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How to Boost Your Email Deliverability Using Dark Mode

Dark mode is a rapidly growing trend in the digital world. It has spread across every digital tool we use every day, from device settings, apps, email inboxes, to browsers. Dark mode has been becoming more popular among email users and marketers since Gmail, Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook have already announced their support for dark mode.

You should consider optimizing your emails for this new dark landscape, with more users switching to dark mode. Dark mode optimization will naturally impact your subscribers’ engagement, email delivery, delivery rates, and sender reputation. Here is how dark mode works in email, how the trend is going to impact your emails, and best practices to achieve dark mode optimization for your emails:

What is Dark Mode in Emails?

Dark mode in emails indicates the dark appearance of subscribers’ inboxes exactly how apps, browsers, and your mobile device appears after setting dark mode. As it appears with light-colored icons and text against the dark background, it reduces the light that radiates from screens. At the same time, it also maintains readability by contrasting color schemes.

Why is Dark Mode Getting Popular?

There are several reasons why dark mode is gaining popularity, which includes the following:

  • Dark mode helps extend the battery life of devices that have OLED screens by saving energy. However, this mode will not extend battery life for devices that have a LCD screen, which is common in most laptops.
  • Dark mode reduces screen glare and makes the display easy on viewers’ eyes when viewing screens under low-light conditions.
  • Many users who have cataracts or are sensitive to light prefer dark mode, as it is easier on the eyes and reduces eye strain.
  • Though some users prefer this mode situationally, many users use dark mode across all their devices, apps, email clients, and browsers.

Which Email Clients Support Dark Mode?

Though most design software and photography apps implemented dark mode long ago, usage has drastically increased recently. The latest versions of major platforms like macOS, iOS, Android, and Windows started supporting it.

All major apps and browsers also started supporting dark mode, including Chrome, Firefox, Amazon Kindle, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Pinterest, Reddit, Twitter, Medium, Twitch, Slack, and many others. The following are major email clients that support dark mode emails:

Mobile Apps

  • Gmail app on iOS
  • Gmail app on Android
  • Outlook app on iOS
  • Outlook app on Android

Desktop Clients

  • Apple Mail
  • Outlook 2019 on macOS and Outlook 2019 on Windows

Web-based Email Clients Outlook.com

  • Outlook.com
  • Gmail

Hence, the volume of the targeted audience is quite large. Check out quick email design tips on How to Optimize Your Emails for Apple Dark Mode.

How Can Dark Mode Improve Your Deliverability?

Some email clients allow users to switch to dark mode automatically. However, you cannot control how your emails will look and function in such situations. Emails not optimized for dark mode, can topple colors and make emails appear distorted and difficult to read.

Emails may appear with the light rendering with which it was designed and will cause a terrible user experience in dark mode UI. When your subscribers are reading emails while lying in bed in the dark might feel bright light blasting on their face from your non-dark mode optimized emails. So, your email will create negative inbox experience and lead your subscribers to:

  • Stop opening your emails in the future
  • Unsubscribe from the subscription list
  • Delete email messages without opening emails
  • Start reporting your emails as spam

Your email deliverability will start plummeting when the users start taking these actions, and you will see these negative engagement signals. When inbox providers notice negative reports on your emails, they will start blocking or directing your emails to the spam folder.

On the other hand, emails optimized for dark mode automatically adjust with the email client appearance.

Thus, your subscribers will start boosting email opens, click-through rates, and your email sender reputation. Then email providers will assume that your emails are optimized for a better user experience and increase your email delivery rate. So, how do you optimize emails for dark mode?

4 Tips to Optimize Your Emails for Dark Mode

Now that we have explained the advantages of dark mode optimization for your emails, let us show you four best practices to start optimization that will increase your email deliverability:

Use Transparent Images

Since transparent images do not have a white background, the use of such images will be consistent with the enabled background color of the email template. Therefore, the background of images will sync with the default background in all display modes of email clients and will prevent email images from appearing as white boxes on a dark background.

The fastest method to verify if your email’s image background is transparent or white is by checking if there is any white checkerboard or light gray background in email files. The background will tell you if the image has a transparent background.

Implement Plain-text Emails

Implementing a plain-text version of emails may not ensure your email will appear perfectly in the dark mode. Still, a plain-text message can render a better appearance than a visually-rich, HTML email version. Particularly emails containing updates, such as transactional emails, require a plain text version to deliver important email messages and more comfortable reading with light text on a black background.

Do Not Forget Brand Logos

Are you using a transparent image for the logo? If your logo is black, you have to include a white stroke to your black text to enhance the readability.

Test Your Email Templates

Many marketers get lost in their search for innovative ideas for optimizing their emails for dark mode while forgetting the essential part – testing emails for both dark mode and normal settings. Your emails may render perfectly on dark and light modes, but different inbox providers have different dark mode preferences. So, make sure you test your emails for both dark and light modes of all major email clients, across all platforms, browsers, and devices.


Through dark mode is not the only factor to impact and ensure your email deliverability, it is growing to be a significant one, owing to the popularity of dark mode across all platforms and email clients. If you need professional assistance to jumpstart your email optimization for dark mode, you can start right from here. All you need is to contact us or simply say “Hi” or “Hello” at info@marrinadecisions.com. Or you can DM us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn