Departments and divisions regularly produce posters, fliers, invitations and other types of announcements, but cannot always afford a graphic designer to handle these needs.
The University of Arizona Office of External Relations is looking for a solution that would allow members of the campus community to create their own print materials online using a variety of templates.
To help determine what exactly should be offered, the office is conducting a campuswide survey to learn more about the marketing and communications needs on campus. The results will be used to inform the expansion of products available on the Red Bar Café, the UA's Web-based hub for logos, fonts, stationery and photos, among other resources.
"We know there is a need out there for something like this. We have received an overwhelming 'yes, yes, yes.' That this is something we can use," Kate Jensen, assistant vice president for marketing, said, noting that the idea has been vetted at meetings with UA marketing and communications specialists.
"This will be one of our highest priorities, and we want to make sure it will have value to the campus," Jensen added.
The survey, which is online, will remain open through mid-Janunary.
Jensen noted that departments and divisions across campus cannot always afford to hire someone specifically to design marketing materials or produce them in a timely, cost-effective manner.
Depending on the survey results, the Office of External Relations may introduce templates for items needed in short order, like brochures, event fliers and postcard invitations to events.
"Right now, you have to download all the bits and pieces – download the logos, the photographs; and then you have to design the piece yourself," said Paul Tumarkin, writer and content manager in the UA Office of External Relations.
But the new additions to the Red Bar Café will be structured in a way that employees will be able to generate their own high-quality materials, Tumarkin said.
Based on the necessary product, users could choose photos and a specific style, and then add text.
"Then you push a button and it will give you a print-ready PDF," Tumarkin said.
"What it allows us to do is to free people's time from having to design everything themselves, allowing them to focus on what they are really good at, which is creating the messages and the story" he added.
Another reason for the push to introduce such products is to help ensure that University marketing materials are uniform, maintaining the UA's brand image.
Other benefits exist for various UA units, Jensen said.
"Going forward, this is the kind of thing that should save people a lot of time and a lot of money while producing a quality product much more easily," Jensen said.
"We can start to create a more consistent brand image," she added. "It's important that we give people the tools to do that instead of just suggesting that it is a good idea."