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m2news design guidelines

If you'd like to design your own custom newsletter template, there are a few important things to bear in mind to keep your newsletter looking its best:

Newsletter width

We recommend a maximum width of 600 — 640 pixels.
Why? Because there are a multitude of different programs to read email, and each of them have their own format for displaying email content. Some are very wide, but some show content in a narrow column. Keeping your newsletter format to this narrower width ensures the majority of viewers can read your newsletter without having to scroll sideways for each line, or having part of your content simply obscured. As a bonus, it also means that it will easily fit within the margins of a print-out.

Fonts

Stick to web-safe fonts only.
For parts of your newsletter template where you will be including text as images (for example, words in the header graphic), you can use any font you like. For any other text (such as articles and so on), you'll need to stick to a list of fonts that are commonly installed on all computers by default. See http://www.ampsoft.net/webdesign-l/WindowsMacFonts.html for further explanation, and a table of web-safe fonts. As for font sizes, we recommend using from 11px to 14px, depending on the age of your intended readers. 12px is standard.

Colours

Use any colour you like!
Of course we recommend you still heed good design principles, but you needn't feel confined to the web-safe colour palette. Monitors and software moved beyond this restrictive range years ago.

Background images and patterns

Stick to flat colour only.
There is an increasing number of email programs which do not display background images at all, including recent versions of Microsoft's Outlook. Text and all other content can only go over areas of flat colour.

Layout

Keep it simple!
Emails aren't like websites — the great majority can't display flash, or use javascript, or process forms, or any of the other great functions we've become familiar with in webpages. Some also display common elements like DIV tags unpredictably, sometimes completely obscuring content. Keeping your layout simple (using multiple colums and so on is fine), and not nesting your tables too deeply will make updating your newsletter easier and quicker as well.

Subscriber details

Leave it to us.
There's no need to include information about subscribing and unsubscribing in your design, as all this information — including personalised, trackable links — is automatically inserted after the end of your newsletter by the system. These automated links allow reporting and tracking of unsubscriptions, which you can review from the reporting section of your m2news account.

That's all!

Once you have your design files ready, simply log in to your m2news account, go to the "create a newsletter" page, and click on the link under the Custom Templates section requesting custom template development. Fill in your details in the form that pops up, and include your design files (please note: files should be smaller than 2MB, or we may not receive them). Once we receive your request, we'll have your template ready for you to use within 2-4 business days.