I'll start out by saying I'm a photographer, not a designer. I've been using InDesign to create marketing emailers, sent out with Constant Contact. I'm starting to add more images and importantly text to the designs and they're looking compressed when exported as JPG or PNG.
My designs are not complex, basically a vertical template with 4-6 photographs, probably a color block or two, my logo and then some text, which is more in the form of headlines than paragraphs.
First question is probably is InDesign the the best, or a good tool, to be designing emailers with, especially when I'm adding text?
Should I be looking at XD or Express or something else to design my email templates? I'd prefer to design outside of Constant Contact. After talking with them, it sounds like if I'm not using their templates, the best options might be PDF or HTML??
Thoughts and direction appreciated. I have full Adobe subscription, so access to all the tools here.
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ID can be a good tool for this kind of design, but having fairly advanced skills on the export and scaling end goes a long ways. That said, it's not really the tool for web/digital work for a number of reasons.
I'd say you're better off working in Photoshop or XD; the biggest limitation of PS is that it's not great at lotsa text, or body text.
You've gotten some good answers already so I just throw my $0.02. Nobody is going to be overly impressed one way or the other with a fancy email design. Use one their templates and their elements and be done with it.
Marketing emails should clearly state what the purpose is with a CTA button that takes the reader to your website and a nice landing page is what you should be spending your time on.
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What settings are you using when exporting as a jpg or png?
I would say as a starting off point for layout purposes, InDesign is fine. XD can also share your layout as a style guide meant for developers which spits out styles, colors, marked assets for export, and some CSS snippets of code.
But I think when it comes to Constant Contact it'd be best to rebuild your layout in their environment. Image assets could be exported from Adobe apps, but as much live type should be preserved for best email practices. It's never great to get emails that are just a bunch of images of type for searchability and accessibility reasons.
If it's as simple as you say, then HTML/CSS wouldn't be too difficult if you'd like to take a stab at it. I don't see how a PDF would help with importing into their system, most likely it would need to be responsive for various device formats like desktop or mobile.
Have you worked in Constant Contact, iContact, MailChimp etc. in recent years? Their acceptance of outside, pro-design stuff has gotten more and more limited. Years back, I did very sophisticated layouts and imported them with a few caveats; a recent gig that included managing some similar tasks confirmed that these tools have completely optimized around the amateur, secretary, marketing-assistant types who typically do email management these days. Like PowerPoint, there isn't really a pro avenue to satisfactory results.
And nowhere is that more true than in trying to code HTML/CSS that will pass their design optimizers and layout validators. Graphics are one thing; actually building your own email code and structure is another.
My solution was to stop doing email projects, and now I sleep better on two fronts. 😄
Constant Contact does sound familiar, I believe my workplace may use that system in addition to others. However from a dev standpoint I'm not familiar with their interface or how they get coded specifically. No surprise companies are trying to dumb it down for the end user, it's a shame if customization does ultimately get limited.
Sumo, James - very good information!! When I spoke with Constant Contact they really were pushing me to use their templates.
I'd love to share an email from a sourcebook that has really great design that may help show what others are doing. Do you know if there's a way to download and share an email on here? I'm pretty sure it's HTML and was sent through MailChimp, if that helps.
Screencap or PDF.
Yes, I started doing email when it was 'orrible resource graphics and preformatted text blocks, and very quickly moved to doing my own work for import. But that window has gotten smaller and tighter and odd-shaped as the services push clients to just use onboard assets and templates.
And, of course, it's no longer possible to manage your own mailings, even if you don't want extensive tracking and so forth. So anyone who wants to do mass email must use one of the services and put up with the content/design straitjacket...