With the holidays but a distant memory, the Campaign Monitor crew have chosen a winner for the 2009 Christmas email competition. It took manual sifting through thousands of entries, a dozen square-eyes and enough caffeine to down an albatross, but we finally came to a consensus on a clear winner.

Our warmest congratulations go to the team at Clarity Communications, for their standout email design. Make sure you click through to view the animated speech-bubble:

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Choosing the winner

Like some geek beauty pageant, the emails shortlisted for the competition this year were judged on their good looks and technical merit. As per Mat’s earlier observation, many of the designs we received looked truly fabulous with images on, but suffered considerably when images were disabled. Relying on images to display your message is sadly, neither accessible, or fail-safe.

Clarity Communications’ greeting made great use of text and animation, reflecting a certain discipline in a situation where many would be tempted to export the design as one big image. With fresh colors and a cascading flow that’s pleasing to the eye, the Clarity Christmas email was a standout entry. It could even work well as a print flyer.

We’ll be sending Clarity Communications a prize that’s certainly going to be squabbled over by their team – A Kindle, $100 in Threadless vouchers and 50,000 Campaign Monitor email credits! Don’t use ’em all at once, y’hear?

Our runners up

Amidst what will be remembered as an exceptional year of email designs, here are two of our favorites:

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With work previously featured in our gallery, the Tennessee-based agency Cabedge is no stranger to our team… Or good taste. Using large type and elegant imagery, Cabedge has once more risen to the top of the class.

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Very rarely is software built solely for the purpose of trying a rather offbeat technique, let alone building a technically amazing email design. However, Style Campaign have done just that, building an image-to-HTML conversion app to produce this memorable greeting. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the source code – it’s epic.

Our runners-up will receive 10,000 email credits each for their inspiring work.

Previous winners

We’ve collected an impressive gallery of Christmas email design winners in past years, so take a look for some festive inspiration:

Thanks to everyone that sent their campaigns throughout the holiday season. Keep your eyes peeled as we near the end of the year, as we’ll be offering more prizes, showcasing more designs and giving you more reasons to love your work. There’s no beating the satisfaction of winning a competition on the merits of your beautiful code, so start dreaming up your tour de force, and keep producing beautiful emails. We can’t wait to pick the winners again for 2010!

  • Neil Campbell

    Thanks very much! I didn’t realise the first place prize was all three items. It’s so nice to be appreciated :)

    Cheers,
    Neil @ Clarity

  • Angie

    Yes, many thanks to the Campaign Monitor team. It was a great surprise. We are so pleased and honored to win!

  • Anna Yeaman

    Thanks so much guys for picking our design! Loved the other two, great work by Clarity Communications and Cabedge…chuffed to have our work featured on CM, always inspired by the great work featured in the gallery :)

    – Anna

  • Steve McGrath

    I may be missing something here, but in one sentance you say “some entries suffered terribly when images were turned off” yet the winning entry suffers exactly the same. I forwarded the email to myself (Outlook 2007 client) and lack of images make the email very messy and even with images turned on, the animation did not work! I have nothing against Clarity, but why would this win against some of the less image reliant entries?

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi Steve, I understand your concern here. The winning entry certainly isn’t ‘bulletproof’, per se, but it did display an understanding on the designer’s part of what happens when images are turned off. Using animation is by no means fail-safe, but when it does work, it sure is effective.

    Again, the entries were selected based on both good looks and technical merit. We believe that the Clarity campaign excelled in both categories, whereas many campaigns tend to sacrifice one for the other. Note that the image-less Style Campaign design was a close runner-up, however as in any design competition, there can only be one winner.

    Many thanks again, I appreciate your input on this and think it’s excellent that you tested the design on your own steam.

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