Not entirely sure what Dark Mode is, or how to cater for it in emails? Don't stay in the dark, we've got you covered.

If you’re in email marketing (which is likely if you are reading this blog) you may have come across Dark Mode. But you may not know exactly what it is. Is it an AI version of the Dark Side from Star Wars? Or a state where my smart light bulbs are instructed to turn off?

Nope. Dark Mode inverts the colours on your device to decrease the amount of light on your screen. Basically, white backgrounds and text go darker to apparently ease the strain on your eyes (though this has yet to be proven). In any case Dark Mode (or Night Mode if you’re Google) is increasing in popularity. Regular polls in the email geeks community usually highlight that around 20% of people use Dark Mode. We even did a quick ‘show of hands’ at Taxi and this number was even higher.

So with 1/5th of people using Dark Mode, is it easy to use and simple to account for? Well, no. Most email apps and operating systems do not have a uniform way of presenting Dark Mode. This makes it difficult to gear your email to be Dark Mode friendly across multiple email clients. Colours can be inverted in different ways, locked assets like logos don’t change at all, and text that over-lays an image can disappear into a similarly coloured background.

Switching to read an email in Dark Mode can present some real visual challenges, especially if the email template hasn’t been designed with Dark Mode in mind.

See how text colours change to cater for Dark Mode, and how some (main paragraph) can sometimes struggle to stand out.

And what if you aren’t a coder? Lots of the solutions to Dark Mode problems are in coding, but we realise that a lot of people don’t get involved with this. You just want to build out the email and send it, using a pre-made template from your team of expert email coders. Seems like a lot of hassle and difficulty. 

It does make emails more accessible to subscribers though, so it’s a positive thing to embrace. And there are basic and easy steps that you can take whilst building your emails to cater for Dark Mode.

Easy tips for Dark Mode 

  • Use PNGs with transparent backgrounds to avoid white background ‘blocks’ around your images. 
  • If you choose to put text over an image, avoid using pure white (#ffffff) or pure black (#000000). These are likely to get swapped to other colours when Dark Mode is activated. 
  • Use a filter over images to dull them when Dark Mode is active. This stops the contrast between a dark background and bright image being too harsh. 
  • If you use dark text for headers or dark icons (e.g. social media icons), put a 2px white text-stroke so that it shows up clearly against a dark background. 
This logo is nearly invisible in Dark Mode, as in normal mode it's the same colour as the Dark Mode background. Then see how a simple text-stroke helps with this.

Taxi makes Dark Mode easy

Taxi for Email also makes it easy for you to make Dark Mode friendly emails. All you need are some small adjustments to your master template. You can do that yourself or our friends at Action Rocket can do that for you. Contact us to get more information on how we can help with Dark Mode! If you are already using Taxi, speak to our Customer Success team!

Note - a huge thank you to Jay Oram at Action Rocket for providing us with a plethora of information on Dark Mode and for helping with this article! If you want to know more about Dark Mode, we highly recommend that you check out his article on the Action Rocket blog.

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