I've been working on this new e-mail for a month now (concept, design and code) and after long testing on emailonacid and different personal email clients my boss complaints that the last letter "t" of a word I used as placeholder when I sent her a test to her inbox is falling onto the next line on her Iphone6+.

My first reaction to that was puzzle-face and wondering, is she even being serious about it? I'm sincerely quite fed up with this project to the extend that I don't want to bother try being pedagogic about it, I just want her to shut up and let me do my thing.

Any idea?

  • Any chance we can see a picture of the error? Also, if it's just placeholder text, can't you just change it to something that fits to appease your boss? – zeethreepio Jan 23 '18 at 18:27
  • 4
    I don't think this is a good question for StackExchange. No one here knows your boss or anything about the email itself. It's pretty impossible to provide a definitive answer, not that there's really an actual question here. I'm afraid the only real answer is to be pedagogic. – Scott Jan 23 '18 at 18:28
  • 1
    isn't being pedagogic part of your job? – LateralTerminal Jan 23 '18 at 18:43
  • Take a look graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/tour to help you phrase your question properly. Then people will answer it. – LateralTerminal Jan 23 '18 at 18:44
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because solving this problem requires knowledge of your specific workplace, colleagues, or interaction with your work environment. Questions on this site should be potentially useful to future visitors, not depend on external resources, and be answerable without trial and error. – PieBie Jan 24 '18 at 11:24

Show her how emails get mutilated on different platforms and after forwarding or replying.

Desktops and phones handle email very differently, and peoples local settings affect look, size, images, preview, everything.

No one has complete control how an email appears on someone else's machine. Even the big companies like constant contact or signature formatting folks need to simplify and design for the least complicated display. They say it has to do with the receiver's email settings.

With CSS and HTML its unlikely the receiver sees what you want. It's uncommon that someones email is set up to interpret styles as you send them, for security reasons and others.

You can reassure her that you're designing for the most common settings with images turned on, for example, for most common platforms like Gmail, Outlook etc.

If you want to deliver fancy graphics you have to link to them in your email.

Also show her how your design degrades to decent plain text when someone is blocking features.

After forwarding or replying all bets are off but you can assume its reduced to simple black text, images often appear as broken links.

If its one character length that's causing the problem tell her all email subjects or preview lines must be kept under the character count which causes the bump to next line.

The problem is a real one, and it makes designers look bad, because email formats are so inconsistent and non cross compatible.

Responsiveness, css and html do not work consistently within emails. I believe its intentional, someone didn't want them to be like websites, but like plain letters.


Seeing that responsive emails are tricky fickle beasts, it might be best to consider an alternative:

Plain text.

I know, I know — this is the Graphic Design Stack Exchange. How could I propose such blasphemy?

Simple. They just work:

But like anything, test this hypothesis with your own customer base.

To summarize the HubSpot article (who, to their credit, even recognize the irony of publishing these stats):

  • HTML emails reduce open rates
  • HTML emails reduce clickthrough rates
  • Filters set up by email providers can divert commercial emails from users' main inboxes
  • Gmail will not automatically show images from unknown senders
  • Plain text might be perceived as less of a time commitment to read, or perhaps people really don't care for design in email.

And while it might mean a designer has one less task to do (or is out of a job), the results should be the determining factor if you were to use this approach.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.