When it comes to designing electronic newsletters, backgrounds can either make or break the newsletter. While using a background graphic may be appealing, many email clients, including Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Gmail, and Hotmail, will not display background images that are placed within the table of the newsletter. Since the HTML table tag is important for placing the different elements of a newsletter, a background image can better be replaced with using a solid color. Hex colors will render in most browsers on computers and mobile devices with little trouble. Traditionally, gray and its various shades have been used for backgrounds, borders, and the text itself. Today, it’s no longer basic gray but hue variations which are used in mail newsletters. Many times an email blast will have a white background, divided into two columns, or several section, with a light color background used in one portion to offset the white area. Of course, the newsletter design can have any light background color on which black text will appear. Some businesses might use HTML hex colors Azure – #F0FFFF, or Bisque – #FFE4C4, among others. When it comes to using color as a background on which text appears, the shade should not be dark so that the text cannot be read. For professional business email newsletters, here are some tips to follow when selecting a background color on which text will appear:
- Test the newsletter design on several different computer monitors. If the color you want to use does not appear the way you want it to, consider using a variation of it. W3Schools.com has an extensive HTML color list, complete with color palettes, color names and hex numbers, which can be used in designing email newsletters.
- If you decide to use traditional gray, again, test how it appears on different monitors. Some monitors will render it brown or tan instead of the color you want it to be. For business email newsletters, light slate gray, or #778899 and its various hues, is an option to the basic gray HTML color. Light steel blue, or #B0C4DE, is a third ideal color to use as a background and my favorite.
- Avoid using any text color besides black on a non-white background. It may be tempting to use a medium or dark shade of gray against a light gray background, but that makes reading the text difficult to read. Readability is important for your newsletter subscribers, regardless of how “pretty” you want to make the newsletter look with different colors.
- Finally, use a software program such as Litmus or Email on Acid to see how your newsletter blast will render in different browsers and mobile devices. This will help troubleshoot any color discrepancies in your newsletter, as well as any other design issues.