Chris Richards

marketing | branding | tech | startups

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Think Like a Dog: Building a Better Newsletter


We all know that dogs love to please their owners by following commands. Sit! Stay! Roll-over! Go fetch! These commands are never more than a couple words, and their meanings are clear and distinct. Dogs listen and look for commands that are easy to follow, and most will happily obey if there’s a reward involved. This got me wondering, as marketing is such a “command-driven” industry, what can we learn by thinking like a dog? Ultimately it comes down to clarity of communication. When building email newsletters or campaigns, always make one thing clear: the call to action. Now, read!

Fighting for AttentionAsk yourself - why are we sending this?

 Okay, so maybe it’s insulting to compare a human to a pooch in terms of attention and comprehension, but increasingly people are embracing the mantra of multi-tasking, for better or worse. Not too different than a dog that’s easily distracted, people online are jumping from page to page, tab to tab, chat to chat, and email to email. Every piece of content is fighting for attention, and your email is just one fraction of it.

With multi-tasking and attention spans in mind, smart companies are building and optimizing email to stand out in a crowded space and achieve their goals. Just take a quick browse through Really Good Emails and you’ll see what I’m talking about. This curated list shows off the kind of emails that catch a reader’s attention, emails that have been built with a conscious purpose behind them, with the design and messaging to convey it.

grand st email design

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3D Printing in Philadelphia – DesignPoint

I’m excited to be helping an awesome company that recently opened its office in Old City, Philadelphia. DesignPoint Solutions was formed based around adding value to existing 3D printing and design technologies, meaning they’ll teach you, train you, and help you design and prototype anything from a little chess piece to a sophisticated and precisely crafted medical device.

Personally, I’m blown away by the quality and precision of the little pieces their printers can put out and I’m glad to see the industry expanding in Philly. With other great 3D design and fabrication places such as Next Fab gaining lots of interest from the local community (also serving as the casting area for the next Shark Tank), it’s hard to deny the fact that the industry is blooming in Philadelphia and beyond.


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Emergency Exit

This morning, I stumbled upon an interesting show on public TV called J-Design that aims to highlight an interesting impact of Japanese design choices every episode. Today, they were examining the creation of the “running man” emergency exit sign.

In 1987, this Japanese-created pictogram became the international standard for “emergency exit.” I think it’s amazing that the designers were able to create such an internationally recognizable symbol. There are no words, yet, it is so expressive and clearly recognizable, that most people wouldn’t even think twice about this important sign.

Starbucks’ new logo redesign comes to mind as I write this. They asserted that they are so internationally recognizable words aren’t even necessary, so they removed them. It’s true, though. People just see that green mermaid and know they’re drinking good coffee!

Wiki entry – history of the exit sign: Exit Sign