A recent Think Vitamin blog post on ‘The Importance of Imagery in Web Design‘ got me thinking. While I agree with the author’s sentiment that may well remain ‘king’, it must be remembered that folks are far more fickle when reading their email than they are when purposefully browsing the web. According to a study that tracked users’ reading behavior, the average time allocated to an email after opening it was 51 seconds. Is that even enough time to read even a few paragraphs properly?
What I wanted to think about today is how much an HTML email newsletter conveys at a glance. If a picture is indeed a thousand words, are we using images to reinforce our message visually, or are we simply using them for decoration (or distraction)?
To counter the author’s example of a web site that lacks visual expression is this email design from ‘Seipp Wohnen‘. Notice how it instantly gives the reader a sense of context, regardless of what language it’s written in:
Now, I can’t read a word of German, but I can tell you in a moment that the above email would be relevant to me if I took an interest in furniture design. So, how about this newsletter for ‘Openluchttheater‘?
Again, this is an engaging email in which all imagery ties back to the artists, or the performing arts (a Dutch speaker kindly let me know that ‘Openluchttheater’ means ‘Open Air Theatre’…).
Both examples strike a healthy balance between content and imagery. But what makes these email newsletters particularly engaging is how visually accessible they are. Neither make any assumptions about what the reader knows about their brand and thankfully, both are easy on the eyes, too. Apple’s marketing emails also spring to mind.
So now, it’s over to you. Are the images in your email collaborating with your message, or just there to pretty things up? In a world of gaudy stock photos, how do you sell to your clients the importance of tactfully using imagery in your designs? Let us know in the comments below.