Animated gifs in email aren’t going anywhere soon. They can add an eye-catching and innovative element to even basic templates. Still, we’ve always warned our BrightWave clients to use animation somewhat sparingly. We assumed that too much animation can make a sleek design look “busy” and off-brand pretty darn quick. But you know what they say about assuming…
Recently I was having a conversation with a team at work about a modular email and suggested that we avoid animation for a particular tile. A few other tiles used gifs and the concern was that a few subscribers would receive a version of the email that included all of the animations. We all nodded heads and agreed that “too much animation is bad.”
Less than a day later, I received an email from The Honest Company in my personal inbox. This animated email, which you can reference below, used six different gifs all stacked on top of one another, and I was surprised to find that I really liked it! The animations weren’t overdone. Each was only about four frames long and took up just a quarter of the tile it was in. They were mostly staggered in their timing (though not all), which kept it from looking too robotic. It also didn’t hurt that the animations were cute (it’s diapers, so it helps to make them as adorable as possible given their ultimate function).
Did 90’s web design scar me for life? Maybe. But I’m happy to revise my perspective on how much animation is too much. For now, I’m adopting a more traditional strategist approach and sticking with the “test it” recommendation. And maybe, just maybe, there’s no such thing as too much animation if it is very thoughtfully designed.