Advice for designing emails right nowMonday, March 30th, 2009

Articles, Email Standards

The Email Standards Project  is a future looking group. We’re working on improving current and future email clients so they render standard HTML and CSS more consistently. That’s the goal, but what about all of us who need to send emails out right now?

We’re often asked for advice on how to get the best results given the current state of the email client market. Here’s our top picks to get you started with building an email that will work well for your readers right now. You’ll notice they are from Campaign Monitor, which is built by the same team that started the Email Standards Project (full disclosure achieved!).

Which CSS styles can I use in my emails?

Our email ACID test doesn’t cover everything, and it is more focused on individual, current clients. For the bigger picture see the Guide to CSS support in email clients (2008).

You may notice some differences, where support is spotty for certain elements and we’ve tested in different ways. Watch out for an expanded ACID test later this year to provide more clarity.

What are the best practices for designing emails?

For general advice on what to put into your emails, what not to, and how to approach it see the Email design guidelines.

Are there tested email layouts I can use?

To save time in working out a structure that does not fall apart in one of the popular email clients, you can start with free, tested email templates that you can take, modify and reuse.

Which email clients are people actually using?

At Campaign Monitor we’ve been collecting statistics from millions of emails sent out, and compiled an email client popularity report (the unsurprising news is that Outlook still dominates).

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