Ostap Written by Ostap

6 Tips for Choosing a Background for Your Email Newsletter

1. Is it worth it to use colors for newsletter backgrounds?
2. How to change background color in HTML
3. How to add image as a newsletter background

Useful tools:
1. Newoldstamp - Email signature marketing
2. Mailchimp - Email builder and sender
3. Hubspot Email Marketing - Marketing automation platform
4. MailerLite - Landing page builder 
5. Canva - Online tool for making designs

It can be quite difficult to do email newsletters the right way. While I’m sure that you rely on them to provide trackable results and to increase the lifetime value of your customer, can you be sure that your newsletters are being received well or that your customers are even reading them? A well-designed newsletter is crucial for your company’s marketing strategies to succeed. This is why you need to spend more time on its design. A good first impression goes a super long way and you definitely want your newsletter to be able to capture your customer’s attention so that they can keep on reading.

Is it worth it to use colors for newsletter backgrounds?

Indeed it is! A good design practice is to utilize the color theory for your newsletter background. Colors play huge roles in visual perception and influence how your newsletter is received by your customers. Every color has a range of emotions it’s associated with, so you have to keep in mind what kind of emotion you are trying to elicit from your customers. Because we naturally tend to attribute different hues and shades to different emotions, using the right colors can evoke a good reaction from your customers and create the necessary impact you’re looking for. This can do wonders for your click through rates.

Here are six more tips that you can utilize to pick the best background for your newsletter:

1) Find out the most frequently used email clients 

You have to keep in mind that each email client has a default background color. You will have to know what the most frequently used email clients are among your customers. After you gather information on that, you will also have to find their default email colors. This will enable you to pick a background color for your newsletter that does not clash with that of the email or affect the customer’s readability. If you want your newsletters to reach and effectively influence a large audience, then you need to pick colors that are compatible with the colors used by your customers’ email clients.

2) Choose a background to fit your color scheme

You need to take notice of the colors that represent your company in your brand logo, websites, email signatures and even merchandise. Picking colors that match the tone and brand of your company is good for brand consistency and reliability. It helps build trust and familiarity with your customers and compels them to engage with what you have to offer, in this case, reading your newsletter. When you pick a background color that fits your color scheme, you’re not only defining your company’s values, but also helping it stand out amongst its contemporaries.

newsletter 4

3) Segment your audience according to gender 

When you segment your audience according to the gender then you can easily pick background colors targeted for that certain demographic. It’s a known fact that each gender responds differently to colors. In several experiments conducted by KISSmetrics, it was revealed that men are more likely to gravitate towards bright colors that come off as strong, while women are more likely to gravitate towards softer pastel colors. So when picking a background for your email newsletters, you should keep in mind the difference in color perception and choose colors that match your target audience’s preferences.

gender collors

Image courtesy of kissmetrics

4) Use the same color for images and email backgrounds

You should incorporate the same shade, if not the same color, for all the images as well as the background of your newsletter. This way, you can be sure that the color matches the overall design and works well with the content too. When you use the same or similar colors, you will be using fewer colors and the design also looks cleaner. This will create a flow and your customers are less likely to be distracted.

newsletter 1

Image courtesy of InVision

5) Divide into sections by different backgrounds

After you pick a color palette, you can divide your newsletter into sections and pick different backgrounds for each. This creates a format that is easy to follow. But if you’re opting to choose different background colors then you should also keep in mind that, even within the palette, you want to pick colors that go well with one another. To do this, you may use the color wheel. For the entire newsletter, we suggest sticking to a total of three colors which are well balanced in order to make the design look professional.  

Newsletter 2

Image courtesy of litmus

6) Use the same background for all newsletters

You should try to stick to the same colors for all your newsletters. All humans crave familiarity so similarly is a good thing. Customers are likely to click on your emails if they recognize it. Using colors to let your customers make associations will help your newsletter stand out amongst other newsletters, which your customers might not even spare a second glance. When you bring about familiarity, you’re also strengthening your relationship with them, and ensuring them that their trust will go a long way.

newsletter 3

Image courtesy of Grammarly

How to change background color in HTML

You need to be well versed with HTML codes when it comes to picking and inserting the perfect body background color for your email newsletter. Developers use numerous codes and techniques for coding background colors but the most common ones they opt for, which you can also utilize for your newsletter, are the 3 Digit Hexadecimal Color Codes, RGB Color Codes and the 6 Digit Hexadecimal Color Codes. The hexadecimal color codes specify the color with a hex code whereas the RGB color codes specify the color with an rgb code. For example, the color red, the Hex Color Code would be “#FF0000” while the RGB Color Code would be “RGB(255,0,0)”.

We suggest using the 6 Digit Hexadecimal Color Codes as it is more reliable and also yields the precise color you’re looking for. The 3 Digit Code is entangled with bugs and only gives colors that overpower other colors and the RGB Code only yields colors that work well with light colored fonts. Due to these limitations, using the 6 Digit Code would be the best idea. To apply the background color code, you will have to locate the body tag in the existing code and input, <body style = “color: #FF0000;”>, with your desired color’s hex code instead of #FF0000.

Using images as background for your newsletter

If colors are not your thing, then you may choose to use images as your background instead.


One major advantage of using a background image is that it is user friendly. So, you can use it to effectively convey a visual concept of your company’s purpose and vision. Moreover, it can also be an excellent method to showcase your products and features. Because it uses minimalism, it is trendy and increases visitor engagement. Therefore, it can be attractive and eye catching for your customers.


Depending on the email client or device that your customer is using, it’s possible that your background image won’t load. Or it could stretch and ruin the entire design of the newsletter. This could be distracting for your customers. Another disadvantage is that a background image can stifle creativity and after customers get past the initial sense of wonder, they could find it difficult to navigate through.

How to add image as a newsletter background

There are two major methods to add a background image to your newsletter. First is the Table Attribute approach. Table attributes are supported by major email clients such as Gmail. With this approach, you enclose your newsletter content in a table of width = “100%” which spans the width of the reading pane. After that, you simply add the attribute background = “background_image.png” and voila! You’re done!

You can use the CSS approach for email clients that are not supported by the Table Attribute approach such as Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. For this method, you just insert the required code for the background image. A major difference between this method and the previous method is that the background image extends the entire height of the reading pane rather than just the height of the email. If you use both the methods in your email, then the background will be compatible with most of your email clients.

It is indeed worth it to invest good time on choosing an appropriate background for your email newsletters because the content inside can only create an impact if it is paired with a good design, intriguing format and, you guessed it, an attractive background. Although understanding codes can be quite tricky, once you master the skill, you can change backgrounds like a pro. Regardless of whether you choose to use colors or images, time and effort spent on newsletter backgrounds will show and undoubtedly lead to better conversion rates


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Marketing Manager at Newoldstamp

Ostap is a strong marketing professional with 3+ years of experience in the software industry. Skilled in Marketing Strategy, Digital Marketing, SMM, Content marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google Analytics and Google Adwords.

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