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In this course, author Tim Slavin shows how to design and code an HTML email newsletter, including setting the final dimensions and color palette, placing images and copy in the code structures of the file, and defining the newsletter's parameters with tables within tables. The course demonstrates each step of building an HTML newsletter, up to testing and sending the email.
In this video we'll begin to learn then write down all the little details we'll need to code our e-mail. This includes colors, dimensions of key parts, and cutting out images. We'll create a worksheet that will service as a map that we'll use throughout this chapter. We'll begin by extracting color information from key blocks of our HTML e-mail. To do that click the Eyedropper Tool on the left and we'll start with our background pattern.
Because older e-mail software may not show our background image, we'll need to pick a dark color to substitute for the image. Click, go down to our color chip and we can see that this background image color has the hexadecimal value of b6b596. The next color value we need is behind the logo, it appears to be white, but let's check. That color value is indeed white; it's FF, FF, FF, then we'll get the color for the copy area.
Our goal with all of this color information is to come up with a printout or an electronic file perhaps you set this up in a wire-frame software program, like Balsamic, but you want to create a single piece of paper or page that has all of this color information, height and width information. So let's continue to extract colors. And finally the last big area is the footer, it appears to be black, but we need to check. In fact, it's a different color, so you should write this down on your worksheet.
Now we're ready to begin to extract the color of the headings, subheading, and copy. To do that we'll do Ctrl++ or Command++. For the heading, let's pick a nice solid dark color area, go down to our color chip and we have our hexadecimal value for the heading, it is 35411d. Now you'll notice that the color value for the copy itself also is the same color, so we don't need to grab that.
The subheading however is gray, so let's pick a solid color area and this number is a little confusing, it's 9b as in boy, 9d as a dog, 9a. In addition, we had some copy in the footer that I want to check. This is not pure white, so we need to extract this color as well. And finally, we have the link down here, which appears to be a hot green, so let's get that color. We'll type Ctrl+0 or Command+0 to return to the full screen.
Now after we've extracted our color information and written it down on our worksheet, the next step is to measure out parts of our design. We'll start with the width of the design, we'll select the top area, select the Navigation panel, select the Info. Our design is 550 pixels Wide, so let's write that down. And this content area happens to be 504 pixels wide. What I do, I tend to round down or up as necessary to make the math easy as I'm coding an e-mail.
And instead of being precise encoding to 504 pixels wide for each content row, I'm going to code to 500 pixels wide, that means that each of these borders will be 25 pixels wide, so 25 for a border on the left, 25 for the border on the right plus 500 will get me the 550 for the width of the entire e-mail. It will make the math much, much easier as we code. So let's write down that our content area will be 500 pixels wide and that our border is 25 pixels wide.
We don't really need to do any other measurement, because we know each row is 500 pixels wide and the height will be determined by the copy. Our goal is to come as close as possible to the visual look of this design, rather than having 100% pixel perfect with respect to height. Because our content area is 500 pixels wide, we also know that the images will be no wider than 500 pixels, so let's begin to cut out images. We'll start with the logo; we have a couple of options.
We could either cut out the logo tightly or we could cut out the logo to force the height of the table data cell that it will be in, or we can make the logo the full width, 500 pixels wide and however tall we want, let's do that. You can see in Photoshop that I can't be 100% precise, so what I'm going to do is I'll select this area, I'll type Ctrl+C or Command+C to copy, Ctrl+N or Command+N to create a new file, this is OK, and Ctrl+V or Command+V to paste.
To get the size that I want, I'll go up to Image>Canvas Size, I'll set the Width to 500 and the Height to 200. I'll then Save this image for Web & Devices, we'll set at a High value. As you can see here on the lower-left is a kilobyte, so it's probably fine. We'll need to add an images Folder, we'll Name this file, logo-two-trees, we'll save.
Next, we'll cut out the photo of the olive branch. This image also needs to be no more than 500 pixels wide. We'll type Ctrl+C or Command+C to copy, Ctrl+N or Command+N to create a New Image file and Ctrl+V or Command+V to paste. We'll save for Web Devices, we'll check the size of the image, we don't want it to be too high. We'll save, and we'll call this olive branch.
The last image we need to cut out is the Facebook icon in the lower right of our design. We'll type Ctrl++ or Command++ to zoom in. We don't need our Info panel anymore. As with the logo, we have a couple of options when we cut out this image; we could for example, cut out information below the image to force the height of our table data cell. In this case, I simply want the logo, I don't do anything fancy. So I will select the Marquee Tool and be pretty close.
Ctrl+C or Command+C to copy, Ctrl+N or Command+N to create a New image, and Ctrl+V or Command+V to paste. I will then Save for Web Device, and then save the file. In this case I'll it icon-facebook, we'll save. I'll type Ctrl+0 or Command+0 to return to the original view. With all the details we need written down on our worksheet, let's begin coding our e-mail.
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