Chris Studabaker

Chris Studabaker is Global Practice Manager, Design Solutions at ExactTarget. He heads email design execution and standards at ExactTarget and works with leading brands across a range of industries, from Expedia to Bank of America. Find him on Twitter @cstudabaker and ask what board games he's playing lately.

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Hiring The Email Designer

Best practices and smart tactics go a long way, but the most important part of any successful marketing program – email or otherwise – is building the right team. So, what do you look for when hiring an email designer? Here’s a short list of key factors to help ensure you have the right folks […]

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4 Reasons I Love Designing Email

The Valentine’s holiday had me wearing the customary rose-tinted glasses and thoroughly enjoying it, from the candy to the life adventures (our first daughter was born the in wee hours of the 14th). [Editor’s note: Congrats, Chris!] It was a reminder, too, that email design is often discussed only in the context of its big […]

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Corralling Email Content To Create Value

There are a lot of supposed monarchies when it comes to email marketing. Depending on the conversation, content rules one day, the user holds the crown on the next, and data picks up responsibilities on weekends. With that many claims to the throne, you’d think messaging would be easier! In reality, they’re multiple facets of […]

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Choose The Best Responsive Email Layout For Your Message

The concept of responsive email has entered into the industry consciousness, though the actual deployment is still far from common. Still, enough senders are experimenting with the technique, and we’re beginning to see patterns in layouts and organization. Any examination of responsive layout patterns must first point to the work of Luke Wroblewski. Wroblewski has […]

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Learning By Example: 9 More Responsive Emails

A few months back, I wrote a post outlining four responsive emails and the tactics they applied to content. I’ve received significant feedback on that post, so I’m diving back in to show some more responsive emails from my inbox. There’s a range of ideas here, from beginner to advanced tricks. It’s important that we […]

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Designing For Dynamic Email Messages

Dynamic email, also known as data-driven email, has been around for a long time, but planning this type of complex messaging is still a daunting task to many designers and marketers. It’s not so different from the usual design challenge, though: we have a set of assets, rules and restrictions to which the visual design […]

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A Matter of Preference: Go Beyond Barely Functional With Your Email Preference Center

I subscribe to an ever-revolving variety of email programs, looking at old, new, large and small email offerings, and the experience offered by each. A recent streak of unsubscribing highlighted a few trends in the design of preference centers. Preference centers revolve around a central idea: choice. This is the subscriber’s control center, the place […]

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How Comics Taught Me Email

The superhero movies this summer have me reminiscing on my life in comic books. See, prior to email I spent a number of years in the US comics industry, in various creative and production roles. The energy and variety was incredible, and I had the opportunity to be part of projects ranging from adaptations of […]

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Four Responsive Email Layouts

Recognizing the industry needed a scalable design strategy that acknowledged the growing stable of web-enabled devices, Ethan Marcotte coined the term “responsive web design.” Designing responsively means planning for a site to span and appropriately adjust to a range of screens and resolutions, rather than creating unique interfaces or experiences for each. Marcotte’s recent book, […]

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Mobile In The Wild: A Look At Amazon Emails

Mobile email is no longer coming soon. It’s here, and it’s here to stay. Mobile-friendly tactics like single column, large text, and big tappable buttons have entered the industry’s collective list of best practices. Skinny emails and @media are a far cry from standard, but it’s much easier to find an example in my inbox […]

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“Optimizing” Pre-Image Optimization

The harsh truth on email image blocking comes as one of the earliest lessons in email design. It’s hardly a new one, though, and we have a standard best practices short list to “optimize for images-off” — use live text for copy, include alternative text on images, make buttons bulletproof and so forth. The list […]

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6 Creative Ideas For Email Subscriber Welcome Messages

First impressions are a big deal, especially in email. Most subscribers will only ask to join an email program once. As senders, though, we have schedules to keep… emails going out the door every month, week, every day. With those operational demands, it’s easy to consider triggered or transactional messages to be necessary evils compared […]