People Can’t Respond To What They Can’t See

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h3. Best Practice
bq. Provide enough contrast between body text and background for your average reader on an average screen to be able to read the copy without strain. Ignore your designer’s complaints about your lack of understanding of design aesthetics.
h3. Rationale
It is very fashionable these days to use relatively low contrast palettes. In fact One Degree could be calling the kettle black (and white) on this one.
Never-the-less, most businesses are using e-mail to drive some kind of action (if you aren’t why are you sending the message in the first place?) so visual appeal has to be balanced with the need to communicate clearly and effectively what it is you want the reader to do.
Take a look at this e-mail offer I just received from Apple:
Apple E-mail Offer
Gorgeous isn’t it?
But even on my brand-spankin’ new 15″ Powerbook this was hard to read. Some of the most important links are so subtle as to almost disappear on lesser screens:
Apple E-mail Offer Detail
While the dull blue “Buy now” button bubbles to the top in this sea of grey, the links to the store, retail locator, and toll-free number are drowning. Please Apple, throw them a high-contrast lifesaver!
h3. Best Practice In Action
Compare with this e-mail offer from icoke.ca:
iCoke E-mail Offer
Let the designer vs. direct marketer mud-slinging begin!

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