Chalkin’ in a Winter Wonderland: BrightWave’s 2018 Holiday Email


Each year, BrightWave uses its annual holiday email to showcase innovative design techniques and advanced inbox interactivity. This year, the Atlanta-based email agency hired a local artist to spread the holiday spirit throughout their office by drawing festive chalk art on their walls. Armed with photos and videos taken during the drawing process, they decided to digitize the chalk art experience and incorporate it in their 2018 holiday card.

BrightWave decided to make a simple script gif for the main headline of the email to add visual interest above the fold. The real showstopper, however, was the special roll-over gif in the “behind the scenes” secondary section. This section looks like a regular photo until the user mouses over the image to magically bring it to life. The BrightWave team create the animated hover state by combining multiple video clips into one gif. By splicing together shots from different phases of the drawing process, they achieved an eye-catching stop-motion look. What made this design particularly challenging was getting multiple interactive elements (the headline and the behind-the-scenes gif) to look cohesive, so it didn’t feel like there was too much movement happening. Adding a hover or “roll-over” effect was the perfect solution.

Click the video below to experience the final outcome, or visit this link to interact with the card yourself.


Given the interactive element of this email, BrightWave used click rates as an initial measurement of success. The email saw click rates that were 95.29% higher than the industry average. However, one of agency’s top goals (after thanking their clients and spreading good cheer) was to show off their team’s talent to the email community. This year, BrightWave was excited to see a few of the industry’s most esteemed colleagues were impressed enough to publicly give them props on social media.

Proud email geek Kristin Bond, who is also a co-founder of Women of Email, loved how the animations looked in her email client of choice:


Litmus Research Director and long-time influential email pro Chad White appreciated the interplay of snazzy design features and relevant seasonal content:

The BrightWave team has been extremely flexible. This is what makes BrightWave a critical partner. Our business changes quickly which causes sudden changes in direction that we must react to. BrightWave has done a great job of shifting resources to keep advancing the work.

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