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Background Colors in Email: How to Pick & Use Them? [7 Tips]

Rida Ali Khan

Email background colors are like the supporting artists of a movie; their importance gets overshadowed a lot.

The colors in your email play a significant role in making the first impression, influencing the mood of your readers, and imprinting your brand’s identity in your reader’s memory. According to research, colors can influence up to 90% of an initial impression. 

But how exactly are background colors in email important for conversion and engagement rate? 

Let’s find out.  

Why Do Email Background Colors Matter? 

Benefits of using background colors in emails

Background colors in emails are important because of multiple reasons. 

They establish a visual hierarchy for your readers and make your emails stand out in their inboxes. Plus, they highlight or complement the contents of your emails, separate important information, and most importantly, keep your email presentable even if the image visibility is turned off or if the image doesn’t load. 

If wisely used, colors can improve your reader’s comprehension by 73% and reading by 40%, Hence, this increases their chances of engaging with your email. 

Now did we get you wondering what exactly do we mean by wisely used? 

If yes, then we have mentioned a number of tips below to select background colors that will increase the engagement rate of your emails. 

7 Tips to Select Email Background Colors Effectively

Use the following tips and ideas to select background colors for your emails. 

But before you start reading, you must be clear that there’s no right and wrong among all the tips mentioned below. All these tips can be used for different campaigns depending on the message of your email. 

1. Select color schemes 

If you want your email’s background to give an aesthetically pleasing look then, select relevant color schemes. 

Here are a couple of ways to do so.

  • Analogous color scheme

We’re all big fans of sunrise and sunsets, but guess what is that one element that makes it look so surreal? 

Analogous colors, i.e., colors next to each other in the color wheel. For instance, red to red-orange to orange, etc.

Use them in the background of your emails to give a very soothing effect. Plus, they are great at driving responses out of your readers. 

Analogous color schemes are mostly used in emails that require a single response, such as a re-engagement or holiday-centric email. 

  • Monochromatic color scheme

A monochromatic color scheme means using different tones or shades of the same color. 

This color scheme gained wide popularity in 2021, and the fandom isn’t dying anytime soon. Using monochromatic background colors can induce feelings of joy, calm, or warmth in your readers depending on the message. 

Here’s an example of monochromatic background color in an email from Moo that made their email look pretty elegant. 

Email with a monochromatic background color scheme 

2. Divide content sections with colors

In case you’re sending a very long email that carries different messages, it’s best to use multiple background colors for each segment of your email. 

This will help your reader comprehend your message better, and s/he will automatically understand when a new message is coming up. 

By doing so, each segment of your email will receive undivided attention from your audience. 

Just like this email from Salesforce

Email that uses different background colors for each segment

3. Use a single color for background and image 

Another way is to use the same color for your email’s background and the image embedded in it. 

This works perfectly when image visibility is turned off or when images take too long to load. By doing so, you give your email a presentable look even in the absence of visual content because the same colored background makes the written content stand out perfectly. 

It’s also recommended to use a single color for background and image if the product you’re trying to sell or present has a vibrant color. 

4. Let background colors endorse your brand

To endorse your brand through a background color, you may use a color gradient or a single background color.

This is one way to make your email stand out among many other emails. 

Here’s a little trick that you can do in this area. Try to use your brand color in the background of all or most of the emails you send. After a couple of emails, your brand’s identity will be stuck in your reader’s muscle memory. 

This obviously means that you’ll have to be more creative with other contents of your email, but it’s worth imprinting your brand’s image in your reader’s mind. 

Just like this email from Casper does. 

An email background color that is same as the brand's theme

5. Choose colors that are accessible for everyone 

It’s necessary that your email is read and understood by all your receivers, especially when research says that in 2019 alone, there were 300 billion color blind people in the world. 

A large population of people suffer from color blindness or low vision (blurry, tunnel, or central vision). 

So to make your emails accessible for all, you can avoid or lessen the use of red or green colors. Another way is to use contrasting colors for the email’s background and content. 

Lastly, suppose you’re trying to segment different parts of your email with multiple background colors. In that case, it’s preferred to use a monochromatic theme (of colors other than green and red) to make variations. 

Just ensure that the monochromatic color palette that you select is color-blind friendly. 

6. Make it compatible with the majority of customers’ email clients

Well, this may take a little more effort than other practices but, you know how they say, “ Efforts lead to success.”

Each email client has a default background color that displays when emails aren't full-width. So you need to make sure that your email’s background color does not look bad on any of them. 

For this, you’ll need to figure out which email client is used by the majority of your recipients and select a background color that complements it. 

7. Psych up your campaign with colors 

Besides being a treat to your eyes, colors are pretty fun to play with. 

You can use different background colors to influence the mood of your subscribers and convince them to purchase. This is where email psychology works best. 

According to color psychology, the colors mentioned below affect your reader’s mood in the following ways: 

Black: Symbolises power, luxury, and elegance. You can use it to promote luxurious items.

Red: Shows energy, urgency, and determination. You can use it in emails that have a clearance sale.

Blue: Displays calm, stability, and reliability. You can use it in lead nurturing campaigns. Previously, it was used to promote products for male audiences.  

Green: Denotes calmness. It can endorse nature-related products or boost nurturing campaigns. 

Yellow: Shows happiness and cheer. It’s ideal for grabbing attention and sending limited-time offers.

Purple: Denotes royalty and preciousness. You can use it to endorse rare and precious items like beauty-related products. 

Orange: Shows adventure and excitement. It’s the best color to promote impulse buying in users. 

Pink: Before gender neutrality was a thing, they used pink to market products related to females only. Some brands still use it to endorse feminine products while others use it to market services or products that show kindness, relaxation, or romance. 

White: Shows the absence of colors or a clean slate. It can be used to divert attention to other components of the email. 

You can influence your reader’s mood by using each of these colors in your campaigns. Choosing the right color for your email campaign can positively influence your brand and not selecting it will have the opposite effect.

Just like this email from Magic Spoon does. 

A background color in email that syncs with the campaign idea

Pick Email Background Colors Without Knowing HTML Coding

Unlayer’s email templates with beautiful background colors

If you’re skeptical about choosing the right colors or don’t know how to code HTML email background colors, then that’s not an issue anymore. 

Why? Because Unlayer provides a wide range of pre-designed email templates to use and take inspiration from. All these templates have background colors that are pretty easy on the eyes. 

With a user-friendly drag and drop editor, they can be altered according to your choice. 

The best thing about using Unlayer’s email templates is that you don’t need to know coding skills to play around with its background colors. Also, all of these templates are responsive on all devices. 

Create Emails with Attractive Backgrounds In a Few Clicks

Save time, effort, and cost of creating professional-looking emails.
Email Templates


Best Practices for Using Background Colors in Emails

  • Refrain from using flashy background colors as this will help you avoid spam filters in emails.
  • Always test colors on all email clients to avoid disappointment. 
  • Use varying background colors for different sections of your email newsletters

Dark Mode in Emails and Its Increasing Popularity

Dark mode is not just challenging but also widely popular among users. But what exactly is it? 

Dark mode is a display setting for the user interface. It shifts the interface into high contrast colors, i.e., dark background and light foreground color. 

It’s also known as a dark theme, night mode, or black mode.

While some email clients offer their default rendering as a solution to dark mode, others don’t. So, it’s better to use preventive measures to avoid seeing your background color in a way that you never intended to. 

You can optimize emails for dark mode by the following measures: 

  • Test your email background colors in inverted colors to see how they are changed. 
  • Use white strokes around your design elements. 
  • Use transparent PNGs in your emails to look the same in dark and light mode. 

Dark mode may have increased effort for developers, but it’s pretty advantageous because it reduces stress on your user’s eyes and promotes sleep.

Choose email background colors that adjust for the dark mode

Frequently Asked Questions About Email Background Colors

Here are some frequently asked questions about email background colors. If you have the same questions popping in your head, here’s your solution;

1. How do I change my outlook background color? 

Change the background color and design of all Office programs by going to File > Options > General > Office Theme.

2. How do you change the background color in Gmail? 

To change the background color in Gmail, you need to click the ‘Gear’ icon on the top of your inbox. Then, choose ‘themes’, you’ll see that several themes have appeared to pick from. Select the theme of your choice to change your Gmail background. 

3. What is the default color for the background? 

Each email client has a different default email background color. 

That’s a Wrap

Colors play a vital role in making an impression on your readers, so select them wisely. You must have a clear idea about your target audience, campaign idea, and intent before picking a background color. 

We’ll end on this note, and we’re sure you know everything about selecting background colors in emails by now. So, please don’t shy away from raising their eyebrows in awe!

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