HTML Email

Email is a part of the everyday digital workplace. There are a number of approaches to engaging your audience with email communication, but the benefits of each type of email communication sent often require different design and planning processes. The digital team identifies  three distinct  template scenarios that address the most common email communication needs, and makes recommendations to present clear and recognizable institutional branding, even across various viewports (desktop, mobile, tablet).

  • Correspondence template (electronic letterhead) – Based upon University letterhead branding, evoking the formatting and presentation of a letterform communication. The “header” area of the email utilizes the “lockup” system to identify the origin of the sender. The footer area allows for a second instance of identity as well as an email, physical address and web site URL.
  • Announcement/Thematic template – When  a themed campaign or event identity is created for marketing and communications purposes, this template utilizes the header area to advance awareness of the visual identity positioned for the event. It is often based upon an identity in print, or makes use of a specific photographic/illustration resource. If a primary or secondary UD mark is not incorporated in the visual system, this needs to be considered. If incorporating one creates a impacts legibility in the header,  a primary or secondary mark needs to be incorporated in the footer region. While useful in the smaller spaces of mobile viewports, the Circle UD mark is best positioned where University of Delaware is present somewhere else in the email body. This template includes a footer region for office information, social media icons and link customization.
  • Newsletter template –  For reaching subscribers with entry points to content on your remote site, a “newsletter” or “digest” format is recommended. Depending upon the segmentation needed (ex: introduction, news highlights, events) this template needs consideration for it’s workflow with the remote locations of  the content it points to. For example, you would want to avoid a phone-friendly template that pointed to a webpage that is not responsive. The experience should be as fluid as possible to be effective, and to maintain your readership’s interest and engagement. If the newsletter is an electronic version of a published piece, there may be branding parity between the two, but the focus should be on the accessibility and user experience with the content. This solution is best paired with an active web presence where content is being published on a regular basis. Includes a footer region for office information, social media icons and link customization.

Design Recommendations

In order to provide consistent recognition of the University of Delaware in email communications, CPA recommends that the primary or secondary logo is incorporated into the graphical header wherever possible. This incorporation can also be done in tandem with the primary or secondary lockup system to establish the origin of the communication at the college, department or office level. Examples are offered in the digital branding section of the UD Brand Style Guide.

Email signatures

With respect to concerns for accessibility, the digital team does not recommend the use of graphical email signatures. Additionally, graphical email signatures don’t allow for the recipient to copy and paste contact information and some email clients block messages with graphics by default.  For these reasons, plain-text signatures are recommended.

  • Two to three line construction with a maximum of 72 characters per line (many email applications have a maximum with of 80 characters, thus one can avoid wrapping)
  • Use common, cross-platform web fonts
  • Don’t include personal Twitter, IM or Skype details, home phone numbers, URLs of personal websites, quotes or overly detailed skillsets
  • If not choosing a plain-text solution, use inline HTML, which is universally accepted, not CSS.


  • Ensure that your emails are sent in multi-part MIME format and offer both plain-text and HTML options.
  • Use distinguishable color combinations with high contrasts to help elements stand out from one another.
  • Clickable links should be large and placed in an obvious location as the size of the link will be beneficial to users whose control over a cursor is less precise. Additionally, it will help those with a visual impairment to identify a link without additional distraction.

 Commercial Platforms

  • The digital team currently supports MailChimp, which is free for lists of up to 2,000 subscribers. MailChimp provides detailed data about subscriber profiles (engagement, website activity) as well as tools to view the impact of your campaigns.

Campus Resources 

  • For groups of people larger than (50) PO Box offers the University community a service for sending plain-text and HTML emails by attaching a .csv of email addresses or existing UD mailing lists. Access to sensitive official UD-lists (e.g., Residence Halls) is restricted. NO tracking data is provided with this service. A University policy governs the sending of campus wide emails, which require approval from senior administration. See Policy 1-21.
  • Mailing lists
  • Bulk mail tickets
  • University Policy 1-19 Employees’ Use of E-Communication