The design and formatting of your email travel newsletter is nearly as important as its content. Readers will quickly take note of bad design, especially if the layout, font or white space detracts from readability. The available newsletter tools present you with many options and opportunities for creativity, but the elements you choose need to be harmonious with good design principles and the purpose of your newsletter. Your ability to combine the graphical elements, font and whitespace will be a critical factor in the acceptance of a key client communication tool.
Those of you with a strong visual skill set may decide to create your own layout and design. For the vast majority of us, however, other options are available. Most email service providers provide a collection of templates into which you can insert your travel content. Even within the confines of a template, however, it is possible to confuse the eye with bad design choices.
Keep these simple rules in mind:
- Make your branding clear. The name of the newsletter and the placement of your logo should make it immediately recognizable as coming from your travel practice. Keep branding elements “above the fold”, visible from the preview pane of popular email readers.
- Maintain a strong contrast between headlines and text to grab and direct the reader’s attention. Keep in mind the fact people read most online products differently than they do hardcopy. With an online publication, attention spans tend to be shorter. Therefore, your newsletter must scan easily. Headlines must grab attention.
- Use a limited number of web-safe fonts.
- Keep email HTML simple! Many email readers do not correctly format advanced HTML options. Background images and colors, style sheets and other more complicated HTML elements can confuse one or more of the email readers your clients are likely to use.
- Use clear, strong photographs. If detail is important, link to a larger format photo.
- Your newsletter needs to have consistency from one issue to the next. Clients like the comfort of knowing where to look for information. This doesn’t mean you have to be boring or predictable – just consistent!
- Make good use of white space. Cut through any clutter so the content comes through clearly.
- Go lightly on graphical elements, especially clip art. Your content should make your newsletter exciting, not the graphical design. However, make creative use of contrast by using bold elements, larger font sizes for headlines and white space.
- Make sure the photographs and other graphical elements have relevance to the article they support.
Subscribe to some travel email newsletters and spend time studying their design. Note how your favorite newsletters adopt many of the rules above. Once you have your newsletter design completed, set it aside and come back to it a couple of days later to ensure you are still happy with the overall look and feel.
You may have no more important communication tool than your newsletter. Dress it up to make a great first impression.