MAKE IT POP!: It's Christmas in August

The holiday season sends everyone into a flurry. It should be a fun flurry for email senders, giving us a chance to mix up our typical creative. But accompanying this potential for uniqueness and experimentation is the potential for the sort of holiday clichés that cause consumers to cringe. Bring freshness to your holiday approach this year by indulging in a percolation period before starting in on your design work.

Start now: Allow time to gather inspiration that embodies the holiday attitudes you want to convey. This first stage of the creative process can take the form of a physical bulletin board or a digital archive—anything that lets you store and revisit images and other touchstones. Whether you find yourself digging through old boxes at the back of the closet or clicking through internet collections of ads from years past, look for anything that might make your emails sparkle.

(1) Consider new ways to use traditional imagery: Look through old childhood holiday photos and stills from favorite movies. Sift through magazines and online ads. Seek fresh stylistic choices: unusual backgrounds, unique croppings, interesting camera angles.

(2) Envision inventive color palettes: Browse ads and emails from past years or try out combinations of wrapping paper scraps and ribbon. If you’re stuck, visit your local hardware store and peruse paint swatches, or browse the Adobe Kuler site to see what color palettes others have used.

(3) Focus on fonts: Consider the effects of different font treatments you come across in holiday cards or magazines and how they might fit into your creative scheme.

(4) Eat chocolate: Get in the holiday spirit with a piece of the good, dark bittersweet stuff! I have become no less than obsessed with Theo’s Madagascar Dark Chocolate Bar.

Looking around early with an eye to inspiration will give you a storehouse of options when it comes time to actually build your holiday email design library. By focusing on the creative process upfront, you discover the tone and style that dresses your brand in its own holiday best.

As ever,
Lisa Harmon of Smith-Harmon

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