The numbers may vary, but several surveys show that the adoption of dark mode among smartphone users is somewhere between 50-80%. That’s a substantial percentage – and the reasons as to why so many people are joining the dark side are also many.

The digital frontier has overtaken so much of both professional and private life over the past few decades that the average person now spends almost six hours and 55 minutes in front of a screen everyday. This means that screen time accounts for about 38-43% of our waking hours, which is likely more time than most people spend with friends and family.

Concerns about our stress levels, sleep patterns and eye health have been raised regarding the increased digital consumption. Blue light from our screens has been called out as a particular issue, as there are claims that it disrupts the production of melatonin, and thereby disturbs our natural sleep cycle. As a result, an increasing number of people are turning their devices to dark mode at night.

Let’s start with the facts: what is dark mode? 

Dark mode is a display setting for smartphones that changes the interface’s colour palette to display content in high contrast using a light foreground on a dark background. Dark mode reduces the light emitted by screens while maintaining the minimum colour contrast ratios required for readability.

How does dark mode affect your email marketing performance?

Dark mode is taking over our recipients’ settings and an increasing number have their settings switched to dark mode full time. Because dark mode changes the interface’s color palette, it might also affect the way your email design is displayed on your users’ devices.

As email marketers, we need to ensure that the emails our dark mode users receive are optimised for their viewing before hitting the ‘send’ button.

How can you adjust your emails to fit dark mode?

  1. Always use transparent images

    When we open emails in dark mode, we are often confronted with a white image box against the dark background. Dark mode inverts colours in CSS, but this doesn’t always affect images.
  2. Always outline black logos

    Black logos can be an issue in dark mode, as they are at risk of completely disappearing into the dark background if the email is not set up right.

    There are few options to avoid this situation:
    Add a 2px white outline to your logos, including social media icons located in the footer of the email. While a white outline may not align with your brand, it will ensure that your logos are always visible to your email recipients. 

    You can also add your logo as a full banner image with a background colour.

    An alternative approach is to simply design an alternative logo that includes a box image with a background colour. 
  3. Don’t use dark background images with light text on top

    This combination can result in black text on a dark background image, making the text impossible to read. 
  4. Always review your emails and adjust accordingly

    Always remember to preview your emails in dark mode. Setup a test email account with all the largest email clients and send a test email to yourself. This enables you to see whether or not a given email will work with dark mode before sending it to clients, and allows you to make any necessary edits if it’s difficult to view text or images.

Camilla Kornbeck Højlund

Head of Marketing Automation
CRM & Sales Enablement
+45 61 78 08 63