Deciding when to redesign your newsletter

Adjust as needed

Every once in a while, I come home to find that my husband has rearranged the artwork on our walls. Which, generally speaking, causes me to lose my mind. Because once I’ve figured out a system or configuration that I like, trust, and know works, my tendency is to stick with it forever. My husband, however, likes to mix things up. Without his influence, I’d be going to the same five restaurants and eating the same five dishes every weekend until I die. And without my influence, our house might look slightly different every time I got back from running an errand. So, ya know, we balance each other out.

Finding a similar balance — between sticking to what works and shaking things up — is important when you consider redesigning anything that has to do with your brand, including your newsletter. If you stick to the same layout, colors, and features indefinitely, you risk looking dated. If you tweak your newsletter every single month, you lose brand equity. So let’s explore when to redesign your newsletter.

So how do you know when it’s time is right? Here are some factors to consider:

Do your site and newsletter look similar?

When to Redesign Your Newsletter

Might sound a little simplistic, but especially if you’re working in a larger company, your web team and your communications team might not be running on the same schedule. If the site has gotten a facelift, the newsletter should get one, too.

Are you adding new features?

If you’re removing features and doing so doesn’t affect your layout, you can generally stick to the same general design. But if you’re adding new features — especially multiple features in a single go — refreshing your newsletter design can be beneficial. New features in an old layout might get lost, but when the overall design shifts, everything will pop.

Has it been more than three years?

Your logo might never get redesigned, you may stick to the same brand colors forever, and if you land on a great tagline, it just might serve you well indefinitely. But most web-and email-based interfaces need to be spruced up every two to three years. Both because a redesign is a visual representation of a progressive company, and because new plugins, functions, and design trends spring up every few months. You don’t want to look like you’re lagging behind, or fail to take advantage of new tech. If your creative is looking stale and boring then you know when to redesign your newsletter; now.

Has your branding, message or company changed?

If you’re taking your blog in a new direction, if you’ve acquired another company, or if you’ve decided to undertake a massive rebrand, don’t forget to switch up your newsletter design. Doing so is the perfect way to mark big change and create some visual fanfare around what might otherwise seem like invisible changes.

The moral of this story: Don’t redesign just because you’re bored, and don’t stick with the same layout forever just because it “ain’t broke.” Find a balance, and think of a newsletter redesign as a way to show your readers and customers you’re agile and in-tune.

Image by: jenschapter3 via Compfight cc

Sally McGraw
Sally McGraw is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer, editor, and blogger. She is the creator the popular daily blog Already Pretty, a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a Huffington Post contributor, and the author of several books about style and body image. Sally is also a ghostwriter and editor who specializes in non-fiction books and book proposals. She believes that writing is like solving a living, breathing, ever-changing puzzle, and finds the challenge exhilarating. Her favorite word is "crepuscular."