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The Basics of Creativity - Guest Blog by Annie Cooley

by ‎12-09-2009 04:57 PM - edited ‎03-18-2010 11:31 AM (1,533 Views)

Today we welcome Annie Cooley to our family of guest bloggers!  Annie is the Social Media Coordinator at Swiftpage and she's here today to share with us a set of best practices for effective email design. Annie, you're on...


The Basics of Creativity

By: Annie Cooley, Swiftpage


Your email campaign’s design is what catches your reader’s attention.  Alex Williams of MarketingProfs says, “Quality design helps present your brand in a positive way, separates you from competitors, and helps increase sales.” He continues to explain that it is the small design changes that will help your email campaigns look that much more engaging. Whether or not you are a small marketing team or a professional designer, this article will provide a set of best practices for effective email design.

A Fresh Look
A fresh look focuses on maintaining good color choices and offering enough white space to make it look composed and engaging. With that, add graphics that are eye-catching. Remember to center whatever theme you may have on your products, services or promotion.

By making these small changes to the layout of your email, you can catch the attention of inactive email recipients. People tend to notice change and will often take a second look. The holiday season is a perfect time to give your email campaign this fresh look.

If you need a good and free resource for color schemes, check out Kuler.

Balance and Scannability
Every email template needs an appropriate text and image hierarchy. Do your content and images guide the reader to important information or do they look like separate entities on a page? Balance is discovered in different ways depending on your email design intentions.  

If your email is text heavy, balance needs to be in the layout of each content section. Is your email easily readable and scannable? Can people understand your theme just by scanning the headlines of your sections? If you are using images, do they further the story and interest?  If your email is centered on promotions or products, the balance is more heavily influenced by graphics and buttons. Is there a clear focus of what you are promoting? For the holiday season, minimize what you showcase in order to maximize the reader’s attention.

Having trouble? Step away from designing your email for twenty minutes. When you return think about how your eye moves from each section of your email. Have you found an appropriate focus or do your eyes seem to jump around too much.

Clickability deals with how accessible and action driven your links and buttons are. This not only covers the language used within the link but the graphics and placement of each one. The language should be nothing but actionable. In other words, don’t merely say ‘Click Here;’ say ‘Get your discount’ or ‘Buy Now.’ Use the same action verbs between graphic links and text links. Graphics should be bold and noticeable. A brightly colored, simple shaped button is ideal. Graphic links should be aligned with the promotion it refers to. Proper placement includes the top of the email, below the promotion or featured in the side bar. Text links should be placed after the content describing the call to action and are essential if images do not appear.  

Let your personality shine
What to keep in mind is that no matter what you do, embrace what your company has that makes you stand out beyond your competitors. This can be as serious or off the wall as you want it to be. You can create this presence through images and content. Make photographs of your company or a particular occasion part of your email. Highlight your products or services in a unique way and fully embrace your look.  

Remember: Make sure that your email still looks visually appealing even if the images do not show up for whatever reason. Is there still an apparent call to action and objective present within your email? If so, you are ready to send away.



Annie, thanks for giving us a fresh perspective and lots of great tips for effectively designing email campaigns.  Looking forward to your next article!





Message Edited by tmergel on 03-18-2010 11:31 AM