Communication Skills

JS Tip 88: From the Writing Workshops: Using Color in Your E-mail

The Advantage

One. Color pops. (See?) Color draws attention to itself and makes your words stand out. Color gives you a way to emphasize the ideas you’re trying to communicate.

The Disadvantages

One. Color prints (on black-and-white printers—the business standard) and photocopies poorly. Bright reds fade to light gray.

Two. And, if your reader wants to capture your colorful intent, she has to print in color. A more expensive move.

Three. Nine percent of your readers have some sort of color deficiency.

Our Observations

The disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Avoid using color in your e-mail.

As color printers and copiers become more common, and as the cost of color printing goes down, there may be some advantage, but not until then.

You have an array of emphasis devices: italics, bolding, and font changes. Exhaust those before you print in red. Or blue. Or purple.

If you have questions, let us know. Seriously. We love this stuff.

Next week: “You,” “Your,” and “You’re.” Maybe even “Yore,” as in “Yore dawgs got loose.”