The “Perfect” Email Design, Part 2: Deep Cuts

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Now that we’ve covered the basics of email layout, it’s time to dive into other design elements that make up an email template that will keep your consumers engaged. These elements are color, typography, and photography.

 

Color Choosing colors for your email should be primarily based on your current brand standards and styles. Most likely, the colors chosen for a brand already align with the brand’s mission, and they should make a seamless transition into email. Remember that you want your emails to reflect your brand and website as closely as possible. Color choices should be complementary to the brand, using up to two main colors along with a few tints if needed. Two to three colors are the cap for most effective emails. Most readers begin to recognize a brand’s colors the more they see them, and using consistent palettes will increase the association from your audience. That said, we love email designs that embrace specific themes, events, and holidays, and as long as your brand is still reflected in emails, it’s OK to deviate from your standard colors, as long as there’s good reason.

Typography It is very easy to get carried away when choosing type. First and foremost, readability is key. Readers should be able to easily read your content on a mobile device or smaller screens, so any type that features a lot of ornamentation is a no-go. Sans-serif fonts (i.e. fonts that don’t have little lines connecting to the edges of the characters, like Baskerville or Times New Roman) are easy to read and cleaner. They perform well on the web. This doesn’t completely rule out serif fonts, but they should be highly considered before implementing them in your email design. Make sure your typography gets the correct response that you want from your audience. Depending on the current typography for your brand, ideally you would use the same brand fonts in your emails to increase brand recognition. If you engage in responsive design, you may decide to choose a web-safe font that’s similar to your brand’s font to ensure adaptability across platforms. All in all, as with color, simplicity works best. Choose one to two typefaces that pair well together and if needed, introduce the alternate forms of those in your email.

Photography Visually speaking, most readers love viewing attractive graphics and photography more than they enjoy reading heavy copy. (Your emails should have a nice balance of photos to text blocks to keep the reader interested and scrolling.) When selecting photography, it is important to choose images that relate to the brand. If you’re selling a product, the imagery in the email should reflect the product, or the product in a relevant setting. The imagery should also be specific to the brand. For example, while images of landscapes and sunsets are not the worst choice for a brand that focuses on promoting health and wellness, it would be a better decision to incorporate images of people who seem relaxed in these landscapes.

When considering photography, be sure to only search for high resolution images. “Perfect” emails are typically between 600-640 pixels wide, so your images should be at least that, if not more. It is easier to size images down than up. The high-resolution images should also be color-corrected and edited to allow the photo to be as visually readable as possible. Blurred and poorly lit images lose readers quickly.


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