Today launches the Email Standards Project. I can not begin to convey the importance of this project. To help relate why this is so important, I’m going to give you some background on how I ended up designing emails for a living and a typical day.
I started designing websites in 1997. It was at an internship while in high school. My goal was to go to college and get a degree in Graphic Design. I did go off to college and have my degree in Graphic Design. While at that internship I made a significant switch from the world of print which I started learning to digital. After college I continued to work designing websites.
In late August 2007 I was introduced to the world of email design. The company I was employed with decided to get into email marketing. It was there that I learned I’d have to step back to 1997 in terms of markup for my HTML. Marking the first frustration.
A Typical Day
I get a project, that a company wants to send out an email to their customers. It’s best when I am able to design the piece from scratch but many times I get “suggestions” or the actual photoshop file handed to me to “make work”. From here I deconstruct the PSD file, or work off my own, and make precise cuts and determine what can be actual text and what will not be guaranteed to translate over correctly in all email clients.
I then go into Dreamweaver and layout my HTML file with CSS. After it’s displaying correctly as a webpage, I then change over all my CSS to inline CSS. For “padding”, many times I need to use transparent spacer.gif files, even more so when dealing with Lotus Notes which does not render any padding/margins what-so-ever.
After all the CSS has been placed inline and no shorthand. I copy it over to our system, upload all the images, make sure the images have full paths and start testing.
This is the “fun” part. Every email client wants to render things differently. I also have to plan ahead for the end user having turned off images.
Apple Mail and Mozilla Thunderbird are hands down the best at truly rendering things as you think they should look. Lotus Notes is hands down the worst.
So in a nutshell this is why E-Mail Standards are so important. Head over to http://www.email-standards.org to learn more, join up and help support a very worthy cause!