Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content


Using McMaster brand guidelines for content in your email creates a strong, branded communication.


Call to action (CTA) buttons indicate that the user can perform an action. Typically used in CTA banners, these buttons need to be consistent, clear and simple in order to guide users to the next step. Copy within a button should be Title Case, centred, and not exceed 20 characters, to keep the message clear and succinct. Copy should always be live text, not an image. See examples of primary buttons in a default and hover state.

Two examples of a CTA button. When on a light background, the CTA button is maroon with white text. When on a dark background, the CTA button is white with maroon text.

For email platforms that allow customization of button hover states, follow the below guidelines.

A diagram showing the proper sizes of a learn more button.

Image and icon cards

Image and icon cards combine copy and visuals into one component. They can take up an entire column, be positioned side-by-side, or be a combination of the two styles.

When using icons, in a full-width application, they should always be positioned to the left of the copy. When a 2-column format is used, the icons may be centered above the copy. This is also how they should appear for mobile. 

Several examples of CTA cards. When on desktop, a single CTA card has the icon on the left, followed by a header and subtitle to the right, with a CTA button centre-justified underneath the text. For a dual CTA card on desktop/all CTA cards on mobile, the format goes from the top down: Icon, card heading, subtext, CTA button.

An example of a CTA card with an Image. The image is at the top of the card followed by the card header, subtext, and a centre-justified CTA button.


Including a personalized signature at the end of the email is preferred, as it provides a human touch to the communication. Signatures should follow the example below.

An example of the Signature icon on desktop and mobile. On the desktop, there is a headshot to the left of the person's Name and Position/Title. On mobile, all 3 of these items stack top-down.

Tables and lists

When including tables and lists in an email, keep the information clean and organized by following the examples below.An example of a table on both desktop and mobile. A maroon header with white text is at the top of the table followed by maroon subheadings and body copy for each list item. Each list item is separated by a maroon divider.


We need to keep in mind that most screen readers and assistive technology “reads” an email for a user is used in combination with text-only email. It might be useful to add a note about text-only versions of our emails and accessibility as an appendix in the guideline. Either way – it is a part of our process to do text only email (always) and this requires editing – for example, we can’t use buttons in text only email so writing a clear description and providing the full HTTPs address/URL for a screen reader is an appropriate way to share a link in a text only email.