Outreach and Marketing Email Templates for AAAS

At AAAS we were seeing a wide range in the quality and style of HTML emails being sent to our many audiences. Over time, Janel Kiley and I became concerned about the level of inconsistency present and felt that the lack of oversight may be hurting AAAS' overall brand image. Each new email that strayed further from the brand ate at our design sensibilities and fueled our desire to present a unified front.

Janel, leading design efforts for the Office of Public Programs, worked on a wide variety of design projects for our department and the entire organization. Occasionally, other staff would ask her to help design a new email. When she needed some technical help to pull off a particular design, she would contact me.

While this initial arrangement helped many AAAS staff get better-looking emails, the custom design approach was an inefficient use of our time as we creating designs from scratch and slowly amending code to add new features. Janel and I decided that we needed some basic, pre-coded building blocks which could coexist both in design and in code so that we could quickly assemble emails for staff in need.

Even though working on HTML emails was not part of my responsibilities, I felt that templates would reduce the amount of time spent on design and deliver emails to staff much faster; everyone would benefit immensely.

In my spare time, I would simultaneously work on templates with each new email request, using my time to code and test each element that would eventually make up our templates. With Janel's oversight, our design vocabulary emerged. Once we felt we had a wide enough range of examples I set aside some time to work solely on a modular template, versions of which are displayed below with links to the HTML files.

Once I had coded and tested a set of templates, Janel and I had Ilya Grey review the designs and provide feedback. He polished nicely, making adjustments to font size, spacing and color. After a few more rounds of testing, we had a set of more than half a dozen emails which could serve a wide range of outreach and event marketing efforts for the association. Over time, we added a few new features and determined where constraints on new elements or features were appropriate.

Importantly, each new email that I coded was intended to be utilized by non-technical staff. The code of the templates were simple enough for our communication and marketing staff to understand and, with minimal instruction, make minor design decisions to customize each email to maximize effectiveness.

Below I have provided a few views of the designs and links to each of the HTML file templates.

The design and development of the AAAS email templates showcase Robert's varied skillset: His ability to work with individuals across an organization; to identify needs and find a solution that is easily and quickly customizable; to be mindful of brand while allowing content to shine; and finally, to ensure that a product is technically sound.

Janel Kiley · Art Director, AAAS

Robert is one of the most approachable professionals I've had the opportunity to collaborate with, and his efforts on the development of the email marketing templates for AAAS show his strong consideration of content as the primary reference for design.

Ilya Grey · UI Designer, AAAS
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