Digital Design Tools Simplify Marketing Extension Programs

DIGITAL DESIGN TOOLS SIMPLIFY MARKETING EXTENSION PROGRAMS
S. Carnevale, UF/IFAS Extension, Polk County, Bartow, FL; A. Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension, Polk County, Bartow, FL; L. Milligan, UF/IFAS Extension, Pinellas County, Largo, FL

Situation: Designing attractive flyers, posters, social media posts, and other communication publications is a skill many Extension Agents wish they had or could improve upon. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic for most agents and staff to pursue higher education in the field of graphic design or marketing. To help fill that gap, UF/IFAS Communications provides free or reduced cost services to Extension Agents in need of graphic design or marketing work. This is a valuable service for Agents and their programming. However, Agents regularly find themselves in the position where they need to alter a design at the last minute, create something from scratch with a short timeframe, or are looking for a small item like an Instagram post which might be unrealistic for IFAS Communications to help with on a regular basis. Approach: Using web-based design tools freely available online, Agents and Staff can create quasi-professional designs with little or no training or graphic design skill. Finding a tool which can meet a specific design need can be challenging, time-consuming, and frustrating; therefore, most Extension Faculty and Staff rely on word of mouth to learn about new products or tools which are user-friendly and freely available.  Findings: This poster will highlight two such web-based tools: www.canva.com and Adobe Spark. These web-tools require little or no training to produce beautiful flyers, posters, social media images, and more. Additionally, they have graphic design inspired fonts, graphics, and image alterations available for no charge or a small fee. Both programs allow for the use of logos and personal photos, allowing agents to stay within UF/IFAS Communication’s branding recommendations. Conclusion: By sharing this information with the South Central District, this poster will reduce the burden on Extension Faculty and Staff to produce high-quality marketing materials in a short timeframe and with a low budget.

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