Feb 4, 2010

MailChimp’s Design Genius

design genius 3-stepsWhen MailChimp first started out, it was designed specifically for web designers and the way they think. That logic was reflected in the process for setting up a campaign– starting with a header image, based on a grid, and with the notion that our users would have an idea for the overall look and feel they were looking to achieve.

We’ve revamped the template gallery and and added the Design Genius in V5 to make it easier to get started sending emails with MailChimp, whether you’re a web designer or not. Much like the iTunes Genius feature, our Design Genius is built to encourage and help guide discovery– beautiful template layouts, color combinations, and a whole world of possibilities. It allows you to get a feel for the final email you’re creating before you even begin! With visual suggestions and options galore, you’ll be sending your first campaign in no time.

When you get to Step 3 in the email creation process, the Design Genius will help you do three fundamental things:

  1. Pick and upload a header image
  2. Remix your template colors based on your image
  3. Pick your email layout (basic, right or left column, etc)

Step 1. Choose a header image category from the drop down menu. There are tons of options, so don’t be afraid to explore! When you mouse over the thumbnail image of the template you’ll have the option to either view the template in a pop-up window or select it. Or if you’ve got a 600px wide image you’re ready to use, click "upload your image" to use one of your own.


template view pop-up; click "use this one" to move on to step 2

Step 2. Play around with different color scheme options. You can choose a pre-designed theme on the right hand side (based on our experiments in what color combinations work best), remix the colors to get another scheme to match your header image, or you can click on "get colors from my site" which automagically pulls in colors from your own website (you provided that information to us in your account set up).


Step 3. Choose the layout you’d like for your template from the options on the left – Left Column, Right Column, Postcard, or Basic. When you click on the layout you’d like to preview, we’ll show your template (with all your colors and design elements in place) exactly as it will look when you’re ready to add content and send it.


When you’re satisfied, just click "save & add content." We’ll ask you to name your template and then shuttle you along  to the content editor so you can add your own text and images to your awesome, totally customized template.

Just a quick usability side note: If at any point in the Design Genius process you need to return to one of the prior steps, simply click on the number (1, 2, or 3) at the top of the screen and we’ll take you there.


Additional MailChimp features that make email design easy and fun: