As our communications shift more and more from paper to digital, I’m finding that clients are wanting more sophisticated, branded emails to use for their day to day communications. While html newsletters are a good bet for formatting, they are impractical for person to person communication. Simply adding a gif of your logo by your signature works too, but what if you want something a little more polished?
Well, recently I discovered that Outlook (for PC) and Mail (for Macs) have a “save as stationery” function. While not perfect, it can allow you to format your email as you like it, then save it as stationery. Later, when you compose a new email, you can apply your custom design at the click of a button. Or, select from one of their own stationery shells. Here’s a link I found on setting it up in Outlook: How to Create Email Stationery Easily in Outlook Express Step by Step Screenshot Walkthrough – About Email.
All of this is well and good, but a warning: just as the ability of Word users to access fancy fonts resulted in a proliferation of Papyrus-laced monstrosities, we must all take care to use restraint with new technology. If you brand your emails, observe the fonts, colors, and design element conventions set up by your designer. And as always, ask yourself if less would be more: most people are anxious to read their emails for pertinent content and move on to the next task.
A good use for email stationery: initial contacts with clients or official requests for a business-related item through email.
Here’s an addendum to the original article:
I recently received an email wrapped in a stationery. I did some research and discovered that they went through this service: http://www.wrapmail.com/. They charge $5/month for the service. All emails go through them, but you retain your email address. If you choose to use this service, please—I BEG you!—keep it simple: a basic header designed professionally by your own designer. Keep your brand consistent and uncluttered. Email should have the primary function of being used for communication.