Make it Pop!: Creative Snowstorm: Snowflakes in Holiday Creative

They say that no two snowflakes look alike. Does the same hold true for any two holiday email campaigns? With so many brands celebrating the season via email, it’s been interesting to watch unique ideas emerge within the creative snowflake flurry!

This year’s snowstorm…

REI created a distinctively modern and stylized snowflake for the holiday season. They also lightened up their color palette and introduced bright pink so that their messages have a more festive feel that stands out from those using more traditional holiday colors.

Staples’ snowflakes are whimsical, playful and convey a hand-made feeling, which is an interesting choice for an office supply store. If we want to get really interpretive, we could say that these delicate and individual snowflakes imply a personalized attitude towards each subscriber. Or maybe it’s just that they’re cute.

Lands’ End went with really simple snowflakes—they almost look like a child could have cut them out of paper. The animated banner really conveys COLD as the problem, and the answer is, of course, FLEECE!

Dickies roughed out the edges of their email, managing to give snowflakes a gritty, edgy look that appeals to their masculine audience. Hey, guys get cold too!

Circuit City‘s itty-bitty snowflakes can also be seen as twinkles, making the product seem bright, shiny and special.

Nine West‘s subtle snowflakes are unlike anything we’ve seen before. They incorporated the number 9 to create their flakes. This design has a nice, subtle nod to the holidays, but ultimately most people shop at Nine West for themselves… We’re fans of the light blue/dark red color palette for the holiday, too. It’s unexpected and can make a brand stand out, yet it still feels festive!

Cusp has edgy, modern snowflakes in their header and their background. Somehow these snowflakes seem fashionable or even trendy, which makes sense for Cusp.

LL Bean chose an ornate snowflake that fits in with the fun, intricate patterns on their holiday sweaters. Especially with the Nordic-inspired sweater in their secondary message, this snowflake seems nice and appropriate.

When snowflakes collide…

With so many brands and so many snowflakes, it’s only a matter of time before some unwanted creative overlap occurs. This winter Nike committed early to using a bright blue striped background. In each email they changed the color that they paired with blue, which usually looked nice. But when they chose to pair their blue with orange, the resulting email looked uncomfortably similar to what their competitor, Lucy, developed for their holiday creative, especially since both Lucy and Nike used small, subdued sparkly-snowflakes that melted into their backgrounds.

Hey, those aren’t snowflakes!

While there has been heavy snowfall in the inboxes, there are, of course, other ways that brands have been festive without literally saying “Christmas” or even “holiday.” Here are a few others that we liked:

Ann Taylor‘s sale email calls out gifting but not holiday, and sticks to shades of red and pink. Without mentioning the holidays, it still looks like a wrapped present or a deconstructed candy cane.

Lucy‘s sale email uses a bow to add a little festive gifting flavor, but it doesn’t
deviate from Lucy’s trademark orange.

Sephora‘s cute bell and use of gold is a subtle and classy-looking holiday approach.

Weigh in and let us know what you’ve seen and liked this season, with snowflakes or something else. Looking ahead to next holiday, what other design approaches might bands try in order to stay festive without being overwhelmingly holiday- or Christmas-oriented? Let us know what you think!

Happy Holidays!
Lisa Harmon and Alex Madison, Smith-Harmon

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One thought on “Make it Pop!: Creative Snowstorm: Snowflakes in Holiday Creative

  1. My favorite snowflake is from Sony, which makes them out of their electronics products and candy. It makes you do a double-take and say, Hey, what are those snowflakes made of. And then you look closer. Very engaging design.

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