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Read through the entire brand site to make sure you understand our standards, guidelines and how everything works in unison before creating Extension communication pieces with these assets.
If you have questions or issues, or if you’d like to suggest additional resources, contact our Marketing and Communications team.
Check back often as this toolkit will continually evolve with new assets and examples.
- CALS 101 Communication Planning Resources
- Digital Billboards
- Email Signature
- Email Templates (ActiveCampaign)
- Impact Resources
- Media Resources
- Online Store
- Research Poster
- Social Media Assets
- Stationery (Business Cards, Envelopes, Letterhead, Name Badges)
- Storytelling Resources
- Training Opportunities
- Video Assets
- Zoom Tools
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 very 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.
CALS 101 Communication Planning Resources
The CALS Communications team developed resources in an effort to make your life easier while making sure your department’s amazing stories get the coverage they deserve. The best way to save time is to be strategic, plan ahead and know our message – these will help get you started.
- CALS Comm 101 Workshops Page
- CALS Comm 101 Overview: Telling Our Story
- Monthly Communications Plan
- Post / Story Planner
- Audience & Content Map
- Q&A Template for Faculty and Staff
While these resources are geared toward a college-level approach, they are still valuable tools that can be adapted to support your Extension-related efforts, which helps drive the overall college and university mission.
Review the NC State Extension Brand Platform for a better understanding of our Extension-specific messaging.
You can use these templates (PowerPoint files) to create an event or program announcement slide for Billboard, the central system for displaying digital signs across campus.
To customize a template, choose a background color from NC State’s core color palette.
The expanded palette colors are also available in swatches within the template, but do not use these against Wolfpack Red.
Adjust the elements to best fit your content, write short copy that can be read quickly at a distance and then save the finished slide as a JPG or PNG of 1920×1080 pixels.
- White Background with Image (PPT) (View PDF sample)
- White Background – Text Only (PPT) (View PDF sample)
- Red Background with Image (PPT) (View PDF sample)
- Red Background – Text Only (PPT) (View PDF sample)
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 Signature
- See the above images above for examples of suggested signature layouts – you can choose to include or omit most details.
- You can add additional contact info, such as a fax line or mobile phone, if needed.
- 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, refrain from adding additional graphics/images under your signature. See below for guidance on social media icons.
Social Media Icons in Email Signature
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 Templates (ActiveCampaign)
Use our custom ActiveCampaign email templates to facilitate impactful, on-brand digital communications with your clients, partners and target audiences. 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.
REMINDER: Campus employees should use the NC State Extension versions as their default templates.
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 email@example.com.
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 tools and guidance below:
- Email Marketing Best Practices (NC State)
- ActiveCampaign FAQs (EIT)
- Creating and Sending an Email Campaign (ActiveCampaign)
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 (individual graphics for social media, etc.)
Find more resources at Extension Stats + Strengths.
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 guidance, refer to Tools for Communicating Local Impacts.
You can download NC State Extension logos all at once (organized by print and web/digital uses) or individually as needed.
The “Print” folder contains EPS and PDF files, which are the only logos that should be used for print. These are vector files, which will print cleanly at any size without loss of quality.
The “Web” folder includes JPG and PNG logos that can be used for Microsoft Office documents like Word and PowerPoint, or on websites.
Visit the Visual Identity section for NC State Extension for logo usage guidelines.
Templates and Helpful Handouts
- News Release Template (Word) (Google Docs)
- Use this template when developing a news release for your Extension program or initiative. 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
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.
CALS Communications Materials
- CALS Comm. Training Resources – collection of handouts that provide valuable guidance on media relations
- CALS Comm. 101 Workshops – archive of sessions focusing on best practices, tips and tools to ensure effective, on-brand storytelling
We are also available to assist with media relations and story development. Contact us or our team to learn more or discuss a media opportunity.
Director of Marketing and Communications | NC State Extension
Marketing and Communications Specialist | NC State Extension
Visit our official NC State 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 employees should use university-approved vendors (view list of licensed vendors).
Photos and Imagery
Utilize our photo galleries 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.
Find more information about NC State imagery standards.
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 source images as, “Courtesy of NC State Extension,” or something similar.
- Extension Brand Pics (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. These sites offer freely-licensed visual media content, though fees may apply in some situations.
- Wikipedia Commons
- Creative Commons
- National 4-H Photo Library
- USDA-ARS Image Gallery
- USDA | Flickr (see Harvest album for example)
- Normal 4×3 – Red Template
- Normal 4×3 – Black Template
- Wide 16×9 – Red Template
- Wide 16×9 – Black Template
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.
You can create research posters in two sizes using these PowerPoint templates. To create a custom size, first remove the header by selecting and cutting it, and then resize the slide. Once resized, paste the header back into the slide.
You may also create your own header using the NC State brick logo and the Arial typeface.
- 48×36 Presentation Poster (Preview as PDF)
- 36×24 Presentation Poster (Preview as PDF)
- 36×48 Presentation Poster (Preview as PDF)
- 24×36 Presentation Poster (Preview as PDF)
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 will 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 social media policy, how to officially register your account with the university, 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.
Social Media Channels Overview
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.)?
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:
More Graphics Tools
Review the following graphic elements for branding your social media channels. You are not required to use one of these specific images, but you should model your social media account imagery after these examples and guidelines. All images are pre-sized and upload-ready for your accounts.
Download a Photoshop file (.PSD) to create a profile image for your Extension social accounts. Make sure to use on-brand imagery and follow the guidelines in the Photos section.
YouTube banner images are more complicated than other social channels. We provide a sizing chart below to help you develop channel imagery per their guidelines.
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 two popular social media channels:
NC State Extension business cards are available through Wolf Xpress at any time. Extension Administration will cover the cost of a new employee’s first order of business cards; our vendor has the account information to invoice the cards appropriately.
The following examples are for NC State Extension campus employees (click to view):
How to Order
Download the business card layout of your choice, enter your contact information into the fields, and then save the completed form as a PDF file.
Submit your completed business card form (PDF file) to Wolf Xpress:
Wolf Xpress Print & Copy Services
NC State University
Campus Box 8116
Raleigh, NC 27695-8116
Wolf Xpress website
Fax | 919-515-7272
Email | Teri Hellmann
*Please allow up to 2-3 weeks for delivery.
We highly encourage employees to print letterhead in your office, as needed, or utilize our digital communication resources. For those who still wish to purchase bulk quantities of letterhead, you may place orders through Wolf Xpress.
- Download Letterhead 1-column template (View PDF sample)
- Download Letterhead 2-column template (View PDF sample)
- Order Online at Wolf Xpress
Employees may submit new or replacement badge requests any time using the online order form found below. NC State Extension administration funds the initial name badge for all Extension personnel at this time.
Contact the vendor directly if you have questions or issues regarding your order:
Visit our Extension Storytelling page for guidance and resources to help you develop effective stories and deliver more meaningful impacts.
Our departments have great stories. Working together, we can make sure the world hears them.
Once a month, the CALS Communications team hosts a workshop for all CALS departmental communicators and communications enthusiasts. These sessions focus on best practices, tips and tools to ensure we are on-brand and effective in telling our story. We also seek to provide a space for networking and discussion between communicators who might not otherwise come in contact.
NC State Extension Marketing and Communications also 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.
Video Editing Resources
The assets below will help you create consistent, professional NC State 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
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).
Opening / Closing Video Clips (Bumpers)
These clips should be used as the intro and closing frames for all NC State Extension videos. Alternatively, the transparent intro logo files provided may be superimposed over video as the video begins.
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.
Closed Captions & Transcription Services
We receive many questions about captioning, and the short answer is, “yes,” 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
Need help creating or editing a video?
Visit the CALS Communications Projects page to get started.
NC State 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 NC State Extension.
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).
NC State Extension Pandemic Response Video | We Still Grow N.C.
NC State Extension Annual Impact Video 2019-20
We Are NC State Extension
We Are NC State Extension (Condensed ver.)
- Zoom Video Conferencing Info and Tools (EIT)
- Zoom Security and Privacy (DELTA)
- Zoom Quality and Data Usage (EIT)
- How to Change Your Zoom Background
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
Comments or Questions
This site will be updated on a consistent basis to provide you with the most relevant and useful tools and information.
If you have suggestions for other resources or questions about using the current materials, please contact our team.