E-mail design for Psychology

The Department of Psychology distributes a printed newsletter every semester called INSIGHTS. The newsletter is created and designed by the department’s Director of Development Lolin Wang-Bennett, who provides our CLASS Web Services office with a PDF version for posting on their website.

As part of the promotion campaign for this issue, we scheduled a time with the University’s marketing department to launch an e-mail blast to inform selected members of the university’s alumni and donor database that the new issue is available online. UH uses the non-profit focused Convio to send e-mail messages to its constituents.

This is, of course, cheaper than just mailing it to everyone – though the Department of Psychology does mail it to select alumni.

For this assignment, I worked closely with Lolin – who also shares a passion for backyard gardening – to design an e-mail that will quickly alert alumni and donors that the new issue is available. We decided we wanted the message to be short and sweet – she submitted the text for the message, my part of the assignment was to design it.

Psychology Insights email
This is a screen capture of the main part of the e-mail sent to promote the new issue of the Psychology newsletter.

I had some fun with this one. For starters, I chose an attention-getting off-yellow and I created a pin-wheel-like design that would indicate something exciting is happening at the Department of Psychology.

I designed the initial concept in Adobe Illustrator before building the tables in Adobe Dreamweaver. Yes, I designed the layout of the e-mail in tables – it’s the only reliable way a complex layout with columns will display properly across all browsers and clients when e-mailed. Designing e-mail: It’s like being stuck in 1996.

Initial design of psychology email using illustrator
This is the initial design of the psychology e-mail that I created, using Adobe Illustrator.

For the secondary graphic, I took a screen capture of the PDF newsletter, and copied it to mimic the look of it running off the presses. I then used a gradient to shade it. I thought this presented the content in an interesting, yet not overwhelming way.

Today, the e-mail message launched through the university’s Convio e-mail system.

I have archived it here on my website.

An interesting thing we discovered after running the message’s statistics in Convio: More than 2/3 of the audience that clicked through the message to see the Psychology Newsletters page did so by clicking the link in the text. The rest did so by clicking the image in the e-mail, which was also hyper-linked to the same page.

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