Designing E-mail Newsletters

September 16, 2010

I frequently see users ask about designing e-mail newsletters in CorelDRAW and I had a loyal reader ask me the same question this week. First, let’s talk about what makes up an e-mail newsletter and then we’ll talk about how it is designed.

An e-mail newsletter is nothing but a Web page. Since I would never recommend using CorelDRAW to design a Web page, it is the wrong software for creating an e-mail newsletter. Now I know some of you don’t want to hear that. You expect CorelDRAW to do it all. While there is a way to force CorelDRAW to create a Web page, the results would be a mess and I doubt you would be happy with what was created. Many users then assume that Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop would be a better choice. Not at all! Graphics applications are not the best tools for creating Web pages. If you absolutely insist on using a graphics application, Xara Designer Pro 6 is the only one that does a decent job of it. Of course you can use your graphics application, including CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT, to create the graphics for the e-mail newsletter.

I am guessing that most users fight to use CorelDRAW so hard because they don’t want to spend the money or the time on another application. Some users were tempted to get the new CorelDRAW Premium Suite X5 because it includes Corel Website Creator X5. After doing a little research, I found that it was nothing but a renamed version of NetObjects Fusion. While you might find it easy to use, it creates absolutely unusable HTML code. I think it was a huge mistake for Corel to put their name on such a product.

The reality is that all designers today need to be able to do at least basic Web page creation. I also strongly believe that all designers have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. This does involve a learning curve for users that don’t already have that experience. It also brings a new skillset that you can market to your clients or to build your own business. My Web design software of choice is Blumentals WeBuilder 2010. It isn’t the right software for everyone, but it is for me. Some users prefer WYSIWYG software and Adobe Dreamweaver is the most popular choice with Microsoft Expression Web another popular choice. The sooner you select a tool for designing Web pages and learn to use it, the better off you will be.

Once you have designed the e-mail newsletter, you’ll probably want to use a service to manage and send to your list of recipients. We’ve been using Topica for over ten years to deliver the Graphics Unleashed Newsletter. I’ve been happy with the service I receive for the price. If I were to look at another platform, Constant Contact would be high on my list.

First things first. E-mail newsletters are Web pages. CorelDRAW is the wrong tool for the job. Use a dedicated Web page creator/editor to create the e-mail. Then you’re ready to send it through one of the suggested providers.

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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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