When it comes to designing beautiful emails, the struggle is real, for novices and gurus alike. Unless you’ve got a full-time designer on staff, it’s safe to assume that creating and editing templates accounts for a majority of the time that you spend on email marketing. The good news is that you are not alone. Our designers also spend a tremendous amount of time creating thousands of email templates each year, so we thought it’d be a good idea to share some of our favorite design hacks with you.
1) Abandon multi-column designs
Overall, there is a shift away from using multiple columns in email designs. Because there are so many different email clients now available on desktop and mobile devices, it’s become extremely difficult to verify that multi-column designs will render properly on all devices. Instead, designers are favoring single-column, full-width designs because they’re simple to create and don’t require constant fiddling with HTML.
2) Stick to white backgrounds
Regardless of how meticulous you are, it’s difficult to get every image and text block in your email aligned perfectly. Even if your design is off by just a couple of pixels, colored backgrounds exaggerate formatting gaps and can turn an otherwise well-designed email into an amatuer-looking final product. Just take a look at the clear differences between the same email with and without a white background:
3) Use “invisible text” to control your email’s preview text
Ever wonder how to set your preview text to something other than “Having trouble viewing this email...?” Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, and other clients automatically pull in the first line of text as the email’s preview text. If you want to place a sentence above your “Having trouble viewing” header that is used as preview text but does not show up in the actual email, just set the color of that text to match the color of the background, and voila -- it’s now invisible!
4) Use web-safe fonts
This is a tip that we’ve touched on before, but it’s worth repeating because fonts can make or break your email. This post outlines which fonts are safe to use in your emails, but here’s the short version: if you don’t use a web-safe font, it probably won’t render properly in your recipient’s inbox. If you want to do something fancy, then you’ll need to incorporate that sexy font by using an image.
5) Use Litmus for easy testing and editing
One of the biggest design challenges is testing; how in the world are you supposed to verify that your email renders properly in different clients? Well, there’s an app for that (yeesh, that was a corny throwback). Litmus lets you build and test emails on 50+ clients using one easy interface.
...let us help you! We’ve got some great designers on staff who are itching to create your next beautiful email. Give us a shout and we’ll stir up something sexy for ya.