Email Design Guidelines for 2006

Check out the updated 2008 email design guidelines

As 2005 draws to a close, I thought I'd take the opportunity to outline what I think are some of the key email design trends and guidelines that we should all be paying attention to now and into the new year.

This certainly isn't an exhaustive list, but to me these are the key issues that seem to be overlooked in most of the emails I receive and a great deal that are sent through Campaign Monitor.

We're all busy people, so here's a summary of what you should be doing to meet each of the guidelines.

  1. Never use images for important content like headlines, links and any calls to action.
  2. Use alt text for all images for a better experience in Gmail and always add the height and width to the image to ensure that the blank placeholder image doesn't throw your design out.
  3. Add a text-based link to a web version of your design at the top of your email.
  4. Ensure your most compelling content is at the top (and preferably to the left).
  5. Test your design in a preview pane, full screen and with images turned on and off before you send it.
  6. Ask your subscriber to add your From address to their address book at every opportunity.

If you're interested in the reasons behind these tips and learning just how important they are, read on.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner - 66 Comments

Gallery: Berkeley Cinemas Newsletter

See the complete email designAll I can say is, I wish my local cinema sent out newsletters like this every week.

Berkeley Cinemas, a New Zealand based chain of cinemas use Campaign Monitor to keep their thousands of members in the loop about what’s showing, new movies that are coming up and special member promotions.

The design does a great job of highlighting the key releases for the week, but also giving quick access to a list of every movie showing for the next week.

Designer:  web produce group  |  See the complete design

Read this post Posted by David Greiner

Gallery: Brasserie Bread

See the complete email designOk ok, maybe I’m being a little biased here, but it’s only so often we feature an email that we can actually take advantage of.

Brasserie Bread, famous for their delicious breads and pastries have just opened shop not far from the Campaign Monitor offices. Luckily for us, their email announcing the opening looks great.

Designer:  David James  |  See the complete design

Read this post Posted by David Greiner - 2 Comments

“Finally, a reliable, fast, easy to use and technically perfect product”

"If there was a standard for sending email broadcasts, Campaign Monitor have set it. There is no fuss, no technical problems to overcome and everything is explained along the way."

"In a word, marvellous!"

Richard Smith, unite form

Read this post Posted by Ben Richardson

Gallery: Austin Advertising Federation

See the complete email designThis tight little newsletter sent by the Austin Advertising Federation caught our eye recently. Like many of the other designs we’ve featured recently, this email gets a tick for great looks, scannability, and readability even with images disabled.

Our favourite bit would have to be the unsubscribe link:

“If you are saying, ‘Take me off this #*+%$# list’, you may unsubscribe here.”

Nothing like a little sense of humour to lighten up what’s usually the serious section of an email.

Designer:  Olive Design  |  See the complete design

Read this post Posted by David Greiner

Gallery: The Dish

See the complete email designA great design for a great cause, The Dish is the official monthly newsletter for Share Our Strength, the United States’ leading anti-hunger organization.

The simple layout is very easy to scan and works great even when images aren’t displayed. Our only suggestion would be to make the bullet points under “In This Issue” targeted links that allow the recipient to scroll straight to the story itself.

Check out the newsletter and while you’re at it, why not join us in making a donation to this great cause.

Designer:  Ted Topolewski  |  See the complete design

Read this post Posted by David Greiner
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