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What’s Darkish Mode for E-mail and Does it Have an effect on Rendering?

There’s a problem rising for e-mail entrepreneurs, and it isn’t going away. It’s darkish mode for e-mail.

We first wrote about darkish mode emails a few 12 months in the past. Then we devoted a whole month to exploring its influence on e-mail advertising. (Take a look at the content material from Darktober together with our Designing Emails for Darkish Mode webinar.).

A 2021 survey on darkish mode from Pathwire and Ascend2 discovered 44% of e-mail entrepreneurs are contemplating the darker UX and one other 28% plan to begin making it a part of the e-mail manufacturing course of quickly.

So, darkish mode continues to be a sizzling subject amongst e-mail builders and designers. It’s turn out to be part of the e-mail expertise that we will’t ignore. However, as is normally the case in our line of labor, coping with darkish mode for e-mail is way from easy.

Let’s evaluate what you are able to do to handle a number of the major darkish mode e-mail challenges.

Bounce to a bit on this article:

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What’s darkish mode?

Darkish mode is a setting that shifts an interface’s shade palette to show content material in excessive distinction utilizing darkish background colours and lightweight foreground. Black textual content turns into white, and white backgrounds go darkish. In the end, darkish mode is used to attenuate blue gentle and improve readability to scale back eye pressure.

Many builders are already fairly acquainted with darkish mode because it’s a well-liked solution to view code. Darkish Mode can be splendid for folks with gentle sensitivity, and even those that work nighttime hours because it’s simpler to learn in a low-light setting.

At one level, it was recommended that utilizing darkish mode on a cell system may prolong battery life, though it seems that the profit was considerably overstated. Take a look at our put up on darkish mode vs. gentle mode to be taught extra in regards to the professionals and cons and think about our darkish mode infographic for extra important data.

Many in style purposes have a darkish mode choice for the consumer interface. That features e-mail apps. However (and this could come as no shock) e-mail purchasers deal with darkish mode in several methods. That’s the place the most important challenges are available.

What does darkish mode for e-mail do?

It’s not at all times simply the e-mail software’s consumer interface that switches when darkish mode is turned on. E-mail purchasers might change the look of the complete message as effectively.

Darkish mode shifts the background and font colours of an e-mail to gentle on darkish. To do that, it checks any shade or background shade with a CSS property of background, shade, background-color, or an HTML attribute of bgcolor or shade

If a textual content or background shade is outlined, darkish mode targets these HTML attributes and CSS properties by way of inside or inline types. It then adjusts them to make them lighter or darker. So, in case your textual content is a darkish shade, the darkish mode setting in some purchasers will change it to a lighter one. The identical factor applies to background colours.

All of this to say, since darkish mode makes gentle colours darkish and darkish colours gentle, it is going to change the colours in your e-mail accordingly (and it doesn’t precisely ask your permission).

Darkish mode normally doesn’t create issues with plain textual content emails because the textual content is black on white, which merely will get inverted. However with HTML emails, the place totally different parts have totally different outlined colours, issues can get difficult.

Let’s take a look at an E-mail on Acid marketing campaign that seemed high-quality in gentle mode, however the darkish mode e-mail expertise was less-than-perfect.

E-mail in gentle mode

Light mode email example

E-mail in darkish mode

Dark Mode email example

For essentially the most half, this e-mail continues to be readable in darkish mode. However when you’re devoted to designing and growing a really perfect e-mail expertise for each subscriber, there are most likely some belongings you’d wish to change. 

That’s why a rising variety of e-mail groups are taking the time to design emails for each gentle and darkish modes. If that further work doesn’t appear worthwhile, you can begin by making some primary darkish mode for e-mail optimizations.

Optimizing emails for darkish mode

There are two easy steps e-mail entrepreneurs can take immediately to advertise a useful consumer expertise in each darkish mode and lightweight mode.

1. Use PNGs with clear backgrounds

Utilizing clear PNGs in your pictures permits the background shade change in darkish mode to seem seamless. This manner, no matter shade the background shade adjustments to, it will likely be mirrored within the background of the picture. 

As you most likely observed within the E-mail on Acid darkish mode examples above, two of our pictures (together with our emblem) didn’t have clear backgrounds.

Utilizing clear png pictures in emails so a great finest observe for e-mail designers. However you’ve bought to be careful for black textual content and icons. That leads us to our second tip…

2. Use white strokes round black design components

Example of a white brush stroke

Darkish mode emails can typically trigger an undesirable disappearing act in your campaigns.  Instantly black textual content, icons, logos, and extra are invisible in opposition to darkish backgrounds.

Whereas some graphic designers might cringe on the thought of including white strokes round textual content and icons it’s an efficient method to make sure your emails are readable and actionable. The white stroke is not going to be seen in gentle mode, but it surely helps issues stand out when seen in darkish mode.

Darkish mode for e-mail code snippets

These easy optimizations are vital, however they might not resolve all your darkish mode e-mail dilemmas. E-mail builders and designers have a number of selections:

  1. Passively settle for that your emails gained’t at all times render completely in darkish mode.
  2. Attempt to hack darkish mode and get purchasers to point out the colours you need.
  3. Begin designing your emails with each a darkish mode and lightweight mode theme.

Making an attempt to power mailboxes to render emails in gentle mode defeats the purpose. In case your subscribers wish to view emails in darkish mode, the good factor to do is meet their wants and supply the best expertise.

There are a few code snippets e-mail builders must turn out to be acquainted with in an effort to construct emails for darkish mode. 

First, add these meta tags and :root selector types to the e-mail:

That is used to inform if a tool has darkish mode enabled.

<meta identify="color-scheme" content material="gentle darkish">
<meta identify="supported-color-schemes" content material="gentle darkish">
<fashion sort="textual content/css">
:root {
Coloration-scheme: gentle darkish;
supported-color-schemes:gentle darkish;

Then, add this media question to the e-mail’s CSS:

Alter the colours in your model’s most well-liked darkish mode theme.

@media (prefers-color-scheme: darkish ) {
 .physique {
      background-color: #CCCCCC !vital;
h1, h2, h3, td {
      shade: #9ea1f9 !vital;
       padding: 0px 0px 0px 0px !vital;

On this media question, prefers-color-scheme: darkish acknowledges the darkish mode setting, and the physique tag addresses the physique shade for the complete e-mail. So, when an e-mail with this assertion is opened in or Workplace 2019 with Darkish Mode enabled, the outlined .physique and the h1,h2, h3, td tags take impact.

Nonetheless, there’s a giant caveat to this strategy. The media question (prefers-color-scheme) will not be supported by each e-mail consumer. It solely works with purchasers utilizing WebKit because the rendering engine. As of this writing, the CSS question will work with Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and sure variations of Outlook, however Gmail doesn’t help it. For the newest try this useful resource from

In idea, you might use (prefers-color-scheme) to “override” darkish mode and power it to make use of a lightweight background shade. Nonetheless, when you’re going to take the time to try to power a white background, it’s possible you’ll as effectively design a darkish mode expertise as a substitute. Plus, as famous, this CSS question gained’t work for each e-mail consumer.

Want a bit inspiration? Take a look at some darkish mode e-mail examples that includes designs from prime manufacturers.

Darkish mode and e-mail consumer help

The largest darkish mode for e-mail problem is the other ways purchasers like Gmail, Apple Mail, and Outlook render issues.

Some e-mail purchasers auto-invert colours and a few don’t. Others solely routinely change colours in particular conditions. Some purchasers help media queries for darkish and lightweight shade schemes whereas others don’t. Right here’s a breakdown:

E-mail Shopper Auto-Inverts Colours? Widespread Darkish Mode Problem
Apple Mail
Sure Auto inverts when the background is clear or pure white (#fffff).
Apple Mail
Sure   Auto inverts when the background is clear or pure white (#fffff).
Partially Could make background shade darker.
The one Outlook choice that does help @media (prefers-color-scheme).
Could make background shade darker.
(Home windows)
Sure The one Outlook choice that persistently auto-inverts colours.
The one Outlook choice the place picture swap works.
Could make background shade darker.
(when not already darkish)
Doesn’t help the question @media (prefers-color-scheme).
No Doesn’t help the question @media (prefers-color-scheme).
No No present darkish mode consumer interface.
No No present darkish mode consumer interface.

The working system or system a subscriber is utilizing may complicate darkish mode for e-mail even additional. It’s quite a bit to maintain observe of, which is why it’s useful to conduct darkish mode e-mail testing that gives screenshots previewing campaigns in stay environments.

E-mail on Acid’s predeployment platform offers limitless darkish mode e-mail previews on a wide range of main purchasers and in style gadgets. You too can use our analytics to observe darkish mode opens in a wide range of e-mail purchasers. It’s one of the simplest ways to ship e-mail perfection it doesn’t matter what mode your subscribers desire. E-mail is at all times evolving, which is why it’s at all times finest to check earlier than hitting ship.

Nonetheless questioning whether or not designing and growing emails for darkish mode is value your effort and time? You too can use E-mail on Acid to learn the way a lot of your checklist is viewing emails in darkish mode.

When E-mail on Acid ran its personal experiment, we discovered that round 14% of our subscribers had been utilizing darkish mode. We additionally anticipate that quantity to develop as darkish mode rises in reputation.

To be taught extra about how darkish mode is impacting the world of e-mail advertising, try Pathwire’s darkish mode for e-mail survey

Writer: The E-mail on Acid Crew

The E-mail on Acid content material crew is made up of digital entrepreneurs, content material creators, and straight-up e-mail geeks.

Join with us on LinkedIn, observe us on Fb, and tweet at @EmailonAcid on Twitter for extra candy stuff and nice convos on e-mail advertising.

Writer: The E-mail on Acid Crew

The E-mail on Acid content material crew is made up of digital entrepreneurs, content material creators, and straight-up e-mail geeks.

Join with us on LinkedIn, observe us on Fb, and tweet at @EmailonAcid on Twitter for extra candy stuff and nice convos on e-mail advertising.



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