It’s spring! Everything around us is green and fresh…why not our email photography treatments? This week, we took a look at how brands have been discovering new ways to treat imagery in email, ranging from simple to strange.
Spicing up silos. Products silos are so effective that they’re fairly prevalent, but that’s no reason for bland designs. Check out these brands’ sweet silo treatments:
• Piperlime‘s propping grounds their silo products while adding interest. What could look fresher than daisies?
• Sephora‘s props help products pop on an otherwise stark background. They break the grid and add sensual context to products with benefits are tough to convey visually.
• Barneys New York makes their silos stand out against a black background with a jagged, artsy cut.
Thinking outside the grid. While sometimes the straight and simple product grid is the best option, it’s worth looking at how some brands have stirred up their gridding for a fresher look.
• Restoration Hardware‘s clean design shows products framing body copy. It’s still a grid, but it offers an alternative to a hero with products gridded beneath.
• Urban Outfitters‘ checkerboard collage of lifestyle shots features products and art imagery. The individual products don’t stand out the way they would in a conventional grid, but they create a strong impression of what the brand offers for spring.
• Boden‘s use of product silos laid out on a mat-like background image shows a unique alternative to boxes. The inclusion of environmental shots in each section adds even more interest to what could have easily been laid out as a long, less interesting grid.
Why choose? Fun image combos. By incorporating more than one form of imagery, designs take on an artistic look that can suit unique themes.
• Betsey Johnson‘s cartoon illustrations always complement their images and make the photography seem more interesting.
• Fossil‘s combination of environmental photography, illustration and a product silo makes this seem like a page out of a scrapbook, suiting the style of the bag and the theme of “reclaiming pastimes.”
• Coach uses a silo shot right alongside an environmental shot of the same product. The contrast is visual interesting, and allows Coach to position the product both aspirationally and with functional details.
Set for success with inset images. Including smaller, inset photos over larger imagery is a sleek, simple way to add interest to designs.
• Macy’s inset photos set over an environmental shot add product imagery without disrupting the design’s windswept desert theme.
• Anthropologie insets a small image of a model over a larger photo of the same model in the same set. The photography is conventional but this treatment makes it seem fresh.
• Fossil includes small close-ups of the models’ hands over the larger environmental shot. This makes particular sense for Fossil as it allows them to highlight their watches while still using rich environmental photography.
Poppin’ play with color. Brighter spring and summer color palettes (in both products and design) offer an opportunity to have more fun with color.
• Nordstrom uses bright background colors behind their models to make the vibrant clothing stand out even more.
• Shopbop‘s mix of color and black-and-white photography creates a somewhat jarring contrast and adds an edgy flare to their design.
• Free People‘s use of a similarly-staged photo with four different-colored pairs of shorts is fun and playful – perfect for spring.
Other creative trends. Freshening up image treatments means taking risks, trying unique approaches and sometimes even getting a little strange….
• Neiman Marcus tries something fun and funky by showing faded version of their model behind the clear hero image. You get the sense that she’s actually spinning, per the headline.
• Barneys New York adds intrigue by playing with the orientation of their images in an inventive way.
• Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman all demonstrate the recent trend of incorporating snapshots into designs. (This must work; Lisa bought the “Taylor Momsen” look dress straight from the email!)
In many cases, the image makes the email. This spring, we challenge you to take risks and try photography treatments that will set your email apart in the inbox.
Getting Fresh this Spring,
Alex Madison and Lisa Harmon, Smith-Harmon