Confessions of an Obsessive Compulsive Designer (Episode 1 of 5)

Confessions of an Obsessive Compulsive Designer (Episode 1 of 5)

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Sophie Scott-Lewis
Published: 30th April 2015

Goodbye Winter, hello wonderfully warm Summer!

Right, let’s begin with a fresh slate in preparation for the months ahead – excuse me while I just crack open my brand new Bic biro and fresh jotter for this one; I’m about to give you my run down of the top emerging design trends in a series of blogs I'm calling 'Confessions of an Obsessive Compulsive Designer'!

Each Thursday for the next five weeks you’ll learn one of the five key principles of contemporary design that will help you refresh your email campaigns and keep your finger on the pulse of visually cutting-edge marketing for the year ahead.

Episode 1: Flat Design is Still Strong

With a revival of minimalistic design, it’s a daily balancing act to create eye-catching visual messages for those brands which are a little more traditional-looking. I’m often asked by marketing managers across the UK “how do I make my marketing look current?” Now, without redesigning the entire company look there are some simple ways you can affectionately incorporate flat components into your campaigns which will help transform pre-historic skeuomorphism into super-sleek modern and mobile-friendly design. This isn’t just an exercise in simply transforming your aesthetics either; there are many advantages to flat design that far surpass just its block-colour loveliness.

Simplify: Swap gradients and shadows for crisp lines, sharp edges, and blocks of flat colour. These make the graphics powerful, easy to view on mobile devices, and limit the number of images needed in your campaigns. Did you know that for every shadow or gradient colour on a button, you are adding at least another image to your campaign? So if you have 5 buttons in your design, that’s at least 5 additional images on top of any cool graphics you include! Adding more images will slow down the load time of your email and could have a negative impact on your campaign’s deliverability rate.

Style: I’ll bet you’ve received a few emails to your inbox and noticed those tiny red crosses stranded in vast blocks of blank space? Ugly huh! This is another great reason to implement flat design, rather than adding image after image of outdated gradient buttons and over-the-top rounded corners to your story boxes. Try substituting these for block colours and styled strong typography (I’ll tell you more about this later on in the series); it looks top-notch and can be seen even when your recipient hasn’t clicked to download your images.

Segment: Blocks of background colour are perfect for helping your recipients identify the different sections of your email. Using your brand’s colour palette to divide up your emails can give visual impact and make your emails easier to digest!

Check out this super-flat design we created for Purdi, it’s a personal favourite of mine and shows you exactly how simplistic, flat design can bring your brand’s emails to teachers bang up to date!


Take away quick-tip: Substitute gradients and shadows for clean lines and block colour, it’ll keep your brand bang on trend and save you heaps of time trimming the design in Photoshop!

Pop by next week when I’ll be giving you tips on how to implement trend 2!

Marketing to Schools Emailing Teachers Email Teachers Schools Marketing UK Schools Marketing Design Email Design

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