contact information is also provided if you have questions or issues:
Thank You Cards
Employees have a few options for creating and/or ordering cards that can be used as announcements, greetings or thank yous. Below is a sample proof for a 5.5″ x 4.25″ folded card, which is available through our state vendor, The Roberts Group.
Pricing may vary over time, but The Roberts Group charges $0.25/ea. for 500 cards, plus an additional $0.10/ea. for blank white envelopes (total of about $175 for 500 cards and envelopes).
You can contact our vendor representative – Cody Williams (email@example.com) – to place an order.
Extension is covering the cost and providing access to SlickText for all counties interested in sending text messages to your clients.
Collectively, we can send up to 600,000 messages/year across all of Extension. Be mindful that your office’s use contributes to our statewide total.
How to Get Started
- County Extension Directors should complete this short SlickText Sign-up Form.
- EIT will create and manage your SlickText accounts (all users must be employees with Unity IDs).
- Employees should watch their email for an invite from SlickText and activate their accounts within one week.
- EIT will create one main textword for your county. A textword is like a list that contains your contacts. Your textword will be your county name. You’ll be able to request more specific textwords later, if needed.
- EIT will provide training and ongoing support. Find sessions and sign up in XLMS.
Contact the EIT Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-513-7000 with questions about SlickText.
Maximize Your Results
Unsure whether SlickText makes sense for your team? We encourage every county to develop a local marketing plan. Be strategic and purposeful with all communications.
Our planning process will help you identify your goals and target audiences, and whether texts may be an effective tool. If texts make sense, marketing planning will help you develop messaging and measure your results.
NC State Extension Marketing and Communications offers trainings related to our Extension brand, how it pertains to everyone’s efforts across the state, and how employees can utilize our marketing resources to connect with your audiences, promote your impacts and tell the story of your programs.
Find a sampling of our trainings at Extension Branding and Marketing Training Recordings.
Video Editing Resources
The assets below will help you create consistent, professional N.C. Cooperative Extension videos that build our brand identity across the state. Before getting started, you should review some key information regarding videos:
- Planning for a Video Series
- Tips for Creating Engaging Videos
- How to Get Your Videos on YouTube
“B-roll” refers to secondary footage that supplements your primary video, which is important in reinforcing the main topic and keeping the viewer engaged.
To request access to B-roll without watermarks, email email@example.com. Before completing any video project that uses NC State footage or marks, you must request a compliance evaluation from firstname.lastname@example.org. The turnaround for evaluation is five working days.
Lower Third Generator
This tool will help you generate an image file (JPG) that can be downloaded and used in your video as a text box for names/titles (i.e. a lower third).
Intro and Outro Bumpers
One of these graphics should be used as the intro and closing frames for all N.C. Cooperative Extension videos.
Click on the image above and then right-click to save the image to your local computer.
Click on the image above and then right-click to save the image to your local computer.
Click on the image above and then right-click to save the image to your local computer.
Click on the image above and then right-click to save the image to your local computer.
Closed Captions and Transcription Services
You must caption ALL public videos regardless of where they’re posted (YouTube, Facebook, website, etc.), per federal accessibility regulations. View Tips for Creating Closed Captions for more guidance.
The service we use in the state office is Rev.com, which is a reliable service that charges $1.25/minute to transcribe videos.
Alternatively, YouTube offers a tool for transcribing your own videos within the site after they’ve been loaded to YouTube. This is a free, but more tedious, process that works best for shorter videos or situations where you already have a script.
How to Caption Music and Sounds
Editorial Calendar / Seasonal Topics Planner
Download a sample template to use as a seasonal video topics planner and editorial calendar. Note there are two tabs at the bottom of the sheet. Consider loading your calendar on Google Drive to collaborate with team members and keep things on schedule.
N.C. Cooperative Extension Videos
These videos are housed on YouTube for easier embedding on sites and sharing with audiences through presentations, events or email marketing efforts that showcase our N.C. Cooperative Extension partnership.
To get the video link and access other sharing options, click the curved arrow icon at the top right of each video player box. Contact us if you need original video files (.mp4).
N.C. Cooperative Extension | Service Vision
Growing North Carolina with Our County Partners | N.C. Cooperative Extension
Margaret Spellings Touts Cooperative Extension’s Value to North Carolina
Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T
Download / Create Virtual Backgrounds
Download Zoom Virtual Background Graphics
Images available for N.C. Cooperative Extension and NC State Extension
NC State Virtual Background Generator
Create a virtual background image for use with web conferencing tools
How to Use Zoom Virtual Backgrounds
This site will be updated on a consistent basis to provide you with the most relevant tools and information. Please bookmark the page and check back regularly.