From email to web | Cross-channel experience at REI

Seattle’s REI gets a lot of things right.  20 years ago, the Northwest icon had the foresight to build a new flagship headquarters in a rundown area next to I-5.  Today the building is in the center of a booming techlandia, surrounded by cranes and glass towers.  The store has become a model of enduring physical shopping experience and is not going away anytime soon.

REI also gets it right in the digital world.  Here’s an example from a recent email campaign.  Watch how REI moves the customer effortlessly from email to web.

Back to the human

In many ways, we have gone full circle on technology mania.  In the midst of ever more machines, the unmistakable sign of the human is what now distinguishes good design.

People are making their own typefaces out of hand written letters.  Drawing is highly visible.  The look of touched and worn pages is common.  For UI wire frames and flows, a casual hand drawn look is standard.

If all our creative work is taking place huddled around white boards, why shouldn’t final products also have the look of the hand crafted?  We are attracted to things made by hand and not machine.

The all powerful rule of three

In writing, rhetoric and comedy – behold the rule of three.  Did you notice?  It just went by you.


The rule of three states that there is something particularly effective and innately satisfying when we structure arguments and deliveries with three beats.



Then this.
Then THIS.

We’re more receptive to messages when they come in threes. If you look around and start counting you’re going to see the rule of three everywhere.  It’s especially true when the medium is spoken language.

Witness the first minute of the 1998 Guy Ritchie film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which starts with an unforgettable comic street performance in the best tradition of British theatre.  It’s drenched in London lingo and slang.  Take a look.

Now look at it again, but this time think in threes. What do you notice?