September 11th, 2020

Creating clear, elegant, no-nonsense visuals with Readymag

Readymag is an online design tool that empowers people to create professional websites, presentations, and portfolios.


📋 TL;DR key takeaways from this episode:

1. If you’re using the same layout in your emails, changing the colors throughout the design in text or graphics can surprise your audience and express emotion.

2. An elegant and easy-to-read newsletter helps serve your readers so they can determine if this is something they’re interested in and will enjoy reading.

3. Hiding certain elements on mobile is OK. This lets the message breathe and makes room for more whitespace.

Matthew Smith: Hey, it's Feedback Friday, everybody. Welcome. We're going to talk about Readymag today, where we're digging into brands and their emails here on Feedback Friday. Hey Matt Helbig, what's up, man?

Matt Helbig: What's up, Matthew Smith? Welcome back to another Feedback Friday episode. We are long time fans of the Readymag brand, so I'm excited to walk through some of these emails. 

Matthew Smith: I think I've been getting Readymag stuff for years in different forms. I'm just super impressed with what we're landing on here. I believe you found these, and I'm psyched you did. This enormous, beautiful live text. Cool, like fun, use of this sort of old school emoji.

I think these varieties are emoticons when it's more than just ASCII art. It's almost entirely black, and they're using that to create something super interesting. The "Apply" button is just really clear. They're using giant bullets here to talk about specific things down the way, which I find interesting.

I'm just really impressed. The visuals make sense. They're clear and focused and exciting, but it's so simple. You know how I feel about design golf. They've just really trimmed this up. If you're going to be a design magazine, if you're going to think about design in your brand, if you're going to care about the things that Readymag does, you've got to freaking own your emails. They can't be shitty. 

I think they've done that here, and I'm pretty impressed with how they're using such minimal color. Look at that tight little footer. Last week, we talked about how the footer seemed like the dirty rest, like the milk after the cereal has been eaten.

This feels like fresh cereal right here. Do you want to eat that up? Delicious. 

Matt Helbig: I feel like this one, I can like feel the grid. Everything is sitting nice, and everything's aligned. The mobile and desktop styles feel pretty right to me. It's a well-coded thought out email. Everything seems to have its place and stood out to me in the inbox.

Something a bit different. This is an excellent use of a simplistic pared-down email to me. I feel like what Readymag left out is shining through 

Matthew Smith: These are exciting changes that they made to mobile, where they did June 8, 2020, over here, inspiration, which is here, and then they drop newsletter.

Many people would jam everything in, but hiding specific elements is okay as well. Speaking of hiding, I am not like a hundred percent on these giant bullets centered. I feel like they work incredibly well in this version. When you have a bullet that hangs off the edge, you call that hanging punctuation, and it works so well here and then not so well here.

Why not just mimic some of what you've got going on here and have a slightly less wide mobile email or maybe pull the bullet left and put it over here. I don't know. Centered doesn't feel quite right to me, but everybody's got a subjective opinion. That's mine. So should we switch over to the next one?

Matt Helbig: Yeah. 

Matthew Smith: Whoa color! It's a big deal. It's getting crazy over here. They're asking us to stay creative at home, and I can get behind that. They continue to use a straightforward layout here, the same kind of design, introducing color this time, which I think is a nice change. Look how simple these graphics are to move people through.

We were talking a couple of weeks ago about FontShop and. I think this is another straightforward newsletter. There's just no-nonsense. They've done simple so well. They've nailed this approach. Everything is very elegant and easy to read and scan. As a user, to me, I feel served by this.

I can know quickly if I'm interested in this, and I enjoy looking at it. The value of actually just looking at it is great versus so many emails that we get in that we end up having to deny and not accept to our feed. They're just too busy, or they try and do too much.

They don't get down to the point, and they're not enjoyable to look at, which is not just fluff. It's part of selling your product. That's why brand is essential. I don't know, man. I'm kind of obsessed. I think I've got a crush on these emails. 

Matt Helbig: When you don't use color and then using color, it stands out.

They're using these graphics effectively to express emotion or message. When you include enough white space and balance out a well thought out design system that you're letting the design system flex and take in some of these longer headlines, and they still work on mobile and desktop. 

Matthew Smith: The only thing I would love to see is a bit of interactivity on these, like just subtle, but it doesn't take much to add some interactivity to your buttons. Depending on where you're sending your email from and coding, some of those kinds of things can be an issue.

Can we talk about the footer again? 

Matt Helbig: Sure. 

Matthew Smith: No, let's not. All right, everybody. This was a great one. I'm psyched. Readymag. Well played, my friends. Well-played. Hey listeners, viewers, friends, Email Geeks. Let us know what brands you'd like us to cover. Let us know how we can improve or things you're looking for from us.

Subscribe, like, love, give us hugs. We love all the stuff. So it's great to be here with everybody, even though we're virtual. All right, we'll see you next Friday.

Matt Helbig: See you.


Feedback Friday



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