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3 Easy Hacks To Make Your Email Work In Dark Mode

Published on 02 Dec 2019

When an email user selects dark mode’, the app or device switches from a predominantly light theme (‘normal mode’) to a predominantly darker theme. 

Normal mode typically uses a light background and darker text. 

Dark mode, using a dark background and lighter text, is said to help reduce eye strain and eye fatigue for certain users, especially in low light conditions, like at night. 

What does this mean for email marketers? 


Our expert’s view:

Firstly, you have no control over which mode is used to view your email, therefore your email design needs to work on both.  While we want our emails to look great, this is not just a cosmetic exercise. If not designed appropriately, emails can be unreadable in dark mode, resulting in a bad customer experience and a low accessibility score.

Secondly, switching to dark mode won’t change all aspects of an email. The trick is to know which elements change and which don’t, and the effect on the look and readability of the email.  

Simply put, normal vs dark mode affects the background and text colors of an email.

Here are some easy hacks to make your email display well, regardless of whether it’s viewed with a light or dark theme.  


Tip #1: all images, including your logo, should have a transparent background 

Dark mode cannot change the background of your image, this will remain constant. If you give an image a background color that works in normal mode,  it will be visible as a block around the image in dark mode. Better to allow the image background to change with the theme.


Tip #2: add a white stroke around dark text

A thin white stroke around dark text won’t be visible in a lighter theme, but, it will make the text clear and easy to read in dark mode.


Tip #3: test in both light and dark mode

Just as you test an email to make sure it renders on different screen sizes and email clients, it’s also wise to check how your email will display if the user switches to dark mode. 

Dori-Jo Bonner

Dori-Jo Bonner

Account Strategist, Africa

Find out more about email accessibility

Striata is a leading provider of digital customer communication solutions that improve customer experience and advance the digital transformation of a company’s communication strategy.