Cellpadding can benefit an email newsletter in many ways: it prevents text and images from bleeding into each other in table cells, and provides an overall cleaner look. The big question that many email newsletter designers face is, how much cellpadding should be used?
Depending on how many elements you have in your newsletter, between 5 to 10 pixels is ideal in defining cellpadding. Say your newsletter has a lead-in under the banner, two columns, and a footer. Having two columns will necessitate the use of cellpadding so that text and images do not appear to be rubbing up against each other. Avoid creating gutters, or too-wide columns of empty space between columns of text and images in your newsletters, which are caused by using too much cellpadding. Gutters will make it look like something is wrong with the coding, especially if the gutter exists across all the major email clients. To check the appearance of the newsletter, run it through Litmus or Email on Acid to troubleshoot the amount of cellpadding used. There should not be too much of a large difference, if any, in different email clients viewed in both computers and mobile devices.
This cosmetics shop newsletter template is a good example of having cellpadding that is ideal, with its four cells in a single table row. The text beneath each image aligns left with the image so that it remains readable. Avoid kerning if possible to prevent the text portion beneath an image from looking too “boxed in.”
For email newsletters that have no images – with the exception of the banner at the top – define 10 pixels in cellpadding to make the text sections readable. If 10 pixels does not seem like enough, try 12 to 15 pixels maximum, whether you have two columns or two rows in your newsletter.
Some HTML tags can be used within a table cell, including the paragraph, image, break, and even the table tag, to create a nested table. There is one drawback to using a paragraph tag inside a table, and that is Outlook 2007 and 2010 will render extra space to make it look like there is extra cellpadding when there isn’t. Other email clients do not have this issue. Again, with the email newsletter being temporary, if you plan on keeping a copy of it for your website archives, there is no need to make any adjustments in the coding.
Once your newsletter is finished, give it that final acid test to troubleshoot and repair any missed spots before blasting it to your subscribers.