Email Etiquette 101

How to win at email etiquette

Reminiscing about our first emails brings back memories of excitement whenever hearing the ping of incoming mail. Now (many) years later we’re all suffering from email exhaustion. The enjoyment level of a full inbox has fallen to about the same level doing our taxes.

Emails can be a time-consuming, tiresome and never-ending task. They take away too much time that can be better spent for us designers as well as our clients. But, with our easy to follow email tips you can help wrestle that time back into your hands.

Think before you type

Before you start your email, organise and collect your thoughts (and anyone else’s that are necessary). By being organised and emailing more refined ideas will help ensure your thoughts are understood clearly and don’t get lost in translation when they reach your designer.

Tip: The clearer you are the less time, money and rounds of revisions before hitting the winning design idea.

Avoid writing entire sagas

When you’re composing work-related emails, be aware of how long your responses are and whether you’re getting to the point quickly enough. Keep your emails short, sweet and to the point. We LOVE bullet points. Make liberal use of them! And always try to state the purpose of your email within the first sentence or two.

Tip: Emails to your designer are tend to discuss the visual via words. This tends to be difficult at the best of times so being to the point and clear helps you to avoid confusion.

Style it up

If your email’s going to go longer than a paragraph or two, make sure that you use visual techniques to help make it more legible. This can include headings, lists ( bullet points <3), bolded or underlined key words.

Tip: A word of caution to the wise, it can also be easy to go overboard with this! Keep your styling simple but effective – no need to whip out the pink comic sans or brush script please!

Ditch the corporate jargon

Corporate jargon has its place and is useful in some situations but your designer doesn’t need to deep dive, paradigm shift, open the kimono, peel the onion or boil the ocean. Trust us, there’s no need for excessive jargon here. Speak to your designer the way you would normally speak to get the most out of your interactions.

Tip: We’re real life human beings on the other end of your emails so skip the unnecessary formal speak.

Don’t forget your subject line

A clear and direct subject line can save time and headaches. It can help to ensure your email won’t get lost in your designer’s inbox.

Your subject line should cover the basics like the project in question and the reason for your email. An ideal subject line could be “Apple iPhone: Packaging design – Side panel text changes (version 2)” and a not so great one “FW: RE: RE: Re: Hi”.

Tip: Your designer’s inbox can get flooded with various projects. Finding the right email fast can ensure your email gets actioned more easily.

Avoid the “Reply All” temptation

No one wants to read 50 emails from various people that have nothing to do with them. So, try to only send emails that have clear actionable information for your designer. If your team is discussing various ideas, wait until you have all the info so you can collate it into one clear email.

Tip: Save your designer from sifting through a million emails for actionable work. It can be confusing to your designer and open to expensive mistakes for your business. So, avoid the possibility by collating everything relevant to one clear email.

If all else fails, call!

If you’re not sure you can get your idea across via email or if you’re about to send off an complicated/long email, supplement your email with a quick call. This ensures that your email’s clear, understood and saves you infinite emails back and forth!

Tip: Design is a visual field so emails can’t always convey your ideas perfectly. Don’t be scared to call and explain your idea more fully.

For more tips on making the most of your designer check out our posts on how to write a great design brief and how to mark up your revisions. If you’d like to chat with us about your ideas, we’d love to hear from you via our contact page!

Katerina Przita

Kat specialises in branding, corporate identity and web design with a special love for illustration and infographic design.

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