Thursday, April 27, 2017

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The Dos and Dont’s of Newsletter Design

The important role newsletters play in attracting attention has really come to light in recent years. Not only is email supposed to have a larger reach than most social media channels, it also encourages a loyal following and is very action oriented.

Although social media is of course king for engaging with potential customers and maintaining relationships with current ones, its algorithms are becoming increasingly more complicated and difficult to stay on top of. Email marketing has remained constant and steady with email analytics easy to obtain and understand. Standing out from your competitors not only comes from a well-designed site with companies like this one, or from a steady social media presence, but also from going that extra mile with your marketing strategy.

In saying that, just how effective your business or organization’s newsletter really is, comes down to both the design and the content. With an abundance of newsletters arriving in our inboxes on a daily basis, the design of the newsletter is the first factor that will either grab a reader’s attention or lose it during that initial moment. Below are some tips to keep you on the right track.

Don’t use oversized images

The most common mistake seen in email marketing is the use of oversized images. Large images take a long time to load, and that leads to placeholder wireframes filling a large part of the newsletter when it’s first opened. That lack of content is not only frustrating to the viewer, but damaging to their perception of your communication. Make sure to use tools like TinyPNG to compress your images, and don’t use images with overlarge dimensions to begin with.

Do keep consistent branding

Whether designing for your own project or some clients of yours, if there is a clear corporate identity (CI), make sure to stick to it. For example, if a well-established company has a certain logo, typeface or color scheme, it’s crucial to adhere to this scheme. Not only does it reinforce the brand in the reader’s mind, but it makes it clear who the newsletter is coming from and conveys a sense of professionalism and capability on the part of the designer.

This still allows room to play around with design and messaging, but don’t let that get in the way of clearing expressing your client’s branding. Also bear in mind here the seasonal or festive timing of your newsletter.

Do create a sensible layout

Newsletters with a confusing or unappealing layout can be disastrous. They’re hard to read, and that means they’re hard to click on, reducing click-throughs and client traffic and making the campaign less effective as a whole. A good layout should evoke a pleasant reading experience and a desire to find out more.

Always make sure your design is responsive and flows cleanly onto different display sizes, from mobile to desktop.

Text must always be easy to read. Use a background color that complements the text color and ensures enough contrast for legibility, avoid dense blocks of text, and choose a font that’s well-suited to body copy. If your setting headings, make sure you pick a display font that’s legible but approachable.

Always be sure to set the call to action sections apart from your regular text – these parts must attract the attention of your readers. This is the perfect place to use a button or a linked image to emphasize the element in the reader’s mind.

Finally, if you’re specifying pixel sizes, keep your newsletter’s maximum width under 650 pixels. That’s the cut-off point for most email readers, and exceeding this will result in a truncated newsletter.

Don’t bury the lead

Every newsletter is sent to make the recipient do something. Whether shopping a new sale, checking out the latest news, downloading the newest version of your app, donating to a worthy cause or purchasing tickets to the next big show, newsletters exist to make people do something.
In most cases, this call to action takes the form of a link that the reader should click. That link should be incredible simple to find. It should be visually and thematically prominent in your newsletter’s design, using larger text, a colored button, a linked image, or something else visually attractive. No one should ever wonder why they received your newsletter.

Don’t go on too long

Lengthy newsletters are no one’s friend. In should be immediately obvious to your reader why they’ve received your message, what you want them to do, and why they should do it. Information should be organized in a clear and obvious hierarchy, using text and images to organize your narrative and make your intentions clear. Users also shouldn’t have to scroll too far to view the contents of your newsletter. A long table is not welcome, and most of the included content will often be ignored or glossed over, even if it’s something the reader would normally want to see.

Do use engaging imagery

Run-of-the-mill images won’t cut it for newsletter design. You need attention-grabbing images and make a reader look more closely. Keep in mind that you’re competing against an enormous volume of other emails, both commercial and personal, and yours needs to stand out from the crowd. Seek out professional, interesting and engaging imagery that will drag a reader’s attention to your call to action.

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Early Human History Gets Curiouser and Curiouser

For some time, experts have thought people first arrived in the Americas from the so-called “Old World” around 15,000 years ago. Early explorers would have come across the Bering Land Bridge from modern […]

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Best Star Wars Posters and Illustrations

Star Wars Day is just around the corner and I’m excited to share with you some of the best Star Wars illustrations and posters I was able to find on the Web. Enjoy and don’t forget to have a great Star Wars day this May 4th.

Star Wars Trilogy Posters

Star Wars Poster

Created by: Marko Manev / Las Vegas, NV, USA

Found here: Behance

Marko Maven is a conceptual mixed-media artist and illustrator born in Skopje, Macedonia. His work comprises print, editorial, and comic illustrations. His Star Wars Trilogy posters have a raw, detailed look. The design mixes realistic and minimalist elements to create a whole new concept. Each one of the Trilogy posters is tinted in separate color that aims to best represent the atmosphere of the movie.

Star Wars Tribute

Star Wars Digital Art

Created  by: Alessandro Pautasso / Turin, Italy

Found here: Behance

The digital illustrations of Alessandro Pautasso are a unique twist of modern, abstract realism that creatively mixes geometry with a complex color palette. His Tribute illustration series follow the same concept. His digital art is infused with a splash of rainbow colors. The main elements elegantly pop up on a clean black background.

Star Wars Ships Poster Series

Star Wars Posters

Created  by: Vesa Lehtimäki / Helsinki, Finland

Found here: Flickr, The Geek Twins

Vesa Lehtimäki, also known as The Avantaut, is a Helsinki-based photographer, illustrator, and a HUGO Award 2017 finalist. The creative work of this artist has influenced the visuals in The Lego Movie. Vesa’s work is on the Star Wars ship poster series is inspired by the work of popular artists like Justin Van Genderen and Sana Sini, but it also has its own unique twist.

Star Wars Digital Art

Boba Fett digital illustration

Created by: Dan Luvisi

Found here: Ego Alterego

Dan Luvisi is an accredited digital illustrator and concept artist with a vast resume of projects. His graphic novel, named Killbook of a Bounty Hunter, was sold to Paramount Pictures. His illustrations are realistic and unique in their own way. They have a high level of detail and use a complex combination of colors that create an immersive appearance.

Star Wars Insider Cover Illustration

Star Wars cover art illustration

Created by: Roberto Campus / Florida, United States / Copyright: LucasArts

Found here: DeviantArt

Roberto Campus is a Florida-based illustrator who has worked with various famous publishers, like Lucas Arts, Marvel, DC, and Penguin Books. His artwork varies from ultra realistic to anime style. The book cover illustration featured in this post was commissioned to him by Lucas Arts for the Star Wars insider magazine. The cover illustration shows Obi-Wan Kenobi in front of a wall filled with wanted posters.


Retro Star Wars Illustrations

Star Wars Poster

Created by: Markus Jansson / Falun, Sweden

Found here: Tie Fighters

These stunning retro Star Wars illustrations wonderfully combine the roaring 60s with the futuristic beauty of the Star Wars characters. The two posters feature R2D2 and C3PO in a matching style. Both characters have a vintage hero posture that bravely stares towards the sky. The blue background ideally matches with the bright yellow headings and makes the main elements of the design pop up.


Boba Fett Digital Illustration

Star Wars Grunge Poster

Created by: thedigitalnursery

Found here: Pinterest / Etsy

The Digital Nursery is an UK design shop hosted on Etsy. Pete, the shop’s owner, describes himself as a solo creative that works in print in packaging. His printed posters shop was inspired by the need to decorate his own walls.  All posters follow an Illustrator-based creative pattern and feature a rich color palette. This particular Star Wars poster has a grunge vibe and mixes textures with modern sans serif typography.

Alternative Star Wars Movie Posters

Star Wars illustration

Created by: Olly Moss

Found here: Booooooom

The creative artwork of the British designer Olly Moss has found its place among many bestselling books, movies, and games, like Harry Potter, The Firewatch, and others. His alternative Star Wars poster features an illustration of the silhouette of Dart Vader which frames a lonely forest scene with futuristic elements.

Star Wars Identities Posters

Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition

Found here: Star Wars Identities Exhibition

The Star Wars Identities Exhibition features different characters from the all-time popular movies by displaying them in a unique and creative way. The exhibition invites fans to find out their true Star Wars identity while exploring a fan world of 3d, mixed media, and digital art. This particular poster shows storm trooper’s silhouette formed by a group of storm troopers viewed from a top-down perspective.


Related articles:

Inspirational Showcase of Three-Dimensional (3D) Movie Posters

Evolution of Animation Film Posters from 1937 to Present




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Fargo Settles in Episode Two, Gives Everyone a Great Insult

After last week’s premiere threw us into the thick of things with a seemingly unrelated interrogation in East Germany, a sibling rivalry and two gruesome murders, one with an air conditioner, there was almost […]

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‘Myths & Legends’ Tells Epic Tales of Time Lords

American folklore heroes Davy Crockett, Molly Pitcher, and Paul Bunyan ain’t got nothin’ on the Time Lords. Richard Dinnick’s collection of epic tales from alien worlds, Myths and Legends compiles the most enduring […]

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NASA Reinvents Chain Mail, Makes it Even More Badass

NASA (also known as the overachiever of the science world), has developed a system of 3D printed chainmail for spacecraft and astronauts. Yes, I said chainmail. Chainmail in space. Unlike the mail of […]

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Vigilante Hacker is Trying to Save Us From Ourselves


Surely we’re all aware that cyber attacks are getting worse and it’s because there’s been thousands of unsecure, internet-enabled devices hitting the market. These can range from light bulbs you can control with […]

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14 Flat Design UI Packs for Your Next Project

UI kits are a great way to jumpstart your next wireframing project or layout design. The best kits include a full set of user interface elements, ranging from simple buttons to complex, prefabricated page elements. Here’s some flat design UI packs you can use to jump on the latest trend and create bold, modern designs. Most of them are PSD kits, but a few come as ready-to-use HTML and CSS.

The Flat Design UI Pack

For a free pack, The Flat Design UI Pack contains a surprisingly complete set of UI elements. You’ll find a wide array of buttons, icons and navigation elements, as well as premade features like dropdowns, headers, profile pages, weather packs and more. One downside: it relies on Gotham Rounded for most text, so you’ll need to have that (fairly expensive) typeface on your computer before you do any major redesigns.

Flat Rounded Square UI Kit

Flat Rounded Square UI Kit is one of the few UI kits that includes both basic elements and full-bore layouts. It’s filled with beautiful, ready-to-ship design elements that can be easily dropped into your new project. It includes complex layouts like comments pages, video players and carousels, as well as simple elements like multi-color buttons and a themed icon set.

Vertical Infinity

Vertical Infinity is all about the basic elements of wireframing. The UI kit is made up almost entirely of individual elements, like drop downs, nav items and menu bar. There’s a huge set of Retina/HiDPI-optimized resources in a many colors, and the green color can easily be swapped out for others in Photoshop. The pack is absolutely massive, with just about every UI element you could hope for isolated and ready for use. An amazing tool for anyone starting a new layout.

Square UI

Square UI is the free version of Design Modo’s excellent Square UI pro kit. It’s an attractive, modern collection with a great set of professional features, like multiple states for text boxes and buttons.

Flat UI Kit by Design Modo

Flat UI Kit is a colorful and complete set of UI elements. It’s cheerful color scheme is great for livening up dull projects, with 20 different themed colors to fill any need. The kit is heavy on professional-grade basics that you can mix and match to create your own designs, but doesn’t include much in the way of pre-built layouts. It also comes in the form of HTML and CSS, rather than PSD files, making it easier to push to production.

Flat UI Kit by Riki Tanone

Some flat design kits are a little more flashy than others. Riki Tanone’s Flat UI kit is a great example, showing a bit of pizazz in color selection. It’s not nearly as fully-featured as some of our other packs, but it’s more opinionated style might spark your inspiration for your next design.

Flat UI Kit by Devin Schulz

Devin Schulz’s Flat UI kit is another great Dribbble find. It’s short on color, but uses monochrome hues effectively. The kit is a little small, but considering it’s just a Dribbble shot, it’s a great way to get started on your design.

Flat UI Kit by Piotr Adam Kwiatkowski

Flat UI Kit by Piotr Adam Kwiatkowski is a minimal set of UI elements, but it offers great inspiration. It’s one of the few designs in this set to use subtle gradients effectively, giving a more vibrant look to what might otherwise be a fairly ho-hum layout.

Flat UI Kit by WebDesignerDepot

WebDesignerDepot partnered with well-known vector marketplace FreePik to create their Flat UI Kit. It’s amazingly dense, and it’s filled with the kind of professional features you’d expect from a pairing of two excellent companies. You’ve got profile pages, sign up forms, search bars, pricing carousels and more. It’s short on more basic elements, like buttons in different states, but the preset elements can be a big time saver for more complicated projects.

Flat Design UI Components

Flat Design UI Components is a great pack for getting started with a “night mode” design. It skips the basics in favor of fully-fledged UI elements like calendars, weather widgets, profile pages and sign-in forms, as well as a charming photo of Anne Hathaway.

Secret Spot PSD UI Kit

Secret Spot HTML5 CSS UI Kit exudes freshness and modernity. It’s got a strong card-based layout, and it’s one of the few kits to come as a CSS3/HTML5 webpage rather than a PSD layout. If your prefer a PSD kit, you can get that here.

Phoenix iOS UI Kit

Phoenix iOS UI Kit might be aggressively modern for some tastes, but it’s got no shortage of style. The gradient-style background elements are lovely, and it’s a pleasure to look at. It’s definitely for iOS development only, but it’s too attractive not to share.

Blog/Magazine Flat UI Kit

Blog/Magazine Flat UI Kit was designed with a very specific purpose in mind, and it shows. While the basic elements could be used for any designs, the pre-fabricated design elements are heavy on the modern blog look. This is a great place to start if you’re updating your WordPress template or designed a Bootstrap-based blog.

The Noun Project

The Noun Project isn’t a specific UI set, but a website that you can use to find specific UI elements. Designers upload free-to-use UI elements, and end users search the database to find what they’re looking for. There’s a wealth of free, flat UI elements available for the asking, and it’s especially useful if you’re seeing a generic or styleless layout.

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