I conducted a webinar last week on email design (you can view the 45 minute webinar here). One of the 8 steps to follow in pulling together a design template guide for your designer, is identifying how you are going to use images in your newsletter. I spent some time talking about the use of images and media. Both have huge impact, but in particular images can enhance or detract from your newsletter visually. They naturally draw the eye, so you want to be selective in their use. Any images used should support a story. People expect images in newsletters to be clickable, so don’t forget to link images to the article they are supporting.
Here are the two examples I used in the webinar to illustrate a couple of points about using images.
This is a great example of a newsletter that uses “real people” images to full effect. The images follow best practice; the first one I’d like to point out is of MEP Nessa Childers– her image is designed into the banner that appears at the top of the newsletter template. The banner is an essential part of your design considerations. It will incorporate your branding, colours and fonts, and it will provide instant recognition every time it arrives in the inbox. Another strength in this design is the use of real images, that reflect the event mentioned in each story summary. The images appear as thumbnails next to the story summary, and are full size in the article page.
The Apollo Art Gallery has a physical presence in Dublin. They have used email to reach beyond the gallery and create a virtual gallery seen around the world every time their weekly newsletter arrives in the inbox of their subscribers. While designing your template for viewing with images either on or off (and don’t be afraid of doing this!), it is essential to use images that enhance your story. People know how to turn images on – and I think this is an example of how to compel them to open. There simply isn’t a story without images in this newsletter! This really is a case of a picture is worth a thousand words. The gallery has also designed a template that has strong immediate calls to action right below the individual prints, along with a dedicated left hand column space to feature a special offer.