Contrast and readability in email marketing

Reading the content of email marketing communications can be a pain sometimes. This can be caused by several factors: font type and/or size, contrast with font color to background color or even italics.
It’s important to recognize that not everyone has great eyes or huge 30″ screens to view and read content with great ease. The example below shows that high to mid contrast works fine with basic content layout and should prove easy to read:

What isn’t considered by many is the trouble caused by using italics with some font types and sizes:

The larger green font in the above example is quite readable, but the small font in grey below that is more difficult to read: this has to do with the font size and type used. When using other colors than black and white for font vs background, enough contrast should be pursued to keep it easy to read. The white text in the blue bar below is a good example: had the blue bar been made a lighter blue or the white text a smaller size, readability would drop quite a bit.

In the next part of this post some real-life examples (both good and bad) will be used to illustrate the contrast/readability situation. As with everything in email marketing, testing is of the utmost importance: what if your email campaigns don’t convert well just because you chose a font which is too small, or have a message style that is not contrasting enough? That would be a waste of precious marketing money of course.


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