There are plenty of things you can do to add some visual punch to your campaign. You can add images, you can create bold headlines and use color when a bit more style is needed. And your custom-designed brand stationery has already gotten you off to a great design start.
Of course, there’s always a caveat, and in this case it is the fact that email is a unique medium that rewards simplicity and structure over complexity and size. After all, your masterpiece, instead of hanging pristinely on a wall or sitting on a controlled web page, is being pushed out to hundreds or thousands of inboxes that each have their own way of interpreting and displaying your work.
So with that in mind, here are a few tips when it comes to working with images, colors and other elements of campaign style:
Use extra formatting for a reason.
Before doubling a font’s size, or turning an entire section turquoise, make sure your use of color and size are contributing to the campaign and the message. If you just really really like turquoise, you might ponder the decision a bit longer.
Be consistent with your fonts.
Remember that design doesn’t just mean graphics. It also applies to your campaign’s text and how everything looks (and works) together. Use fonts and formats that help reinforce the key points and make your email more readable.
Avoid super-sized images.
Large images take longer to load and can cause other problems if your campaign becomes too big in terms of file size. So avoid unnecessarily big graphics (40kb is about as large as any single image should be). A good rule of thumb: the more images you add to a campaign, the smaller each image should be.
Don’t let the design overwhelm the message.
You’ve seen them – emails so cluttered you get dizzy and confused and forget what they were trying to tell you in the first place. So use enough stylings to enhance your message, just make sure they don’t distract from it.
If the Style Police would object, so might some Inbox Police.
In judging whether or not an email might be junk mail, many filtering programs will consider whether or not the email looks like junk mail. Such programs will award negative points for things like too many images, or lots of large fonts, or lots of large of large fonts, or lots of large fonts, or lots of words or sentences in RED, or LOTS OF SENTENCES IN ALL CAPS, or somebody going crazy with the exclamation points!!!!! or lots of background colors. Rarely if ever are such infractions alone enough to push a campaign over a filter’s spam threshold, but it’s still an argument for moderation.
Give your campaign the five-second test.
Once you’ve got your draft ready, send it to yourself. When it arrives, pop it open for five seconds and then close it. Then ask yourself: What was this email about?