Designing a Series of Emails
November 20, 2012 2 Comments
When our vice president of global human resources, Tinna Hall, requested a set of email teasers to promote our company-wide employee engagement survey, I had these concerns: how will I carry a consistent theme across all emails? How can I design a flexible format that will effectively communicate the content of each message visually? How do I keep them interesting to our 1,000-plus designers? And lastly, as a member of “branding police” for Affinity Express, how will I accomplish all of this while staying true to our branding?
Since this was a weekly project that ran for six weeks and all the messages were not provided to me upfront, I just took it one email at a time and tried to design something that would work for both short and long headlines and body copy.
Here’s the design for the first email teaser. I created something simple, clean and colorful, using shapes and colors to symbolize the different opinions and ideas of our people versus a cliché light bulb.
I carried the structure of the first design, with the headline, logo, etc., over to the second week email teaser. The wave of colors coming from the head urges employees to voice their thoughts. I didn’t go with the overused “man shouting in a megaphone” image.
For the third week, I transformed our logo into colored puzzle blocks in a playful way and added hand-prints all over to imply that every employee’s opinion is different and important.
Building on the design from the previous email, the focus for the fourth week email was “engagement”. I used colorful blocks to emphasize the word and encourage employees to take part in the survey.
The next email was more of a follow-up to the previous one. The visual communicates that we are a global company and the colored thought balloons made it consistent with rest of the emails.
In this final email, I used hands in colorful circles to acknowledge all employees who participated. The circles added a festive look and feel (like balloons) and make the design visually interesting.
The employee engagement survey generated a 67% response rate globally. I think these promotional emails played an integral part in making this effort a success!
What made the emails effective was that certain elements were consistent so the audience could recognize all the designs as part of a series. In this case, the layout of the headline, body copy and logo were repeated. Then visual interest came from the items that did change: the content and graphics. We took the opportunity to play on the colors of our logo and interpret them in several ways that worked to support the purpose of the emails. My advice when you develop your campaigns is to decide what will stay the same and be consistent. Then be creative on the rest of the designs!
Have you already designed a series of emails for your company? If so, how did you go about maintaining your branding but still making it interesting for your audience?