Email: Are Light or Dark Backgrounds More Compelling?

White label digital marketing services

By Darren Johnson on Oct 19, 2021

Most of the emails we receive have white or very light backgrounds. There are reasons for this. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t mix it up with dark backgrounds now and then. In some instances, a dark background can make your message pop. 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months. So it pays to make your email marketing as effective as possible.

Color can make people feel a certain way and encourage them (or deter them) from taking action. As marketers, we tend to focus on color when establishing branding elements, but it may not be top of mind when it comes to email marketing.

If your agency doesn’t currently offer email marketing services, you should be! To help scale your agency and offer the right services to your clients, consider white label email marketing services that will enable you to resell email marketing to your clients without investing in additional resources.

What first captures a reader’s attention when they open an email is the visual elements such as color, design and photos. Adjusting the background color of an email can make the right colors pop and trigger the right emotions from an audience. Keep reading as we share when you should consider using a dark background versus a light one in your email campaigns.

Reasons to Use a Light Email Background

A white background is often the default when it comes to email marketing. Fortunately, one of the benefits of a white or light colored background is that it can be used for basically any type of email. However, dark backgrounds also have their place. Below are a few reasons your agency may choose to use a light background in emails.

White Creates Emphasis or Focus

Beyond its many uses, light colors make a powerful contrast with black and dark colors. This can help place focus on elements that you want people to notice. For example, think about the Google search page. The white space naturally draws attention to the brightest element on the page, which is their logo.

A white background is sort of invisible. It’s what’s expected and can create a clean, uncluttered space that focuses on a client’s product.  (That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use dark backgrounds for products as we will see in a minute.)

Light backgrounds are also great for text-heavy emails such as newsletters. Think about it. When was the last time you read a book with a dark background and white letters?

White Sends a Minimalist Message

A white background is the epitome of simplicity and is the perfect backdrop when creating a minimalist design. Minimalism is about expressing only the most essential elements of a product or topic and removing anything that is not required to support the core message.

Email marketing is all about the message, and no other color can portray negative space like white. Using a white background allows you to remove the clutter and distractions so that the reader focuses their attention. Light colors also make it easy to pair and use bright, bold colors to further engage the reader.

Over 60% of email opens are from mobile devices. In these situations, you want a fast-loading, clean design and a light background can help you achieve this.

White Focuses on Professionalism

White can create a feeling of simplicity and safety. While all of a business’s email marketing efforts should be professional, it’s best to use a white background in business-related messages, such as invoices and order updates.

Reasons to Use a Dark Email Background

Dark email backgrounds can convey drama and excitement in the right context. But unlike white or light colors, a dark background is not suitable for every email. Its use requires more thought to find the right balance between background and other elements of the email such as font colors, images and design elements.

Below are a few reasons your agency may choose to use a dark color as the background in certain emails. If this isn’t something you want to deal with yourself, of course you can always hire an agency to do your white label email marketing.

Dark Colors Can Grab the Reader’s Attention

Because a white background tends to be the default in email marketing, a dark background is sure to stand out. Draw attention to your client’s product or message with a dark-colored background and pops of color. Keep in mind that a dark background usually works better for emails based around graphic elements rather than copy-heavy emails.

A dark background also provides amazing contrast to emphasize buttons and calls to action. Emails that can benefit from a dark background could include even emails and product-focused emails where the product pops against a dark background.

Dark Colors Can Set a Mood

Black and dark colors can illustrate sophistication, elegance and mystery. You can create these qualities in an email by designing it with a dark background. For example, a darker background can add mystery and encourage readers to “unlock” a special discount.

Dark Colors Can Match a Holiday or Theme

Using dark backgrounds for an email instantly transforms it into night-mode. Certain holidays such as Halloween or evening events can benefit from this to set the tone of the occasion. When using a dark background, be mindful of the other design elements. A dark color can be design-heavy, so don’t go overboard with what you write. Let the core message speak for itself.

Use Email Marketing to Your Advantage

Smart use of color is a core element of a successful email marketing strategy. You want to use colors that complement your client’s brand and your message. White label email marketing services can help your agency send effective emails to grow your client’s reach and encourage readers to take action. Contact Umbrella today to learn how we can create impactful emails for your clients.

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