Sneak peek: Fall and holiday email designs 

It's never to early to think about what holiday templates are on your wish list

Good news: Even if you're not ready to think about the holidays just yet, Emma's design team is. We're having all kinds of fun thinking up new free (yep, free) readymade template designs for fall and winter, and we couldn't wait to give you a little preview. 

These designs and more will be available in the template gallery soon. Oh, and as always, we'll offer *custom* holiday design to help with your year-end promotions and greetings.

What kinds of holiday themes and uses will you be looking for in a template? We're still creating these designs, and we'd love your input. Leave us a comment with your idea.

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If you are ready to plan for the busy holiday season, check out these holiday blog posts of yore:

Prepare your email marketing for the holiday season

A roundup of successful holiday campaigns

Does the arrangement of your email’s content matter?

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From us to you: A sneak peek of our free, readymade templates

A whole new way to get handcrafted Emma design

What do you get when a company known for custom design turns its attention to readymade templates? You get campaign templates with all the love and care of custom design, of course.

That’s what’s coming in our Template Gallery, and we couldn’t help but share a small sampling of the brand new email template designs you’ll have access to in a few weeks.

We’ve always believed in making great design accessible to everyone, and these templates represent a tremendous step toward fully realizing that vision.

If you’re an Emma customer, the gallery will allow you to instantly add templates to your account and customize most of them on the fly with your own brand colors and logo. (Of course, custom design will still be available with even more personalized service.)

They’ll all look great and deliver beautifully to all popular email inboxes. But that’s not all. Every template has a built-in, coordinated suite of styles for text, links and captions. And each comes with three variations in design and content styling, so you get an entire collection for newsletters, postcards and memos.

And of course, these templates work with our new drag & drop content editing system and new image editor, both of which are currently being tested by a smaller group of Emma customers and will be rolled out to everybody in a few weeks.

Together, it’s an entirely new kind of thinking about email design, and it’s all, ahem, designed to make sure your email looks great from top to bottom — and gets great results, too.

Oh, and did we mention that it’s all free for Emma customers? Take a look at some gorgeous examples.

Old Havana gives vintage texture a tropical twist. Make it yours by editing the header with your company name and tagline.

Reminiscent of old world adventure, Cartographers Society features an editable headline and tagline.

Minimal and natural, Inverness lets you change the banner and footer color to support your own branding. Of course, you can change the title, too.

Pacific Heights, with its clean lines and fresh look, gives you space to add quick links and a note to readers above the first featured article.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing even more sneak peeks of our Template Gallery, and we’ll let you know when they’re available in your Emma account. If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to ask.

 

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Design showcase: The navigation edition

A look at custom email templates that direct readers to more than just the homepage

Navbars, nav links, navigation menus — no matter what you call them, they're part of almost any website that you visit. They're usually a series of buttons or text links like Home, About Us or Order a Platypus, and they provide the most direct way to move about a website's various pages (especially if you're like me and are always looking for the shortest route to a platypus bargain).

What you may not know, though, is that they can also be a very helpful addition to your email template. Let's take a look at some of Emma's custom designs that include navigation links, and some of the benefits of including them.

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University Settlement custom design | Emma Email Marketing

Client: University Settlement
Designer: Kelly McClain
Design Level: Concierge Design

University Settlement is a fantastic organization that provides a range of social services and support for immigrant families in New York City. Their colorful tab navigation is eye-catching and easily recognizable to anyone who has visited their home page.

Kelly's inclusion of those tabs in her design creates strong brand recognition due to the visual consistency between their website and email stationery. That kind of familiarity really helps when subscribers are deciding whether they should read your painstakingly-crafted campaign, and it also keeps their experience of your online presence as seamless as possible.

Lex Gillette custom design | Emma Email Marketing

Client: UCSD Track & Field / Lex Gillette
Designer: Kelly McClain
Design Level: Concierge Design

An inspiring paralympic athlete and motivational speaker, Lex Gillette has a content-packed website and a lengthy navigation menu to match. Much of what makes his site so visually memorable, though, is his striking portrait in conjunction with the spare color palette. Knowing the best approach would be consistency here, Kelly chose to echo the look and feel of the website to reinforce his singular branding, as she did with the University Settlement design featured above.

The big difference here is that University Settlement's five colorful tabs are a primary feature of their stationery header; Lex Gillette's has twice that number of links, so the header would look cluttered if the navigation were more prominent. Kelly's challenge, then, was to include the links as unobtrusively as possible without making them too inconspicuous — a goal she accomplished quite tidily.

And while ten navigation links is a lot to include in a stationery design, there's definitely a benefit: on Emma's response page, the client will be able to track click-throughs to each linked page. That way, he'll be able to gauge each campaign's ability to generate interest in specific areas of his site.

Homeworks custom design | Emma Email Marketing

Client: HomeWorks
Designer: Taylor Schena
Design Level: Concierge Design

HomeWorks, a company that not only contracts home improvements but offers do-it-yourself coaching and educational services to homeowners, has a distinctively hand-drawn, tactile look and feel to their website. Their main page contains ten navigation links — like the Lex Gillette site mentioned above — and Taylor's design is an excellent example of a different way to handle that many links.

In this case, instead of trying to cram all of those whimsically-penciled navigation icons from their site into the smaller confines of an email stationery header, Taylor helped the client narrow down the links to what they considered to be the four most essential. This is a helpful reminder that you don't have to include all your nav links; in fact, limiting links will aid in driving traffic to particular pages of your site that you'd most like to feature.

Anna Mae Southern Bread custom design | Emma Email Marketing

Client: Anna Mae's Southern Bread Co.
Designer: Cody Newman
Design Level: Concierge Design

Of course, your design doesn't have to look like your website in order to include a navigation menu. Anna Mae's Southern Bread Co., a bakery that crafts slow-risen, artisan sourdough rolls, loved the look of their site but preferred that their stationery resemble their delightful product packaging.

Cody recreated the look of their packaging by using the distinctive border decoration, block print graphics and background texture, and he was also able to cleverly incorporate their four nav links into the design. Their inclusion doesn't take away from the feel of what the client wanted, while still offering the advantage of direct page links in their header.

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Want to see even more custom email templates with navigation menus? Take a look at these six examples from Emma customers.

If you're ready to get yourself a fancy new stationery with navigation links ("Order Platypus" button optional), you can get started by filling out our design request form and we'll take it from there.

Until next time, much navigational love from your Emma Design Team!

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Design showcase: Let’s hear it for holiday spirit

Get a jumpstart on your end-of-year marketing goals with our new Readymade holiday designs

This time of year, it seems that my to-do list grows faster than I can check things off. From holiday shopping to travel plans, crafting parties to gift wrap, there's always something to make, plan or do. Of course, the holidays are particularly busy for Emma's design team, as our customers need top-notch design work for their year-end campaigns. It's a high-volume season, and we know how important it is to rise above the inbox noise.

And so, for the first time, our designers have created dozens of beautiful, handcrafted designs that are ready to go in no time. And each $25 design comes in two formats so you're covered no matter what kind of mailing you'd like to send.

Best yet, the Readymade designs will be available in your account within 3-4 business hours of submitting your request, so even a professional, handmade design can keep up with your holiday to-do list.

Let's take a look at a just a few of our Readymade designs …

Design: Fall Leaves
Designer: Lee Floyd
Design level: Readymade holiday design

Lee may be one of our newer designers here at Emma, but he has already wowed us with his great eye for textures and type, which you can see here in "Fall Leaves" and also on the fancy new holiday page he made. This is one of the few Readymade options with a vertically-oriented postcard, which works beautifully for this particular design because the dimensions give more breathing room to all its rich, varied textures.

Both the postcard and stationery maintain the same design concept, and you'll get both versions with each Readymade you choose. Postcards are designed at a fixed size; they're best suited for quick well wishes, short holiday greetings or brief messages of thanks. Newsletters, surveys and longer marketing pieces, on the other hand, will work best framed by the stationery version, which integrates with Emma layouts and expands vertically to accommodate more content.

Design: Christmas Swirls
Designer: Stef Atkinson
Design level: Readymade holiday design

This beautiful, more traditional Christmas design comes from another of our new designers, Stef, and is a great marriage of delicate, graceful lines and bold pops of red. The end result is certainly formal but still dynamic; the stationery version even has a hand-designed custom frame around the content area for added visual interest.

The postcard version takes up much less vertical space than many of the other postcard designs so your own message gets seen sooner. Like all the Readymade postcards, it includes an editable text box and image box for a personal greeting and branding just below the design. Here, we have a simple year-end message ("From all of us to all of you … Wishing you good times, good cheer and a Happy New Year!") and a sample logo to illustrate how you can add your own touch to the card.

Design: Season's Greetings
Designer: Taylor Schena
Design level: Readymade holiday design

Taylor, one of our senior designers, really wanted to convey the joy of the season with fun gift wrap and interesting textures, but without the traditional red-green color scheme. The content area's cream background adds another complementary but unexpected twist, and it definitely allows the red bow to pop all the more off the screen.

The cream-colored area in the postcard version is textured, and the message is in a specialty font because it's all image-based. The stationery, however, requires websafe fonts and a flat-color background, since textures would have required a background image — and that sort of thing behind live content doesn't work reliably in email. (Websafe fonts are automatically available for selection when you are working on a campaign in Emma in edit mode.)

Design: Shiny New Year
Designer: Stef Atkinson
Design level: Readymade holiday design

Stef's design for New Year's beautifully reflects her signature style; you can tell she has a wonderful sense of color and a photographer's eye for composition. In this design, the light spots and sparkles with hints of bright gold and copper balance well with the simple outer shapes and the classic folded ribbon in a flatter, muted color scheme.

And of course, the beauty of any "Happy New Year" design is that you can send it both before *and* after the holiday itself, such as for New Year's sales that extend through the holiday and into mid-January.

For more tips on seasonal campaigns, be sure to check out Molly's guide to wrangling your own holiday email marketing plan.

Here's to the end of the year, and to stylish, affordable design — we hope this season brings you lots of joy and a schedule full of good work and good times!

Hugs and holiday toasts,
The Emma Design Team

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Ready to create your own holiday campaign? Request one (or more!) of our Readymade designs for $25 each, or take an even more customized approach.


Design showcase: Celebrate good times

You may have noticed it doesn't take much to warrant a full-on celebration at Emma. We are quick to bake a cake or raise a glass in celebration of one another — and our customers. And September happens to be a month of particular merriment for the Emma design family. In just a six-week span, six of us will turn one year older, including yours truly and my fellow design consultant, Kat Amano. (We actually share the exact same birthday: today! Bring on the cake.)

Naturally, we can't help but be a little merry when there is so much excitement in the air. We are in good company, in fact. Many of you have shared your special days with us and allowed us to create a custom design for the occasion — whether it celebrates you directly or your email audience. Let's take a peek at a few, shall we?

Client: First United Bank
Designer: Leigh Bernstein
Design Level: Concierge Design
Celebration: Birthday

First United Bank came to us needing a custom birthday greeting for their audience. They knew they wanted something "nice and colorful" but left the direction of the design to Leigh. The challenge was to bring out some playfulness, fun and color without losing the professional aesthetic of an established bank. Leigh hit the nail on the head by opting for the classic birthday accoutrement; you got it: balloons.

Knowing they would only need room for a small bit of text, First United asked for one editable text box, instead of opting for a fully expandable stationery. With that in mind, Leigh built the design as more of a card, which is what allows for the solid balloon border. (With a regular stationery, an image-based border would prevent the design from being vertically flexible, so it would not be able to expand and contract depending on its content.)

Now, these happy customers use their custom card design to send automatic trigger emails to their clients on their birthdays. It communicates a decidedly personal sentiment to a customer to be remembered on their special day, especially by their bank. Nice work, First United.

Client: Big Events Weddings
Designer: Taylor Schena
Design Level: Concierge Design
Celebration: Wedding

For many Nashville couples, their wedding celebration is made perfect by the genius women of Big Events Weddings. These savvy businesswomen, planners and designers came to us needing a stationery that fit them to a tee. Theirs is a sophisticated, stylish charm, and Taylor really tuned in to their aesthetic to create a stationery header and footer that dazzled them.

The golden Craspedia and the turquoise in the logo pop beautifully against the soft, romantic earth tones of the header. Taylor also incorporated a softly lit photo of a couple's first dance to visually support the theme and purpose of the stationery. And, of course, the color of the footer and the jewelry in the photograph reinforce the logo, and Taylor created custom social media buttons to help drive traffic to their various networks. The finished product is a bit of an experience in itself — and it seems only fitting, as the stationery is a vehicle for many a wedding fairytale waiting to be told.

Client: Vanderbilt Medical Center: LifeFlight
Designer: Taylor Schena
Design Level: Concierge Design
Celebration: Fundraiser

Any opportunity to work with our neighbor, Vanderbilt University, is a welcome one. The Medical Center's LifeFlight division is the hospital's critical care air transport service, and these fine folks met with Taylor to discuss the design for their annual fundraiser, which helps offset the costs of having four helicopters, two airplanes and an ambulance. Fortunately, the event attracts a broad range of attendees; in addition to the silent auction and elegant gala, there is a "late party" for the young set.

The fundraiser takes place at the beginning of fall, before Nashville has changed to true autumnal weather. As such, our friends at Vanderbilt wanted to avoid direct references to fall such as leaves and warm colors. Taking that into consideration, Taylor pulled the green from the event's tablecloths and created a classy, flexible stationery that will be used for the Save the Date, as well as event updates to follow. Its vintage aesthetic delighted the party planners at LifeFlight,and we can't wait to hear how the event goes next month!

Client: Loan Shack
Designer: Kelly McClain
Design Level: Concierge Design
Celebration: Birthday

Like First United, Loan Shack knows that wishing your customers a happy birthday is one of the simplest ways to really personalize your email marketing. With that in mind, they approached us for a new stationery design that would be unique from any other designs we'd done for them — and that would be 100% dedicated to client appreciation.

Kelly created a design that looks like a frosted cake, complete with "Happy Birthday" candles. The yellow "cake" portion is the content layout area, so any Emma's simple, newsletter and advanced layout options can be inserted there — and with the solid background color, the stationery is vertically expandable in case they decide to include more content. The lighter gradient in the footer creates a great visual counter-balance to the lit candles, which echo the brand colors in the logo.

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Do you have a special occasion you'd like to celebrate with a new design? We can help. Just fill out our online design form, and we'll take it from there. You can also learn more about surveys for event invitations and trigger emails for birthday messages and other pre-scheduled campaigns. Don't forget to personalize your celebration message — it's a simple way to make your email so more special for your reader.

Cheers,
Your Emma Design Team


Design showcase: A month of delectable designs

Just the mention of July brings a smile to my face. Besides hot days and beautiful sunsets, this mid-summer month also brings its fair share of food-related holidays. If your prime summer month has been lacking in the delicious treat department, here is your chance to catch up and celebrate in the name of calories.

National Fried Chicken Day | July 6th
Client: Otters Chicken Tenders
Designer: Leigh Bernstein
Design level: Concierge Design

Anyone who takes a day to celebrate fried chicken is a friend of mine. A typical offering in the Deep South, fried chicken is undoubtedly worthy of a wacky food holiday. In fact, July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day — and what a delicious holiday it is.

Leigh stepped up to the plate (pun intended) to set up Otter's Chicken Tenders with the ideal email stationery for their campaigns. She created a balance of rough burlap texture, vibrant colors and enticing photos of Otter's delicious food. Leigh used their brand colors of red and yellow, which also happen to be known for encouraging an appetite. It certainly worked on the design team!

Chocolate Day | July 7th
Client: Olive & Sinclair
Designer: Kelly McClain
Design level: Concierge Design

If you haven't enjoyed a chocolate bar with a hint of salt and pepper, your taste buds are missing out. While it may sound like an unusual combo, it is just one of many exciting flavor profiles from Nashville's premier chocolatier. Olive and Sinclair is a boutique chocolate shop located on Nashville's East side that boasts creative artisan chocolate.

Scott Witherow, the shop's founder, owner and a chocolate maker himself, came to us with amazing branding. His website is a piece of art — much like the product he creates. Kelly was happy to take on the challenge of reflecting the website without making it a perfect replica. The final product was an inspired stationery ideal for email inboxes and smartphones alike. She used textures that give depth and make the reader want to reach out and unwrap the tasty treat. The slightly distressed detail and muted colors are perfect accents that delight rather than overwhelm.

If you're intrigued by what sets this shop apart from the rest, be sure to watch their behind-the-scenes video. They give us a good excuse to celebrate "National Chocolate Day" every day.

National Ice Cream Day | July 17th
Client: Sweet Cece's Knoxville
Designer: Kelly McClain
Design level: Concierge Design

One frozen yogurt shop is taking Tennessee by storm! Sweet Cece's is the perfect cure for a hot summer's day. Our friends at Sweet Cece's in Knoxville, TN requested a stationery that would help extend their youthful, energetic branding.

Our resident ice cream connoisseur, Kelly, was more than happy to oblige. The brand's signature colors shine in this stationery, which is simply and cleanly designed so as not to compete with the content area. The simple scallop element hints at the treats used for toppings, and the custom buttons that Kelly created for Twitter and Facebook make this stationery tailored, whimsical and just plain sweet.

National Blueberry Month
Client: Avalon Acres
Designer: Lauren Johnston
Design level: Concierge Design

What better excuse to highlight local farms than National Blueberry Month? Jennifer Bodnar and the fine folks at Avalon Acres are kind enough to provide lots of Nashville locals with fresh quality fruits and vegetables delivered directly from the farm. This CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a rapidly growing concept as we move toward sustainable nutrition.

Avalon Acres provides its members with seasonal organic food and does so with style. Their brand new website needed a matching stationery to help tell their story, so Lauren worked with Jennifer to create a simply beautiful design. Jennifer requested something "rustic, farm-y [and] classy" so Lauren took the opportunity to include lots of images of life at Avalon Acres. Jennifer was thrilled with the outcome and has sent several campaigns since the CSA season begin in May.

(Author's note: Want to celebrate Blueberry Month in style? Scout out your own local CSA or make Blueberry Boy Bait like our very own Megan Feltes did this week. We're a spoiled bunch!)

Time to grab a fork and work your way through July's delectable holidays. Happy snacking and happy sending!

Until next time,
Your Emma design team


Design showcase: Social justice and community progress

A quick look at some of our efforts towards diversity, equality and forward-thinking design

Earlier this spring, Emma hosted its first "booth" for Stand Against Racism, an annual event created by the YWCA to promote awareness of racism's lingering effects in America. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country took the SAR pledge and participated in office-sponsored activities, and for us, it served as a fantastic kick-off to an ongoing initiative to increase our office diversity.

Another special event for us at Emma happened today: our second annual potluck for Juneteenth, one of my personal favorite holidays. Its inspiring story commemorates the end of slavery, honors African American history and achievement and celebrates freedom, community and diversity.

It was in that spirit, then, that staffers contributed dishes from their own personal backgrounds and cultures for today's potluck. It was an incredible spread, and I was reminded of how lucky I am to be surrounded by such hard-working, forward-thinking people.

Of course, one of the ways that we on the design team help promote community progress is through custom designs for our nonprofit customers who are out there doing good in the world.

By doing our part to visually tell these clients' brand stories, we hope to help them advertise their events, raise more funds and drive their volunteer efforts. It's wonderfully rewarding to work with these customers, hear their success stories and watch their readership grow, and we're proud to have a small part in those stories by crafting their custom designs.

And with that, let's take a look at some designs for three hardworking nonprofits that are making strides towards social justice and progress.

Customer: Students of the World
Designer: Jessica Peoples
Design Level: Concierge Design

Since it was founded at Duke University in 1999, Students of the World has collaborated with college students to create documentary media, and then use those materials to gain support for nonprofits all over the world. When Katie Sobering requested stationery for SOW, the organization was already in the process of re-branding and re-working its web presence to expand its global reach.

Katie noted that it was very important to keep the stationery simple and professional, but somehow visually communicate the essence of the brand without any "fancy frills or clutter." The color scheme was set to charcoal, turquoise, beige and white, so Jessica stuck to those exclusively and used just a bit of antiqued texturing to add some visual interest to an otherwise very simple, clean design. She also created a custom graphic for the "send this email to a friend" link, which echoes the logo design and replaces the default version of the link included in Emma emails.

Customer: The Contributor
Designer: Elizabeth Williams
Design Level: Concierge Design

Last year, the Emma design team came out of thinkTank, a local design conference, inspired and touched by story of speaker Tasha French. Since founding The Contributor in 2007, Tasha and her team have turned their nonprofit passion project into the biggest street newspaper in North America.

The organization's website incorporates some beautiful and powerful photographic images, many of them taken by Tasha herself, and she definitely wanted to include an image of Contributor vendors in the stationery. Elizabeth made sure to highlight the photograph by surrounding it with a distressed circular border in the same color as the tagline's focal words. That border is also part of a larger plan to juxtapose the old and the new: on one hand, she gave prominence to the classic Contributor logo, of course, and added a faded graphic of an antique typewriter to the footer; on the other, the tagline and footer text are both in a clean, modern, sans serif font and the vendor photograph is in crisp, full color.

And, of course, tying it all back to the actual Contributor product, Elizabeth used paper textures and subtle shadowing to lend an aesthetic of real newsprint to the design. Tasha was thrilled with the outcome and has since been using the stationery for reader surveys, important news, and a fundraising push for spring/summer 2011.

Customer: Oregon Commission for Women
Designer: Jessica Peoples
Design Level: Concierge Design

The Oregon Commission for Women began less formally and under a different name in the 1960s, but in 1983, it became official on a legislative scale as an agency to promote women's equality, education and empowerment. Jenny Greenleaf requested the custom stationery for the OCW with an open mind about much of the design direction, but she did note a preference of plumb, sage and khaki for the color scheme.

For this design, Jessica and Jenny discussed the organization's mission, branding and various stationery ideas. From there, Jessica used the title ("She Flies with Her Own Wings") as inspiration for the flowing nature of this design. Jenny loved the final look and has been brainstorming all kinds of uses for her new stationery. We're so proud of her efforts to dive right in, and can't wait to see how her email campaigns enhance the organization's overall marketing strategy.

How does your office promote community and social justice? Let us know about your company's initiatives – big or small – to celebrate diversity, commemorate history and push for social progress. If you're interested in starting your own event for Stand Against Racism, you can find out more online or at your local YWCA.

Until next time … love, hugs and working together,
The Emma Design Team


Design showcase: Emma 25

Four of our most recent winners use their stationery for good

Every year, we award free Emma accounts to deserving nonprofits through our Emma 25 program. We love to watch these wonderful organizations turbo-charge their marketing, expand their reach and do more good in the world using email to spread the word.

Since custom design is included for all honorees, this program is a particular pleasure for the design team because we get to interact one-on-one with many of these awe-inspiring Emma 25ers. In this month's design showcase, we're taking a look at the custom stationery for four of our most recent honorees.

Rape Crisis Center | Emma Design Showcase
Client: Rape Crisis Center
Designer: Leigh Bernstein
Design Level: Concierge Design

The Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties is a facility dedicated to helping victims of sexual assault and to working towards the ultimate prevention of the crime through education and awareness. Leanne Graham, the Center's Director of Grants Management, wanted the stationery to be consistent with the website's sense of warmth and comfort.

Leigh was instantly a fan of the Center's soft colors and textures, but she knew that some features were geared more towards the web — and would need an email-friendlier alternative for the stationery design. She rebuilt the website header to feature the organizations's slogan, "healing. hope. empowerment," in lieu of the website's navigation bar; this way, the header design is streamlined and the logo is the clear focal point.

The website header features a bit of animation that works really well in a browser, but email clients' super-sensitive spam filters can be finicky about animation. Still, Leigh wanted to convey a sense of movement in the email header, so she added some floating dandelion seeds across the design to create a gentle, dynamic swirl. She also liked the ripped paper border that surrounds the website's featured image, so she re-purposed that texture to frame the mailing content area. The result is a beautiful, brand-consistent stationery that takes into account all aspects of the website design without losing sight of the unique needs of the email environment.

To learn more about the Rape Crisis Center or to donate to their cause, please visit them online.

Help-Portrait | Emma Design Showcase
Client: Help-Portrait
Designer: Taylor Schena
Design Level: Concierge Design

Earlier this spring, several Emma staffers were lucky enough to see a TEDx Nashville talk by Jeremy Cowart, a celebrity photographer and the founder of Help-Portrait. The idea behind this organization is simple but powerful: those in need often feel ignored and unimportant, but a day of pampering followed by a photo shoot under the spotlight can help them see, appreciate and document their own beauty and dignity — often for the first time in their lives.

Taylor was thrilled to create the stationery for Help-Portrait, but there were immediate questions as to how certain aspects of the website branding could translate to a fabulous email design. On the web, the little square images in the background are tiled from one edge of the window to another, which requires a particular kind of code that makes the images automatically repeat to fill the screen. However, that kind of code is not accepted by all email clients, so Taylor used the square images as a background texture behind the header, and then used an email-friendly solid gray beyond the header area.

For an extra kick of consistency (and to help drive traffic, of course), Taylor used the same navigation bar in the stationery as what appears on the website. However, she scaled down the size of the links and scaled up the logo — so the emphasis is still clearly on the identity of the brand.

Want to find out more about Help-Portrait? Click here.

Teton Valley Education Foundation | Emma Design Showcase
Client: Teton Valley Education Foundation
Designer: Leigh Bernstein
Design Level: Concierge Design

The Teton Valley Education Foundation is an organization working to improve public education in Teton Valley, Idaho through advocacy, grants, volunteer coordination and educational programming. So far, they have been using their email stationery to advertise their community meetings, Volunteer Recognition Luncheons and Teacher Appreciation Week — event-based marketing that fosters the reputation of the Foundation as an industrious, engaged organization.

Deneen Bowen, the Foundation's Executive Director, requested the stationery right at the time they were about to re-brand their website. Fortunately, they already had a good idea of how the new identity would look. Deneen sent over a brochure that included all the new colors as well as her favorite element, the green swoosh, so that Leigh would have a solid idea of the new aesthetic they were going for. Deneen stressed that she wanted a clean design with happy, bright colors, and Leigh was glad to oblige. Now, the Foundation has a new website and new stationery that consistently and cheerfully reflect its brand story.

Get involved or donate to the foundation on their website here.

Elders Share the Arts | Emma Design Showcase
Client: Elders Share the Arts
Designer: Kelly McClain
Design Level: Concierge Design

For over 30 years now, Elders Share the Arts has been working with seniors in the New York City metropolitan area to encourage their creative potential and affirm their place in the community as storytellers and bearers of history and culture. ESTA organizes a number of community and larger-scale events, and their email stationery has already helped with the promotion of everything from their small-group Story Circles to the Annual Flamekeeper Gala.

Jennie Smith-Peers, the Executive Director of ESTA, submitted the request for stationery along with several great images, and Kelly narrowed it down to the four pictures that she saw as perfect reflections of the organizations' mission. The blue background color came from the ESTA's own branding and website, which has a very clean design and user-friendly structure. Kelly created bits of texture and depth to frame the header and peek out from behind the content area, but she intentionally maintained a simplicity of design so that the spotlight would remain on Jennie's beautiful, powerful photos.

If you'd like to become a part of the ESTA story, visit their website here.

Until next time … love and hugs to all the nonprofits out there who are fighting the good fight!
Your Emma Design Team

If you would like to request your own Concierge Design stationery, head over to our online form. Not yet an Emma customer? Come say hi!

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Design showcase: Music in Our Schools Month

Here at Emma HQ, we're lucky enough to be nestled in the heart of Music City, just a few minutes from the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman Auditorium and RCA Studio B (where, incidentally, Elvis recorded "It's Now or Never" — quite possibly our *most* favorite operatic pop hit from 1960).

Folks in Nashville quite simply have music in their DNA, so it seems only natural to share the love and spread the word about Music in Our Schools Month, a nationwide initiative to save music programs in public schools. And so, this month's stationery showcase is dedicated to some of our favorite music-themed designs; songs tell a story, after all, and we like to think our stationery can do much the same. Join me as we check out a few beautiful designs created for some talented singers and storytellers.

Client: Jayme Stone

Jayme Stone stationery
Emma Designer: Elizabeth Williams
Design Level: Concierge Design

What a delight to come across an amazing banjo player so far away from the Bluegrass State! When he isn't teaching music classes, Jayme Stone composes and plays music inspired by folk dances from around the world. With the arrival of a new record, Room of Wonders, Jayme wisely chose to update his stationery to reflect the whimsical new site design, replete with illustration and hand lettering.

Armed with good direction and a strong sense of the Jayme's branding, Elizabeth's challenge was to bring that story into the world of email with a design that would shine in the inbox environment. She seized opportunities to tie in key details, such as the illustrated dancers and customized social sharing buttons. He also requested a customized "send to a friend" button that tied in nicely with the overall design. The result is a stationery that is a unique piece of his marketing narrative, but one that still fits into the story.

Client: Bonepony

Bonepony
Emma Designer: Jennifer Kasdorf
Design Level: Concierge Design

As long-time members of the Nashville roots rock community, Bonepony knew they needed to stay true to the rustic look of their branding without losing a professional, semi-polished look. They requested a stationery *inspired* by their website but not an exact duplication, so Jennifer got creative with existing pieces from the bounty of great materials Kenny provided.

Jennifer was able to maintain the rougher texture present in the website by applying it to the entire background of the stationery header, but she combined it with a new, sleek color palette of black, white and sliver. The result is a perfect, brand-consistent balance of edge and sophistication.

Client: Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

Drew Holcomb
Emma Designer: Taylor Schena
Design Level: Concierge Design

Our friends Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors are Nashville-based independents that have been with Emma for three years now. Drew and Ellie have enjoyed an exciting year of music, including the release of a new album produced, in part, by the group's own fans.

Thanks to a company called Kickstarter, fans were able to donate funds to see the album come to fruition. Staying in close touch with fans became even more imperative with such an endeavor. The new stationery needed to reflect their updated look, but Taylor knew she would need to retain a good level of recognizability for their long-time fans. She gave prominent placement to the photo and tied in a subtle swirl texture in the background for a little extra visual interest. The final aesthetic is contemporary, understated and relaxed. Best wishes on the road, Drew and Ellie…

Client: W.O. Smith Music School

W. O. Smith
Emma Designer: Elizabeth Williams
Design Level: Concierge Design

The W.O. Smith Music School has transformed the lives of an entire community of children in greater Nashville, and we could not be prouder to be affiliated with this fabulous non-profit. W.O. Smith is a music school whose volunteer staff is made up of musicians who donate their time and efforts so that underprivileged children can get world-class musical instruction for just 50¢ per lesson.

They requested a clean and simple design, so Elizabeth took their carefully branded logo and drew the prominent red and black colors from the website. The minimalism of the design strikes a good balance with the boldness of their brand colors and also allows the content area to shine on its own. Here's to many more years of shaping lives through the power of music education!

If you would like to request your own Concierge Design stationery, head over to our online form. Not yet an Emma customer? Come say hi!

Until next time … love, hugs and treble clefs from your Emma design team.


Design showcase: Some favorites from 2010

For this month's edition of the showcase, some of our designers picked a few of their favorite stationery creations from the year. The selection represents a diverse range of clients, and we like how each design clearly reflects both the personality of the brand and the skill of the designer.

Centennial Pediatrics

Client: Centennial Pediatrics
Emma designer: Elizabeth Williams
Design level: Concierge Design

Centennial Pediatrics is a Nashville-based health care center and a leader in pediatric research and parent education. They already had a solid logo and some good-looking supporting graphics to work with, so Elizabeth's primary challenge was to enhance those images for the world of email. It turned out to be a great working relationship, and the resulting stationery became one of Elizabeth's favorites from the year.

"I loved working with these guys, and they were super pleased with the stationery," says Elizabeth. "They weren't sure how to incorporate their website elements into the design at first, but it turned out to be a fun design for parents and kids alike."

Julie Hanna Photography

Client: Julie Hanna Photography
Emma designer: Kelly McClain
Design level: Concierge Design

When Julie Hanna requested stationery for her photography business, she wasn't sure about the style she wanted to convey. She wanted a visually compelling design, but nothing that would distract the eye or detract from her logo. She sent us a photograph of a woman wearing a scarf that she found particularly beautiful, and Kelly used it as inspiration for the design.

"I tried to create a look that had a similar, flowy feel to it," says Kelly. "I was excited to experiment with different styles because she was so open to trying something new. I ended up layering textures to achieve the final look, and it turned out really well."

Uscoop

Client: U Scoop
Emma designer: Taylor Schena
Design level: Stationery Suite

Maddy from Uscoop needed a decidedly collegiate feel in her stationery design, and she wanted it to be fun. Taylor had the additional challenge of creating a full stationery suite of three designs without a finalized company website to use as reference, and without any supporting graphics beyond the logo. Fortunately, Maddy gave her several inspiration files and the thumbs-up to try some new ideas.

"We talked on the phone about their company, their demographic and business goals, and what they wanted to accomplish with their stationery," says Taylor. "They really liked type with personality — scripts, academic looks and hand-made styles — and they also had an affinity for wood grain textures, old books and paper textures. But they didn't have anything specific to provide, so it was really fun because I had so much creative freedom."

Gillian Lindsay

Client: Gill Lindsay
Emma designer: Jessica Peoples
Design level: Custom greeting card

When Gill Lindsay decided to send her save-the-date notices via email, she went straight to Jessica, one of our senior designers. Jess also got married recently, so working on this design created a special moment for her to share with her friend. (Author's note: Congratulations to both of the happy couples!)

"I loved this one so much because it's personal, simple and inviting," says Jess. "It's always exciting to add drawn elements, and I love using design to make people smile."

For more examples of Emma brand stationery, click here. Ready to request your own? You can reach us here if you'd like to open an account, or here if you're a current customer.

Here's to a design-filled 2011,
Your Emma Design Team


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