Email design is complicated. With everything from imagery, layouts, typography, and more to consider, we wanted to give email geeks everywhere access to our very own email team to ask their burning questions.
Lily Worth (Email Design and Production Specialist), Jaina Mistry (Senior Email Marketing Manager), and Carin Slater (Email Marketing Specialist) from Litmus’ email team were on the line to answer your questions.
Check out the webinar recording below, and read on for some of the answers to your questions.
Here’s a recap of our answers to the most popular questions from the webinar. Got more questions on your email design mind? Head over to the Litmus Community.
Is it better to use one call-to-action (CTA) or many? What’s the verdict?
Jaina: It depends, like many things in email marketing. It’ll depend on the goal of your email campaign.
Single call-to-action emails are great when the goal is to drive your subscribers or customers to one very specific action, like registering for a webinar or downloading an ebook. It’s always going to be worth testing single CTA emails versus many CTA emails just to understand what would make the email work and help it hit its goals.
We’ve tested this out a few times on various emails, and we get lots of different, varying results from these tests. But for the most part, when we want to drive our subscribers or customers to one very specific action, we will lean on just that one, main CTA and drive folks to that specific landing page because that’s the one helping us hit our goals.
What are your dos and don’ts of designing for accessibility?
Lily: As I mentioned before, I think it’s important to design for everyone. And you can get into a really good spot by preparing yourself to work that way.
Once you’ve got things set up, it can be a lot more straightforward than it feels it’s going to be, because it does feel like a bit of a mountain when you’re getting things in process for accessibility purposes.
Keeping up with W3C standards is handy. I think things translate from web to email fairly well. Also, a good reason to get on board with accessibility is in case in the future, things change in terms of laws, or if you start marketing to another audience in another country and they’ve got different laws around accessibility. It just is going to save so much time and effort than having to kind of rework everything down the line.
The considerations I would recommend are to keep font sizes readable, and never go below 14 pixels. We tend to go for 18 pixels for body copy and will only stray below that for real, very tertiary content—and that’s quite rare. But we probably would only go down to 16 pixels there anyway.
Color contrasts too—that’s a big one. Thankfully, there are lots out there that you can leverage to test color contrast. You can choose AA or AAA standards. AA is the popular standard for businesses to meet, and you can do that with online tools like the WebAIM color contrast checker.
If you work in Figma, there’s a plugin you can use that shows color contrast and other accessibility checks, and that’s really helpful. It flags things when maybe you’re not designing to accessibility standards.
Also, remember that putting text into images can be problematic for a number of reasons. For example, if you have text on an image and it scales down to mobile, that text can get very small. It also can pixelate for any assistive technology that’s zooming into your email, and it could make it very hard to read (so use live text as much as possible).
The Ultimate Guide to Email Accessibility
This guide has the insights and step-by-step advice you need to write, design, and code emails that can be enjoyed by anyone—regardless of their ability.
What is the best approach for Dark Mode?
Carin: From a coding standpoint, don’t ignore it. I think the biggest thing is you’re trying to create a sense of trust with your subscribers. You’re trying to create a relationship with them. And if someone tells you “Hey, I want to see this in Dark Mode,” and you don’t give it to them in Dark Mode, you’re kind of eroding that and breaking that trust. So it’s really important that you give people the option.
The Ultimate Guide to Dark Mode for Email Marketers
Learn all about Dark Mode email: which email clients offer it, how it impacts your design, and how to improve the dark mode email subscriber experience.
What’s your advice on a good amount of white space? I use it to separate modules, but stakeholders always want less.
Lily: There’s a number of reasons why white space is important. Separating content is key. This is one of the big factors in making an email scannable.
A lot of people are getting a lot of emails, so they tend to scan for anchor points and things that are going to kind of pull them into the email and make them want to know more (and hopefully take action). White space helps make that possible, because you can separate between those important elements like the headlines, key messaging, and call-to-actions.
I don’t think there’s a magic amount of space so to speak, but I would suggest creating rules around space and applying those to all of your emails. That would help stakeholders become familiar with that spacing.
Where I consider my rules of spacing is that I give a little bit more to things like calls-to-action and the big message headlines, because I really want scanners to pick up on those. Also, by separating different messaging and modules, it helps people understand when they’re moving on to a different part of your email or a different message within your email.
Your guide to email design best practices
Master the basics of email design with the principles, techniques, and best practices you need—straight from our email team.
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