Brands Who've Nailed The Animated Email

Brands are constantly fighting to get our attention, and even more keep it. What separates the emails worth a read from the ones that get booted straight to the junk folder {where bad emails go to die}? Subject line, timing, design and content all play big roles in whether a message grabs our attention or has us searching for the unsubscribe button. One way to add a little "pizazz" to your email marketing is to incorporate animation, also known as a gif. We've compiled a list of brands who have nailed this without under or over-doing it.

1. Loeffler Randall 

2. Loft

3. J.Crew

4. Kate Spade

5. Galleria Edina + Pumpz

Top 5 Reasons We Love Working at Style-Architects

Top 5 reasons we love working at Style-Architects


1 // Co-workers are Key!

We work closely on pretty much every aspect of each project.  Having co-workers you love to spend your day with makes ALL the difference. Everyone strives to demonstrate openness everyday, seeking out ways to involve others to enhance outcomes.

2 // Flexibility Rules!

Being able to come and go (with-in reason) is a huge perk.  Trust between boss + employee is rated among the most important characteristics of a healthy, fun environment.  Flexibility is only do-able when there is a strong element of trust in an office.

3 // Environment Love!

We are surrounded by great food, fun fashion and quite the view! It’s easy to feel inspired in the North Loop.

4 // Let it be!

One of the best perks of working at SA is that we each get to manage ourselves (more or less).  Employees are not just thinkers but doers. Starting work with minimal hesitation and rolling up the sleeves to produce impactful client solutions. We come up with ideas, bounce them off each other, collaborate and execute.  

5 // Christina, #girlboss

It’s easy to love what you do when you have a boss that is as creative, compassionate, and cool as Christina. With a background in editorial and marketing, she comes to the table with powerhouse ideas.

More about our fearless leader on Rue and Everygirl

Tried-and-True: Style-Architects Required Reads

Required reads

Here at SA, creative block is our worst enemy. There is nothing worse than when it feels like your creative juices have packed their bags and headed home for the day, which is why we've decided to round up some of our favorite go-to reads that are perfect for sparking inspiration. Now sit back, pour yourself a latte {or glass of wine} and cozy up with one of these Style-Architects-approved reads:

1. Kayd: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg // “Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg discusses gender-biased obstacles in today's society when climbing the professional ladder. It's a well-written and enlightening read that challenges all to have a progressive perception on the new generation of women to lead.”

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown // "The TED speaker talks about the courage to be vulnerable and its ability to change the way we live."

2. Carlyn: Fast Company Magazine // “My go-to magazine for inspiration, motivation, and industry news. It's the beautiful layout and wide array of content categories {innovation, business, tech, and design} that has me reading it cover-to-cover."

3. Jasmine: Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn K. Glei // "The 99U series, written by the team at Behance, aims to provide the "missing curriculum" that every creative person and team needs to make ideas happen. Manage your Day-to-Day is a collection of insights from brilliant minds about how to make the most of your time and energy on the small things so that nothing can stand in the way of letting the big ideas flourish. In the words of Airbnb Co-Founder, Joe Gebbia, "It's like the Navy Seals of creativity got together and wrote a book about productivity." It's a gem of a quick read for a creative slump!"

4. Gina: Growth Hacker by Ryan Holiday // "The world's largest taxi company owns no vehicles {Uber}, the most popular media outlet of our time creates no content {Facebook}, and the largest accommodation provider owns no real estate {AirBnb}. If you've ever wondered how these online businesses created disruptive demand without conventional marketing, this book will satisfy your curiosity! It's a thought-provoking read that offers case studies and tools to scale growth."

Pulse // "It's a great place to have marketing related updates going to one newsfeed. You can follow all the major publications out there {Ad Age, Adweek, Fast Co.}. I'd recommend following Fierce Retail!"

5. Madeline: Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger // "I recently started this best seller and I haven't been able to put it down. Berger explores why certain content goes viral, what ideas spark conversation, as well as demonstrates good and bad strategies for advertising new products and ideas {perfect for those who are shark tank addicts like me}!" 

Frankie Magazine // "This Australian mag provides the best inspiration for all things fashion, music, travel, and photography. The unique covers look great on your coffee table, too!"

Tried-and-True: The VSCO Presets Worth Downloading


#1. Filter J1  

The J1 filter is your go-to for producing a clean-contrasting feel to your photos. Shadows become cooler, and focal points become dramatic and defining. J1 is a must-have if you want to transform a dull, quiet moment into an edgier contrasted photo.

J1: Part of the Minimalistic Collection ($2.99)

#2. Filter A6

A6 presents you with warmth and ultra-rich colors. The highlights have an exceptionally bright tone, which helps give a crisp finish. Pinks and reds shift to an orange and tangerine, while browns and wood tones transition to a dark, richer red. Best for a cleaner color curve. 

A6: Part of the Analog/Aesthetic Series (FREE)

#3. Filter 06

06 excels in creating a sunwashed environment without losing complete color vibrancy. For best results, the primary objects within your raw image should be colorful and naturally-lit. With it's application of a slight fade and soft contrast, it never fails to add a layer of freshness. Perfect for smoothing out rough surfaces {like our yellow photo paper}!

A6: Part of the Legacy Series ($1.99)

#4. Filter HB2

HB2 brings that brightening and high contrasting effect to your photos. Want to give your blue skies an extra punch? This is one of our favorite filters for your outdoor photos . It's a little heavier, and plays up on shadows, so there's no crime against cranking down the strength! Best when desiring bold color hues and a finished product that is left stunningly cool {in temperature}. 

HB2: Part of the Hypebeast Series (FREE for a limited time)

Tried-and-True: Top 7 SEO Tools To Get You Started

As a consumer, you use Google as the first step to answer all of life's curiosities {not to mention, as a completely acceptable verb}, right? From splitting a bill, to comparing calories on your favorite foods, to even setting a timer, Google has successfully established itself as being more than just a search engine...and more of a loyal, dependable best friend. 

As a business owner, Google is your opportunity to be in front of potential customers at the exact time that they are looking for something your company offers or sells. With that goal, there's a lot of upkeep to maintain a top spot on the results page. Remember "Mobilegeddon" back in April {the algorithm update that favored mobile-responsive websites and had some brands frantically adjusting on the fly}? As of Monday, the tech powerhouse released major news of company changes that will have us calling Google by it's new name, Alphabet
Company CEO, Larry Page, took it to Google's blog to explain that Alphabet will be a larger mother-company consisting of Google and many other current endeavors consisting of projects within Life Science, such as glucose-sensing contact lenses. 

In awe yet? It's easy to get overwhelmed by the company's constant changes, but there are a handful of free tools that ensure you've covered the search engine optimization basics. Here are our favorites to get you started: 

1. Tagxedo - Builds word clouds to show your your keyword density.

2. Ubbersuggest - Extracts key phrases and suggests keywords and then displays them into a list format that can be easily copied and pasted

3. Google Keyword Planner - To generate long tail keywords using Google Auto Complete.

4. SERPs Rank Checker - Free keyword rank & SERP checker.

5. Google Pagespeed Insights - Check the performance of your site

6. Siteliner - Crawls your site and generates reports on duplicity, broken links, and internal page rank

7. Peek - Unbiased website user testing. See and hear a 5-minute video of someone using your site or app.

Tried-and-True: Top 5 Links We Love for Stock Photography


When looking for stock photos, it is easy to get frustrated with the unprofessional, "basic" images that are provided on popular stock photo sites. After all, nobody wants their audience knowing the difference between an original content photo and a stock photo. Plus, who wants to burn a hole in their wallet paying for stock photography {especially when that photo is blurry, watermarked, and bland}? Certainly not us. Here are some free stock photo websites that offer their own unique twist and supply you with the stock photos you've been dreaming of.

1. Death to the Stock Photo: In with the good, out with the bad. Let the name speak for itself. Death to Stock Photo works on providing beautiful and authentic photos. In addition to the free access to high quality images, a $15.00 a month subscription grants you access to the entire library!

2. Forget about having to search around the internet for good stock photo websites! Stock Up provides you links to 24 high-class, free of charge photo websites. 

3. Pexels gives you everything you are looking for in a stock photo, minus the hassle. Pexels has a Creative Commons Zero license; which means you can copy, modify, distribute, and even perform the photos without having to ask for permission or attach a link.

4. Unsplash: This stock website works on providing high-quality and unique views of life shown through photographs. You can use photos that you get from Unsplash for anything that you want, whether it be for your business, or even your own personal use. 

5. Jay Mantri: Your not-so-typical stock photo site. Jay is a professional photographer who uploads his photos onto his website for your {free} enjoyment and use. But wait, it gets even better. The site also includes something called "The Gram Society." Every Thursday, The Gram Society releases a list of seven selected Instagram photographers that they think are worth following. How's that for extra inspiration?