When I got my first email address around the age of twelve, I remember the sheer disappointment I felt when I composed my first message. Sure, it was cool to be able to instantly send someone an email, but I yearned for a way to make the emails more, well, pretty. Different font sizes and colors just didn’t cut it for me.
Things have certainly changed since the first days of email communication, as well as website design, but we are often led to believe that creating a truly captivating email message or website requires a large amount of expertise to make them look good. Don’t believe any of that! Instead, use the power of imagery to quickly and effectively make a email or web page pop.
Here’s an example:
Even though you can’t read the content, which page would you choose to read? The one that features a better ratio of text and images, most likely. You can use images to divide up a website that normally has very few layout options. The simplest way to do this is:
- Determine how many sections your page will have
- Decide if you can cut any text-heavy sections, or perhaps shorten them
- Create image headers for each of the desired sections. In my example, I created a Photoshop template that I used for each web page in order to maintain consistency. Using a big, bold font to display the section names over the images is a great way to naturally draw the eyes to certain areas of the page!
What about emails, you ask? Enjoy the cheat sheet I’ve made for using images to make a nice-looking email blast in a pinch (click the image below to view the full-sized version):
- Let’s say you want to create an email blast for internal use, or you are only planning to send the email out to a few people and require no tracking information (in other words, you are sending the email directly out from your personal inbox). Using this template requires zero HTML: simply open a new Word document, insert the header and footer, type your email message in between, and copy and paste it into a new email. Keep in mind that layouts/images tend to show up funny in Outlook sometimes, so I would recommend building a table of the layout in a Word document first and then inserting the images and text.
- If you have Photoshop or similar image-editing software, create a template (a .PSD file, for example) of your header and footer. That way, if you end up sending out multiple emails for an email campaign, you can quickly replicate the size, colors and fonts of your previous emails.
- Don’t have image-editing software? Not a problem. Microsoft Paint can help you create the images, too! Alternatively, you can insert an image in Microsoft Word, click in the Format tab and select to change the shape of the image to a rounded rectangle, which rounds the corners of the image.
- Remember: the cleaner your email, the better. Rely on the bold colors of the header and footer, and the image you place in there, to call attention to the content of your email. Then, stick with as short of a message as possible. Have more information that you need to share? Create a PDF of that information and link it into the email or send it as an attachment. If people want more information, they’ll click on it. If not, you’ve still held their attention because the email isn’t text-heavy.
- There’s plenty of fun, free fonts out there! Check them out.
- Need help determining a color scheme? This site has you covered.
Even if you’re on a strict deadline or don’t have much web design or graphic design experience, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t create an email or web page as pretty as the pros. Share your other quick design tips in the comment section below!