Design Blog - General Design

Art Attack Computer Designs

  1. Subject line – make sure your title is short, clear, simple and punchy so the receiver immediately knows what your email is about.
  2. Introduce yourself – if you don’t know the person well, reintroduce yourself, reminding them of where you met or how you got their email, to improve context, create familiarity and improve your chance of a good response.
  3. Write politely – emails are still a form of writing, not speaking, and it is very easy to offend or sound abrupt, even if you know the recipient quite well. How many emails have you received that don’t even use a basic please or thankyou, or that have come across as rude? Read the email from the receiver’s point of view before you hit ‘send’.
  4. Keep it brief and to the point – effective emails are short and get the message across. If your message is long or complex, maybe you should consider ringing or another method of communication to make sure it isn’t lost in translation between everything else they are doing.
  5. Use bullet points or lists – each idea should be a separate point for ease of reading. Your message will have a much better chance of being read and actioned.
  6. Don’t use ALL CAPITALS – IT”S THE SAME AS SHOUTING! If you need to emphasise a word or phrase, use bold, italic or underlined text sparingly to aid readability. Overdoing any of these makes your email hard to follow, lose impact and also sounds rude.
  7. Don’t use tabs or soft returns – Your receiver will most likely have a different size window setup to yours and tabs just become ugly and uneven gaps in your text making it very hard to read. Use a normal return (‘enter’) for a new paragraph and single (or double if you must) spaces between words only. There is no use aligning text visually at your end.
  8. Fonts and colours – Don’t go to town with fancy fonts, multi-coloured text or a variety of sizes. Use a font that is clear and easy to read, and that is standard on most computers. Non-standard fonts will just be substituted at the receiver’s end and usually look pretty bad. It’s also best to stick to one or two easy-to-read colours, like black or dark blue, to aid legibility. More than a few colours, especially bright ones, and lots of different sizes tend to look very tacky and will reduce the chances of your email being taken seriously. In fact, they will look like spam.
  9. Using reply all – Only use ‘reply all’ if your comments will really be of interest to all recipients, otherwise it is usually best to reply only to the sender or selected relevant people.
  10. Graphics – be aware that electronic signatures, graphics and attachments may be blocked by firewalls or result in your email being marked as spam. Keep the number and size or these to an absolute minimum and always confirm that important emails have in fact been received if you don’t receive the anticipated response.

© Article by Fiona Morsink-Ryan, Communications Director, Art Attack Web & Graphic Design, Sydney, Australia (

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