Eye-candy graphics directly in Email
November 4, 2008 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Eye-candy filled e-mail without having to open an attachment - how do you create this?

You know the e-mails you get from advertisers that are loaded with graphics, images and lots of color.... how do you create something like that?
posted by designbyme to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your email client needs to allow for the creation of HTML email. Most clients, including GMail, allow for this. Any client that allows for HTML email will most likely have WYSIWYG tools.

Please note, many people find this annoying.
posted by bondcliff at 8:47 AM on November 4, 2008

It's annoying as fuck. If you do it, make sure you send a decent plaintext version as well. If you don't know how to do that ... don't do it.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:59 AM on November 4, 2008

Be aware too that some (older) mail clients cannot display HTML email. And some curmudgeons (such as myself) purposefully set their email client to text-only display. You should make sure that your email is at least readable by people in those circumstances.
posted by flipper at 9:01 AM on November 4, 2008

As bondcliff said, it's just HTML instead of text mail. You make it like a single web page and then copy-paste it into the outgoing message, or you use your e-mail client's built in tools to arrange things. Mass-mailing software comes with editors for that, too.

And as spaceman_spiff says.... it's annoying as fuck. Don't do it unless you really have to. Most HTML mail I receive these days is one of two types: from a computer newbie who things a big animated signature with dancing princesses is "cool", or mass-mail spam ads from retailers like Best Buy.
posted by rokusan at 9:11 AM on November 4, 2008

Additionally, many people who can receive HTML mail, have their client set to not download the images in an HTML mail.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:18 AM on November 4, 2008

Another member of the curmudgeon contingent here and not only do I make my personal email clients display plain text only, but back when I used to be in charge of email around here, I had our users set up that way as well.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:21 AM on November 4, 2008

Just in case it isn't clear yet, this is annoying and plain does not work in some email clients. Email is for text.
posted by bizwank at 9:43 AM on November 4, 2008

37 signals wrote a post on their blog about how to make it happen. Basically you have to go back in time 10 years to html tables and other hackish techniques for layout and display.

I'm going to go against the grain here, and say that html based emails aren't necessarily evil. I sorta like it when amazon sends me an email of recommendations that apply. Heck, I even glance at the mass-generated newegg ones I get too. But they only do it every few days at most.


* Easily opt out. A plaintext url + html link to get off your list entirely
* Plain text version. Emails can have several "content streams", the main one can be html, but be sure to have the plaintext one for all the people who prefer or need it.
* Spend time testing it. It's a pain to make emails look good, mostly because they ARENT web browsers. They will have spotty support for various html elements.
posted by cschneid at 10:03 AM on November 4, 2008

Response by poster: Maybe I should explain my intentions? I'm a designer, trying to catch the attention of a few recruiters for some bigger companies I'd like to work for. A few people will be receiving a few e-mails, some with eye-candy, some without, along with postal mail and a series of other attempts at contact. I'll start subtle... plain text, then break out the other stuff as needed. Even if they reply back "you're annoying," that's a step further than getting ignored altogether.
posted by designbyme at 10:15 AM on November 4, 2008

Response by poster: Oh.... and, as cschneid states.... different things catch different people's attention.... so.... I'm trying different things. Can't be a total waste of time if Best Buy uses it as a marketing technique.... right?
posted by designbyme at 10:17 AM on November 4, 2008

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