Retail, Fashion, Marketing

Project Scope
Design system for email marketing - average of 15 email sends per week to 3M subscribers.

The primary goal was to develop a comprehensive design system that would streamline the email creation process, ensure brand consistency across campaigns, and empower the team to deliver high-quality emails efficiently.

It was to be easy to use for both junior and more experienced designers, enable the creation of on brand designs quickly and easily, make builds quicker, and reduce revision rounds both in design and dev stages.

David Jones

Streamlining Email Marketing with a Design System

The email marketing team at David Jones was facing significant challenges in maintaining consistency, efficiency, and speed in their email campaigns. With team members of varying skill levels working on different campaigns simultaneously, there was a noticeable lack of cohesion in design elements, resulting in brand inconsistency and wasted time on repetitive tasks. 

  1. Inconsistent design elements across email campaigns.
  2. Time-consuming process of creating and updating emails using Photoshop.
  3. Lack of centralized resources for design assets and guidelines.
  4. Difficulty in maintaining brand standards across different email templates.
  5. Limited collaboration and communication among team members during the design process.
Standardising Email Templates: A set of 13 email templates was created within the design system, covering various types of emails such as seasonal campaigns, different marketing pillars, tactical (sales events), and event invitations. These templates served as a foundation for all new email campaigns, reducing the time spent on layout and design. The templates were then also used as their individual module parts to create custom designs as required, using set elements to enable speed of design and build, while combining in custom elements as required.

Centralised Asset Repository: All design assets that were used repeatedly, such as icons, illustrations, and brand logos, were centralized within the design system. Team members could easily access and incorporate these assets into their email designs, eliminating the need for manual searching and saving of files.
Collaboration and transition: The design system was moved from Photoshop to Figma, allowing team members to collaborate in real-time, and always be using the most up to date library items.

Establishing Design Principles: The first step was to define clear design principles that would guide the creation and implementation of the design system. These principles included guidelines for typography, color palettes, layout, and branding elements specific to email marketing such as headers and footers. 

Creating a Component Library: A comprehensive library of reusable design components was developed.

These included headers and footers with multiple variations for different regions, sub-brands and recipient segments and marketing pillars. As well as buttons, typography styles, and module layouts that worked for different types of content, and could be mixed and matched as needed.

Each component was meticulously designed to ensure it was both fit for purpose and able to be reused in any other instances as required. This also enabled consistency in build.
Streamlined Workflow: Team members reported a streamlined workflow with reduced back-and-forth communication and fewer iterations during the design process. The centralized asset repository and collaboration tools facilitated seamless coordination among team members.

Increased Productivity: By eliminating repetitive design tasks and providing a structured framework for email creation, team members were able to focus more on strategic aspects of their campaigns, leading to increased productivity and better results

Improved Efficiency: With the implementation of the design system, the email marketing team experienced significant improvements in efficiency. The standardised templates and reusable components reduced the time required to design and build email campaigns significantly.

Enhanced Brand Consistency: The design system ensured a consistent look and feel across all email campaigns, strengthening the company's brand identity and improving customer recognition.

Improved onboarding: new team members picked up the guidelines and rules much more quickly and were able to produce on brand work more easily.
For large scale tactical events such as Black Friday or end of year clearance (shown above), I create blank templates for each of the daily emails using the design system, 26 in the example shown above, these include notes for slicing and build. The templates are then used by the content team to plan and comment the copy and images directly onto the figma files on the correct part of the designs, which the junior designers can then quickly drop in to the pre-designed templates. This system replaces confusing spreadsheets of content, has greatly improved both planning and strategy, and collaboration between teams, as well as speed of execution of large scale events.
Seasonal color palettes are developed by adapting the Visual Merchandising team's print assets for digital use while ensuring accessibility standards. As well as additional colour palettes for events such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas. These are then saved as styles to be accessed easily as part of the design system.

Additionally, event specific hero fonts are integrated into major campaign titles, temporarily enhancing the master brand's visual identity to give standalone events a unique identity, while still being on brand.

In conclusion, the creation and implementation of the design system tailored for email marketing proved to be instrumental in overcoming the challenges facing the very busy email design team. By focusing on standardisation, efficiency, and collaboration, the design system not only saved time but also empowered the team to deliver high-quality email campaigns consistently. As a result, the company has been able to strengthen its brand presence, engage customers more effectively, achieve greater success in its email marketing efforts, and save significant budget by moving to a simpler and cheaper CRM.