Apr 14, 2010

New Premium Email Templates in the Gallery

thm_premium-templateYou know how Target gets high-end designers to do cool stuff that’s actually affordable?

We’re trying to do that at MailChimp, but with HTML email templates.

It’s early, and we still have to iron out some wrinkles, but I wanted to give you a sneak-peek at what we’re up to…

First, sign in to MailChimp and create a new campaign.

But instead of picking one of your saved templates, click on the "premium" link:

premium-templates-option

You’ll see some thumbnails of really slick looking HTML email templates.

The folks from Smith-Harmon, a very well-known email design agency, designed these for us (juuuuust before they got snatched up by Responsys).

You’ll also find some beautiful templates from Mindcomet, an interactive design agency with a very well-known email marketing blog (which I am a fan of).

They’re available to MailChimp customers for free.

These pioneering creatives were brave enough to submit templates for us waaaaay back when our email template language was brand new (check out this vintage promo video).

Make no mistake: these agencies are experts at email design standards and best practices, but we specifically asked them to "go nuts" with these submissions. We didn’t want them to worry about Outlook 2007 too much, or making it render pixel-perfect in Lotus Notes. We’ve already got basic templates that do that. We wanted them to push the design envelope, because nothing inspires other designers to try to beat them more.

Here’s the "Office Theme" from Mindcomet in our editor:

office-theme-before

When you’re looking at it inside our editor, things look a little choppy (well, I said we had some wrinkles to iron out with this).

But when you hit the pop-up preview button, you’ll see what it can look like in the end:

office-theme-after

That’s pretty slick, as far as emails go.

Which brings us to the Throwdown.

If you’re like every other designer I know, you’re thinking to yourself, "Hmm, I can do better than that." You’re probably wondering if it’ll hold up in gmail, or Outlook. You’re questioning how modular the image blocks and post-it notes on the side are, or if the background images gracefully degrade into a nice, solid background color.

Since you’re such a smarty-pants, enter our Email Design Throwdown, and we just might put your email template in the gallery for over 300,000 users. Oh, there are cool prizes too.