UncommonGoods hero

No joke – this email is great.

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 6/14/17
Subject Line: Shopping for Dad Is No Joke

UncommonGoods Email

This email from UncommonGoods is filled with fun, humor, and originality. It’s the one Father’s Day email that really stood out to me this year. It has the theme: Dad always tells the lamest jokes. They encourage you to shop all the usual categories (ties, beer, gadgets, grilling, etc), but the spin is they pair each section with a cheesy and relevant joke. For example, “I used to hate facial hair. But then it grew on me. [Shop personal care].” Every joke is also being told by a character that represents that category (a mustache with legs for instance). Most of the characters are crying with laughter, which put a smile on my face. The design flows nicely, staggered left to right. I had a lot of fun reading this email and even told my son some of the jokes. It takes a lot of creativity to come up with something for every section, and they pulled it off flawlessly. (BTW, I also love the preheader: Email died laughing? View in browser.)

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UncommonGoods

Uncommonly Good

During the holiday season, one thing retailers can count on is customer unpredictability. Shoppers are no longer buying for themselves, but for everyone else. No amount of data collected over the year can anticipate what type of product your customer’s Aunt Margret will want. One strategy to overcoming this obstacle is sending a “shop by person” email. Rather than focusing on the product, these emails aid in narrowing the search by focusing on the TYPE of person you are shopping for. It’s easy for this genre of email to fall short on originality and interest. However, UncommonGoods delivered two outstanding examples this season. The designs are festive and fun. The categories are specific, cover a variety of personalities, and are (surprisingly) original/varied between the two emails.

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 12/19/15
Subject Line: But Actually, This is the Cutest

Uncommonly Good Hero

This email does such a great job of capturing the feeling of a classic claymation movie. The email scene is set with paper clouds dangling from strings, carefully chosen fonts and a little world of objects and characters made entirely of clay. Even the star atop the tree twinkles in an animated gif. The setting fills the email, tying everything together. The categories themselves are circles of varied size and placement, creating flow and interest. The addition of colored drop-shadows adds dimension. They even include a link to a video, bringing the characters to life with music. Just in case the previous category options didn’t cover everything, they finish the email with a few general gift ideas, an option to shop by price, and a link to sale items.

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 12/16/15
Subject Line: Your List Comes Alive!

UncommonGoods

The headline of this one grabbed my attention right away. The quickly recognizable lyrics instantly put the song in your head as you read them. I like that it’s a lyric not often seen used (like fa la la la la for example). The design is made up of hand-drawings of the “person of interest” in a holiday setting. Everything flows well, again breaking away from the grid. The placement of the text, how one image interacts with another, and the use of pointing cues all contribute to the movement. Again, they finish the email with additional options by including links to general products and new arrivals.

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Inventive Preheader hero

An Inventive Preheader

Most people reading this already know what an email preheader is, but I’ll indulge myself anyway. The preheader is the small text found at the top of the design that summarizes the email’s most pertinent information. It’s there for two main reasons: 1) If the images don’t load, the viewer can easily see what the email is about and is able to click through 2) Some email clients will show the first few lines of the email’s text before opening the email. With this, the recipient can get a better idea about the contents of the message.

What you find in the preheader can vary from one brand to another, but most commonly found is the topic of the email (which links to the main call-to-action) and a link to view the email in a browser. It’s fairly common practice and most retailers don’t give it a second thought when creating it — using the headline from the copy and the same wording to view in a browser. Every. Single. Time. Until today. I noticed one brand that is having a little fun with their preheader. Rather than simply saying “view in browser” every week, they add a fun relevant lead-in. Here are a few examples:

In an email where the first articles is about weaving, the preheader states:
Email still looming? View in browser.

In an email with products based on animals:
Email isn’t coming to life? View in browser.

In an email that has new products sorted by category:
Email refusing to be categorized? View in browser.

I love to see companies thinking outside the box and finding new ways to make something dull, fresh! I tip my hat to UncommonGoods. My only suggestion is to include a link to the call-to-action in the preheader as well.

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 8/06/15
Subject Line: This Just In: Categorically Cool
Preheater: Email refusing to be categorized? View in browser.

UncommonGoods

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 8/10/15
Subject Line: They Walk! They Talk!
Preheater: Email isn’t coming to life? View in browser.

UncommonGoods

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 8/15/25
Subject Line: The Goods: Waste Not
Preheader: Email still looming? View in browser.

UncommonGoods

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Stand_Out_Hero

Standing Out in the Crowd

Sometimes the inbox can get pretty cut & dry with the same design formats regurgitated again and again. If you don’t work to set yourself apart, your email could get lost in the sea of messages. Here are a few designs that were really fun and attention grabbing.

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 8/17/15
Subject Line: Decor Envy

The hand drawn elements that support each product really make this email special. While some of the products may have gotten a bit lost in the drawings, it definitely got my attention and I took the time to find each item.

UncommonGoods

From: Tiny Prints
Date: 8/16/15
Subject Line: A Theme Come True! Plus, 25% Off Sitewide

This email drew me in right away with its bright complimentary colors and the invitation turned rocket ship. The fun continues with textured backgrounds separating each section and little side messages with arrows.

Tiny Prints

From: Banana Republic
Date: 8/15/15
Subject Line: You’ve never seen shirts like these

I love the hand-written notes and the arrows pointing out specific design elements. The thumb tacks, curled up corners, shadows and layers help give this email a fun bulletin board feel.

Banana Republic

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Social Media

Let’s Talk Social

With the many forms of social media out there, it can get confusing to know what kind of information can be found in each place. These brands did a good job breaking it down.

From: The Land of Nod
Date: 7/27/2015
Subject Line: Keep up with the latest and greatest.

This is my favorite design. I liked the use of tape, clips and fun fonts. It’s not overly wordy. The combination of bold and blue text made it easier to scan. Even the implementation of the icons is lovely.

Land of Nod

From: HomeGoods
Date: 7/30/2015
Subject Line: Like, tweet, pin, post, watch. Connect with us, Amy!

I love the quote bubbles that show what type of information can be found in each section. Rather than describing, they give an example — “I scored this for a client @HomeGoods for $299!! Made my day.” The information is easily digestible and thoughtfully put together.

HomeGoods

From: J.Crew
Date: 7/30/2015
Subject Line: Hello, @jcrew

I like the design and simplicity of this email. In this example, the images pretty much do all the speaking.

J Crew

From: Bluefly
Date: 7/25/2015
Subject Line: You Have A Friend Request!

I like the overlapping samples of imagery in the Instagram and Pinterest sections. It’s enough examples to give a really good idea of what can be expected in each location. Facebook could have used a bit more love though.

Bluefly

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 7/29/2015
Subject Line: Be First to Know

This email was well done overall, but one of my least favorite of this group. Even though the design is nice, the information wasn’t quite as scannable. They could have used titles or other ways of breaking up or highlighting text.

UncommonGoods

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