Email Template Help

Because of the covid and online schooling going on, a teacher has asked me for an email template. I do not know where to start. Of course I can make something eye catching on illustrator or indesign that looks like an email, but I feel that this is the wrong approach.

Has anyone created email templates before? What program did you use? How did you send it to the client to use? How would they implement the template into their email account?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Part of a designer’s job is to ask the right questions to get the information needed to do the job right. With that in mind, I’d go back to the teacher with more questions. First and foremost is what service they’re using to send out emails. Services like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact have online builders that, from my limited experience, work pretty nicely. You’ll still need to create the graphics that get plugged in, but you can spec type, layout, headers, footers, etc. Or are they using Mail, Outlook, Gmail, something else on their own that’s not a service? If so, I’d do a Google search for whatever app is being used, for example, “email template microsoft outlook.” Maybe someone else has more experience in this area than I have, but that’s how I’d start.

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I have some experience in this, but none of it should be viewed as infallible.

As Steve mentioned above there are multiple online email creators, which may work fine for you.

A few things to keep in mind. Does your email need to be responsive? The problem is not all email clients can “read” responsive emails. View this chart which shows which clients support responsive design.

Another issue is you mention creating templates. Is this a template for yourself or a designer? If so you may have more flexibility. But if it’s for an “average” end user who doesn’t know HTML you may be out of luck.

This chart helps you to understand what is and isn’t generally possible in email.

Bottom line, if you’re coding it, keep it generally simple, unless you know that the majority of your viewers are viewing on a certain platform that supports more functionality.

I work for a company that uses Outlook for their email client, which generally does not do real well with anything but simple HTML. At the end of the day, we create templates for average non-technical users to use. We defaulted to setting our templates in MS Word. Not pretty, but functional. The main benefit was it is WYSIWYG. We created the email as a table in Word. Outlook seems to do well with MS Word tables. So, no web fonts, only system fonts unless it’s a corporate environment where you know your entire org has corporate fonts on their system. Also the graphics need to be sized at either 100% or in our case we use 50% size to ensure they are clear and not fuzzy. You can check that by right clicking on images and choosing size and position and verify scaling is at 100% or 50%.

And lastly, any time you give a template to someone in something like MS Word, be aware that it can and most likely will break, because if the end user isn’t educated and they start messing with it, inserting graphics they find “somewhere online” and inserting word art and odd fonts, well, you’ll be SOL.

Oh, and always test your template before providing the final to anyone.

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That’s definitely the wrong approach and won’t work at all. Most anything other than a plain text email with an attachment or two uses HTML and CSS for formatting (HTML email). You can either code it by hand (which is what I do) or modify a template from the company the school uses to send out their HTML email. Modifying the templates doesn’t necessarily require learning HTML. Most of the email services that most people use to send out HTML email have visual editors of one sort or another.

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