6. Color and Background Color


In everything from images to fonts, colors play an important role in the email design process but can also create problems. For example, don’t choose a font color such as a muted gray on a gray background that makes your headlines and calls-to-action difficult to read. And don’t run the risk of hiding valuable information in your emails by blending the content into the background.
Men and women react differently to colors, but several polls on color preferences by gender and age yield interesting results:


Target Audience Favorite Colors Least Favorite Colors
Females Blue, Purple, Green
(all “cool” colors)
Orange, Brown, Gray
(“warm” & “neutral” colors)
Males Blue, Green, Black
(two “cool” & one “neutral” color)
Brown, Orange, Purple
(“neutral”, “warm” & “mixed” colors)
All Genders Preferences for Green decrease with age;
Preferences for purple increase with age
Dislike of Orange increases with age


For more information on color preferences and perceptions, check out these resources:


Background Color

Use a white or very light-colored background with a dark to medium font color to make it easy for recipients to read your email message. Also, if you use background colors in sidebar boxes contain them within tables and avoid using a body background color, because Web-based clients remove the body tag and typically place its attributes within a table. Email clients such as Microsoft Outlook might retain the specified background color when replying to or forwarding the email, but other clients use their colors, making message text difficult to read in some instances.


Read earlier blogs on “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

Font, Font Size and Font Color – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 6

Using Forms in HTML Emails – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 5

Validate HTML Content and Avoid Using Scripts – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 4

HTML Email Coding Guidelines – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 3

HTML Email Layout – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 2

Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 1