Buzz Usborne

Email Builder


One of the biggest challenges for designers and marketers is the complexity involved in building nice-looking HTML email templates. Coding mobile-responsive emails that work cross-browser is difficult… but making them look good too is next to impossible. Campaign Monitor set out to solve that.

Be different! Direct link

There are existing tools, but all of them provide create cookie-cutter templates and hard-to-use interfaces — we saw an opportunity to do better. In what was one of the most challenging tasks of my career, I was tasked with designing an easy way for anyone to design a beautiful, bespoke email that matches their brand, works everywhere, and doesn’t require a knowledge of HTML.

The result was a WYSIWYG editor that is used by thousands of customers to send millions of beautiful emails for some of the world’s leading brands.

Anyone can design! Direct link

There’s no denying that email templates are technically challenging — especially when you consider client support. But what I wanted for our customers was to forget about all of that complexity, and focus on the content instead. It took two of the world’s best email developers (Nicole and Stig) and an exceptionally talented engineering team to pull off — but the result was a drag-and-drop editor that felt like a native creative app.

Above — An early promotional teaser by Versus

Emails can be beautiful Direct link

One of my core principals for this project was that a beautiful email was the only acceptable output, no matter what the content. So the challenge was to break the assumption that emails were an old-fashioned medium — and present them like glossy mini-websites.

I challenged my team to create a range of themes that acted as creative starting points for customers — based off different visual styles, industry and business types. Each designer was given the task of one template per week. Here is a glimpse into the chaos:

And the resulting themes…