Even Easier-to-Use CFAES and Extension Branded Images!

We have great news and not-so-great news this morning. Yesterday, we shared the link to a Buckeye Box folder that housed easy-to-use branded images. The not-so-great news: we’ve deleted this Buckeye Box folder. The great news? = the reason why! What we didn’t realize, was that this resource already exists! CFAES Communications now offers branded college and University background images, art, in addition to logos in .jpg and .png formats.

This 4-H Background image is one of many image resources available on the CFAES Communications site.

This 4-H Background image is one of many image resources available on the CFAES Communications site.

We apologize for the confusion. As we had mentioned in the previous post, if you have trouble using an image in it’s current format, do not see a desired image available, or just have a general branding question, please contact Jamie or Danae and we will help or contact the appropriate parties within the college.


Best Royalty-Free Image Sources


Images are a wonderful, and almost necessary, addition to blog and social media posts, marketing materials, and websites. A great photograph can help convey your message and grab your audience’s attention. Research suggests that social media posts, for example, garner more attention than text-only posts, but finding high quality and royalty free images can be a drag!

While a Google image search may help you in diagnosing a pest or plant disease, it is NOT a proper way to find images for use in marketing or educational materials. Many of the images you may find via Google image search are not licensed for public use. If you find an image online that you would like to use, but cannot find any licensing information, you should attempt to contact the original author for permission. Not receiving an answer from the author is not implied permission. If you do not hear from the author, it is best to find a suitable image licensed under Creative Commons.

If you need a refresher on the types of Creative Commons licenses and allowable image uses, you should watch this helpful video.

The following royalty-free image resources can serve as a starting point in your image search. This is not an exhaustive list, but the resources here offer fairly extensive image libraries that cover a wide range of topic areas.


Pixabay tends to be my first stop when looking for high quality stock images. I don’t always find exactly what I’m looking for, but the site offers thousands of images that cover nearly every topic imaginable (unless you’re looking for something ultra-specific). All images are released under the Creative Commons CC0 license as public domain and are free to use for both personal and commercial projects with no attribution required. Be careful not to click the subtle ShutterStock ads that will take you to the fee-based ShutterStock website.


StockSnap.io is a new (2017) stock photo website with tons of great images. From gorgeous images of food to business savvy photos for presentations, you’re sure to find a great selection of royalty-free Creative Commons CC0 images here.

Desktop with natural sunlight


PikWizard offers tons of great images across a diversity of topics. From technology to landscapes, PikWizard is easily searchable and offers tons of exclusive images you won’t find on another stock photo sites.

Foodies Feed

FoodiesFeed offers searchable, high quality, and beautifully colorful photos of food. You’ll find tons of well-composed photos of ingredients and prepared meals, but not many shots of people. No attribution is required for using the photos. I did notice images downloaded as very large files. The image below downloaded at a size of 9.4MB so I used Photoshop to resize to something more manageable (181KB).


Public Domain Archive

Public Domain Archive has a nice, though limited, supply of public domain images that are high quality and free to use. All images are released under the Creative Commons CC0 license as public domain and can be used for both personal and commercial projects with no attribution required.


Unsplash features a variety of high quality and searchable images. You can even subscribe to receive 10 new photos in your inbox every 10 days. All images are released under the Creative Commons CC0 license as public domain and are free to use for both personal and commercial projects with no attribution required. Below is an example of the great images available on Unsplash.


Free Images

Free Images offers many great images that are free for editorial purposes including education. When used for an editorial purpose you should provide proper credit to “FreeImages.com/Artist’s Member Name.”

Public Domain Pictures

Public Domain Pictures is a repository of free amateur images available for download. The free images are released under the Creative Commons CC0 license. Be sure not to click the many ads for fee-based stock photography sites.

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr offers millions of photos licensed under Creative Commons. You can search for images by each type of Creative Commons license. Always make sure to follow license restrictions for each photo you’re using.


Another great resource for free images is Getty, though you can only embed free Getty images on websites, blogs, or social media. You will not be able to use free Getty images for printing, PowerPoints, use in 4-H project books, etc.

RGB Stock

RGB Stock offers a lot of great stock photos, all with Creative Commons CC0 license. You will have to register for a free account to download images, but it’s worth it for free access to high quality images!

CFAES Photo Library

The CFAES Photo Library is a great place to find images that represent OSU landmarks, programs, and people.


If you’re looking for images of plants, insects, and plant diseases, Bugwood is one of the best! The database is searchable and offers tons of great species-specific images. When downloading and using Bugwood images, you MUST provide attribution. Images are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 and Creative Commons Attribution/Non-commercial 3.0. If you’d like to use photos for a commercial purpose (e.g. in a bulletin that will be sold), you must get approval from the image author.

If you’re ever in doubt about allowable uses for stock images, check out the website’s about page. Most sites offer additional information about the licensing of their images and appropriate uses.

Whether you take your own photographs or download images from stock sites, keep the following in mind:

  • Your images should be relevant to their use
  • You should use only high quality and in-focus images
  • When required by the image license, provide proper attribution
  • Never use an image without permission, unless licensed under Creative Commons

If you’re interested in creating great graphics with the images you find (without learning Photoshop), I encourage you to check out our blog post on Canva.

Questions? Contact Danae.


Want Up-to-Date Extension Tech Info? Follow us on Twitter!

Are you following your Ed Techs on Twitter yet? You should be! Follow Jamie and Danae for relevant tech information as well as updates on available trainings, workshops, and other happenings in Extension Ed Tech!


Follow Danae.

Follow Danae.

Follow Jamie.

Follow Jamie.

New to Twitter? We’ve got you covered! You can find a primer on Twitter here. Once you’re up and running it’s best to begin expanding your personal learning network. Here’s how.

How to Use Google Trends to Identify Local Interests

Google Trends, a Google tool utilized to aggregate search engine and news trend data, recently got an upgrade that allows data to boil down to a regional level per state. This is great news for Extension – it allows us to take a look at timely topics that matter most to people on a semi-local level. Here is are a couple examples of how we can use Google Trends in Extension programming:

I searched for three terms in Google Trends: 1) Food Safety, 2) Listeria, 3)Botulism. I was interested to see how many people used which term around the time of the listeria and botulism scares in Ohio. I limited the term search to just Ohio.

As you can see from the graph, the term “Food Safety” was searched for far less over the past 12 months than the terms “Listeria” and “Botulism”, even during the height of the news cycles for these topics. By including the terms that are most often searched for when blogging or posting on social media about timely information, we can make sure that Extension produced content is found by the people who need it.

Another example of how to use Google Trends to track a topic that has a growing interest: Kids and Screen Time. After plugging in “Screen Time” as a search topic over the past few years, here were the results:


According to the graph, this topic has increased in popularity since 2009. The dotted lines at the end of the graph represent Google’s “forecast” of how often Screen Time will be searched for in the near future. The letters on this graph represent when top news stories on Screen Time were posted. If you hover over each letter, information about who posted the story and the title will appear.

Here’s a look at how the topic of Screen Time compares between Ohioans and people who live in Michigan:

Ohioans search for "Screen Time" more often than people living in Michigan.

Ohioans search for “Screen Time” more often than people living in Michigan.

When “Screen Time” is broken down by region:

After plugging in search terms, locations, or simply exploring what topics people are most interested in, you can generate a shareable link to share the information or you can download as an Excel file. You can also embed individual charts and graphs into a blog post or website, like this graph showing all searches related to “Crops & Seed” in Ohio (hover over the line on the graph to see information):


Other Google Trend applications for Extension:

  • Put together an interactive informal “needs assessment” on specific topics to share with your County Commissioners.
  • Compare different topics in your region of the state to find topics of interest.
  • Share local interests on social media and ask for feedback from residents.

What are your ideas? How would you utilize Google Trends? 

How Different Generations Consume Online Content

Do Baby Boomers prefer to use internet browsers instead of their smartphones to look up information? Do Millennials want to receive more information via Twitter than any other source? Social Media Today recently published an article that lays out the answers to these and other questions about how different generations consume online content – down to the difference in time of day usage. The infographics in the post help to visually describe some of the gaps that exist between the different generations. However, with all of the differences that do indeed exist, one thing was constant: the “sweet spot” for word length looked to be 300 words… not a word more. Click the image below to go to the full post and view the entire infographic.

Source: Social Media Today

Source: Social Media Today

The PEW Research Center recently updated their social media use survey results, which are very useful in determining which social media platforms to use depending on your audience and topic. Despite assumptions that youth aren’t using Facebook, the study proved that to be wrong. Facebook is still way ahead of all other social media platforms in terms of usage. Other insights and info are in the full report.

How might this information change how you currently use social media to reach online audiences?

Formal vs Informal Learning Environments: Moodle or Blog?

POST method

With so many options available to Extension professionals to deliver educational information online, it’s difficult to know which tools and learning environments are more suitable for different curricula or program topics. Some tools available to us operate in a more formalized learning environment – like an online course for credit or certification. Examples of formal learning tools are Moodle or Carmen. Most Extension programs should not utilize Carmen, since participants need to have a name.# in order to access the course. Informal learning tools are blogging platforms (u.osu.edu), social media, educational webinars, Twitter Chats, and now even Live streaming. These are tools that can get much of the same information out to an online audience, but in an informal way. Remember to use the POST method when being strategic about what technology and learning environment you use… start with People… not with the technology. Below are some examples of when a formal learning environment would be appropriate, and when an informal approach makes more sense.

Classes or Programs that Award Certification

If you are currently teaching a face-to-face or online program that awards certificates or credit once the participant has completed the program, than it would be more appropriate for this program to be created in Moodle or a similar formal learning environment platform. If your class requires a lot of hands-on learning and application, it may be more appropriate for it not to go online and remain as a face-to-face program.

Examples of how it can be applied:

  • Budget or personal finance program (or similar) that awards a completion certificate to participants.
  • Classes in which quizzes are required or beneficial.
  • Curricula that can not or should not be be broken into topical segments to share via informal tools such as social media.

Campaigns or Program Themes

If you plan to focus on a topic theme over a specific period of time (an example would be sending out educational information and facilitating classes on local food during the summer months), than an informal learning tool like utilizing a blog or posting to social media would be more appropriate.

Examples of how it can be applied:

  • Networked social media campaign during which multiple social media feeds are sharing information on your specific topic during a specified period of time.
  • A series of 30-minute educational webinars.
  • A series of 2 minute videos.
  • A blog post series dedicated to your specific topic or focus area over a given period of time.
  • A Twitter Chat focused on your topic area.
  • Live streaming via Periscope or Meerkat during a local food event at your Fair.

Program Participant Follow-Up Opportunities & Further Education

Online audiences in 2015 take it upon themselves to search for educational information they’re looking for. Continuing education is becoming much more informal than it ever has been in the past because people tend to search what they want to learn and informally network with others who want to learn the same things they do. This gives us as Extension professionals the opportunity to tap into this desire and follow-up with previous program participants at the same time. With today’s online audience in mind, informal learning environments are much more effective for this.

Examples of how it can be applied:

  • Creating a Facebook group page (private or public) for Dining with Diabetes participants to join and share, learn, and keep in touch with one another after completing the program. This group page could be utilized to also share upcoming educational opportunities.
  • Invite previous program participants to regularly held Twitter Chats.
  • Ask program participants to subscribe to your blog or sign up for educational webinar announcements via email.
  • Create a hashtag for your program or topic area. Use this hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.
  • Always give participants your program’s social media links and information for follow-up.

What are your thoughts? Any other suggestions for formal and informal learning environment tools that we can utilize in Extension?


How to Write for Online Audiences

The Ed Techs have shared several examples of online writing best practices in the past couple of years, including one created by CommTech and one from the CDC. This morning, I came across another one. Below is a Slidedeck from Jennifer Chilek (Ed Tech for eXtension’s Network Literacy CoP) on writing for online audiences.

In the slides below, she includes examples of best practices as well as succinct info that’s usable and to-the-point. If you have questions about converting content that’s currently in a traditional pub or curriculum into quality content more suited to an online audience, please let us know in the comments below or don’t hesitate to send me an email (seger.23).

Updated Social Media Guidelines Now Available

Best practices on how to use social media as a CFAES employee do exist - and they've been updated for you.

Best practices on how to use social media as a CFAES employee do exist – and they’ve been updated for you.

In February, CommTech updated the CFAES Social Media Guidelines. The Ed Techs recommend that any Extension employee who is currently using, or planning to use, social media professionally read through the guidelines. They not only document the correct way to use social media as a professional of the college, but also offer best practices and other related information.

Click here to view the CFAES Social Media Guidelines. 


Other CommTech Social Media Resources:

Tips for Getting Started

Writing for Social Media


You May Also Be Interested In:

Ed Tech Blog Social Media Posts


What Can Live Smart Ohio do for You?

LSO announcement

Today, the new Live Smart Ohio blogsite will be rolled out during the Family & Consumer Sciences annual in-service. FCS Staff will have the opportunity to hear about how and why a new FCS content hub was needed and how the concept of Live Smart Ohio was born. New features of the site will be discussed, as well as the updated FCS social media strategy. One topic that we will not have time to cover in detail however, is how program staff can utilize Live Smart Ohio to showcase and promote their expertise, events, programs, and other efforts. The info below highlights how Live Smart Ohio was created with our program staff’s best interest in mind and that in the end, it really is all about them; showcasing their expertise and the good work they do to a much broader audience while simultaneously streamlining our online efforts.

So, what can Live Smart Ohio do for you? And how will it promote your work?

Live Smart Ohio site:

Become an author of Live Smart Ohio and share your expertise in the area of Food, Money, Mind & Body, or Family & Relationships. Interested individuals (from any program area) can contact Carmen Irving.

Social Media:

“Like” the new Live Smart Ohio social media pages for Food, Money, Mind & Body, Family & Relationships; as well as the main FCS Facebook page and the Live Smart Ohio Twitter account.

By following various Live Smart Ohio social media pages, you can share posts that are relevant to your area of expertise or to the programs you teach on both your personal and professional social media pages. This expands our total FCS online reach and engagement exponentially. Program staff can also post to all of the Live Smart Ohio pages with information regarding events, programs, etc.

Why are there so many Facebook pages?

The updated FCS social media strategy separates our Facebook presence by topic area, which allows Facebook users to like and follow the topics they’re most interested in. On Twitter, while all Tweets are tweeted out using one main Live Smart Ohio account, topics are “labeled” with different hashtags (#LSOFood, #LSOMoney, #LSOMindBody, #LSOFamily). In the coming months, with additional staff support, our social media presence will also expand to include Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. 


The creation of a new, modernized content hub allows FCS to showcase and house in one central location our new methods of educating online clientele, including webinars, Twitter Chats, and other virtual events hosted by FCS program staff. The Live Smart Ohio site will feature information on such events, while our new social media feeds will promote this information. Program staff interested in presenting webinars and other online events can contact Jamie Seger to get further information from the Ed Techs, as well as get more details about how Live Smart Ohio will help promote their events.

Programs & Resources:

As FCS fact sheets are updated, they will be posted to Live Smart Ohio and featured on the side bar of each topic area’s home page. Videos are also showcased this way (see below).

LSO Food page

Infographics created from our updated fact sheets will also be featured content, as well as program information. To share or blog about specific program information, contact Carmen Irving with a request or suggestion. Some local program information may be best to share via social media, instead of the blog.

For specific information on how program staff can promote or share Live Smart Ohio to their clientele during face to face programs or events, contact Betsy DeMatteo or Jamie Seger. 

Quickly Create Modern Looking Graphics for Anything with Canva

Allergic to Photoshop but still want pretty looking images to share on a blog or social media page? Canva is a cool (and very new) web tool that lets you easily and quickly create images that you can save and/or share online. The best news of all? It’s free to sign up and Canva has thousands of images and graphics that you can use for free. The real kicker is that the extra cool photo that you might want to use will only $1. That’s right, if it’s not free, it’s only going to cost you a buck. Good news for those of us in Extension.

Getting Started

You’ll need to sign up for a free account to use Canva. Then, you get to choose a template based upon what you will use the image/graphic for – which I think is a great feature that makes Canva super easy to use.

By selecting what you'll be using your image for, Canva will automatically select the best formatting and size.

By selecting what you’ll be using your image for, Canva will automatically select the best formatting and size.

After you choose a design to get started, you’ll come to what looks like a “dashboard of sorts”. Honestly, if you take just a few minutes browsing the tools on the left side of the screen, you can get acquainted with Canva’s features rather quickly.


Here are a few images I created in Canva to show everyone the possibilities of how those of us in Extension could use it:

COOKING Eat & Move-O-Matic (2)carrots

All of the above images and graphics could be shared on social media sites. You can also create PowerPoint presentations, posters, and marketing materials within Canva. 

How to Brand Your Images and Grahics

As for proper branding protocol when it comes to using Canva, you probably noticed that all of the above images use our scarlet color – one of the University’s primary branding colors. Anything that is created within Canva should include at least ONE of the primary branding colors, shown below. Scarlet is the preferred primary color, since it is the most recognizable color associated with OSU.

Canva branding colors


What do the numbers below the colors mean? This is where we’ll do a little walk-through in Canva to show you how to change color using the HEX color code (last line of text under each color above). We’ll use one of the graphics I included above as an example. When I first clicked on the template to edit it, the original color of the ribbon was teal. I needed to change this to a branded color. First, click anywhere on the color in your graphic or text that you need to change. Then, click on the “+” sign to open up the color wheel (circled in red below).

Canva changing colors

This will pull up a color wheel, with an option box to enter an exact color code. This is where the HEX color code is entered. The color code for our branded scarlet color is bb0000 (entered in the box circled in red).

Canva changing colors 2

This changes the color of the ribbon. To change text or any other graphic, simply go through the same process. Other logos such as the block “O” or our Extension strip at the top do not have to be included if you utilize any of the primary branding colors, as well as a branded font. In Canva, we’ll need to use Helvetica as the only font… which limits creativity I know. But it is required to be brand compliant.


Want more info about Canva? The site features a great support blog that gives advice on how to create different layouts, work with color in your graphics, how to create infographics, and much more.

Still have questions or want advice on how to create something specific? Leave a comment and we’ll help!