Dark Mode: Optimizing Emails for Better Viewing

by | Nov 8, 2023

In this article
6 min read

It becomes essential for email marketers to adapt and optimize their email content as a growing number of people switch to dark mode on their devices. Dark mode can influence the readability and user experience of your emails, potentially influencing your email marketing strategy. 

This blog post will explore how dark mode affects emails and offer tips on how to optimize your emails for it.

What is dark mode?

The dark mode is a display setting that reverses the colour scheme of a user interface, showing light-coloured text and elements on a dark background. As dark mode becomes increasingly popular on smartphones, tablets, and computers, users now have the option to activate dark mode in their email clients and browsers.

optimize email for dark mode

Dark mode provides several benefits, such as reducing eye strain and fatigue, especially in low-light conditions, saving battery life on devices with OLED or AMOLED screens, and offering an aesthetically pleasing and minimalist look.

The dark mode is a setting the user can turn on so an app’s text displays on a black background instead of its regular light background. While not every website or app incorporates a dark mode feature, it is prevalent in text-intensive environments with white backgrounds, such as social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, as well as email clients.

Strategies for Improving Your Emails for Dark Mode

dark mode email best practices

Optimizing your emails for dark mode can improve the readability and visual appeal of your messages. Here are some tips to help you optimize your emails for dark mode:

Respect the user’s preference

Dark mode is a personal preference, and if your subscribers choose to view emails in dark mode, it’s important to respect that choice. Design your emails to be compatible with darker interfaces.

Ensure colour contrast

Dark mode can affect the visibility of text and other elements. Make sure your email’s text and images have sufficient contrast against the dark background to maintain readability. Test your emails in both light and dark modes to ensure they are legible in both settings.

Use transparent PNGs

When using images in your emails, consider using transparent PNGs with no background colour. This allows the background colour change in dark mode to appear seamless and reflect the dark mode background.

Test your emails

It’s crucial to test your emails in different email clients and devices to ensure they are optimized for dark mode. Different email clients handle dark mode differently, so testing will help you identify any issues and make necessary adjustments.

Use High Contrast Colors

In dark mode, contrast is even more crucial for readability. Opt for colours with a sharp contrast between foreground (text) and background. For instance, use light text on a dark background or vice versa. Aim for a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1, as recommended by accessibility guidelines.

Avoid Pure Black Backgrounds

Using pure black (#000000) as a background can be too harsh on the eyes. Instead, opt for a slightly lighter shade of black, like dark grey (#333333). This maintains a visually pleasing aesthetic while reducing strain on the eyes.

Choose Readable Fonts

Stick to standard, easily readable fonts. Sans-serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri are excellent choices. These fonts are clean, legible, and widely supported across different email clients

Test on Multiple Devices and Email Clients

Different devices and email clients may interpret dark mode differently. Test your emails on various platforms to ensure consistency. This includes smartphones, tablets, desktops, and different email clients like Gmail, Outlook, and Apple Mail.

Set Font Colors Explicitly

Specify font colours in your HTML code. This ensures that the text will display correctly in both light and dark modes. Avoid relying on default styles, as they may not render as expected in dark mode.

Add Alt Text to Images

Alt text is crucial for accessibility, allowing visually impaired users to understand the content of images. Ensure your alt text is visible and contrasts well with the background to make it easily readable in dark mode.

Consider Reversed Styles

If your email includes sections with light text on a dark background and vice versa, consider providing a switch or toggle for users to invert the colours. This gives recipients the flexibility to choose their preferred viewing mode.

Use Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

SVGs are not tied to a specific resolution and can be resized without any loss of quality. This ensures they look good in both light and dark modes. They are an excellent choice for logos, icons, or other graphics in your emails.

Avoid Background Images

Background images might not render well in dark mode and can create visual inconsistencies. It’s safer to stick to solid colours for backgrounds to ensure a consistent viewing experience.

Keep the Content Engaging

While optimizing for dark mode is important, don’t forget the overall content and design of your email. Engaging content, clear messaging, and a well-designed layout are fundamental to a successful email campaign.

Include a Text-Only Version

Some email clients may not fully support dark mode. Providing a text-only version ensures your message is still accessible and readable, regardless of the recipient’s email client or device.

Test with a Dark Mode Previewer

Many email marketing platforms offer dark-mode previewers. Utilize these tools to see exactly how your email will appear in dark mode before sending it out to your subscribers. This helps catch any potential issues or design inconsistencies.

Consider Dark Mode Media Queries

Use media queries to detect if the recipient’s email client supports dark mode, and adjust styles accordingly. This allows you to provide an optimized experience based on the viewer’s preferences.


According to recent statistics, dark mode usage has seen a significant increase. For example, a survey conducted by Adobe in 2021 found that 82% of smartphone users in the United States prefer using dark mode. Additionally, a study by Statista revealed that the global dark mode adoption rate has grown to 59% in 2022.

These statistics highlight the importance of adapting email designs to cater to this growing trend. By incorporating dark mode optimization techniques, email marketers can enhance the reading experience for recipients, reduce eye strain, and even contribute to improved battery life on certain devices.

To effectively optimize emails for dark mode, it is essential to consider colour contrast, utilize transparent PNGs, and thoroughly test email designs in various modes and email clients. By doing so, marketers can ensure that their messages are both visually appealing and easily readable, regardless of the preferred viewing mode.

As dark mode continues to gain traction, embracing this trend and optimizing emails accordingly will be key to delivering engaging and accessible content to a wide range of recipients. By staying ahead of the curve and prioritizing the preferences of their audience, email marketers can maximize the impact of their campaigns and create a seamless viewing experience for all.

Improve how you promote your business to make it grow a lot! Our experienced team of marketers is here to help you. You can learn more about how to succeed by going to our website or emailing us at [email protected]. Make sure you don’t miss this chance!

    Request a FREE Proposal Now!

    By submitting this form, I agree that the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

    Recent Posts

    Related Blogs