Craig Mod, prognosticator of publishing, recently tweeted about newsletters:
“There's a tendency to over-design newsletters as of late. I think this misses the point, the *power* of a newsletter is from its intimacy. You can design intimacy out of an experience by scrubbing voice, grit.
The best newsletters feel like nice letters from smart friends.
My favorites newsletter either:
1) have a super strong voice, and therefore I don't care how long they are, will joyfully follow them to the end of the world
2) are mega concise, and serve to highlight just a handful (3? 4?) of gems”
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about under-designing a newsletter. Tobias van Schneider has also talked about this with his super-successful newsletter about design (which he refuses to call a “newsletter”):
“To be honest, I sometimes think it’s a bit too nice. I like to keep it simple; I want it to look less like a newsletter and more like a personal email.”
Tinyletter makes this kind of personal style easy, but if you’re looking to do this with a more fully-featured service, good luck. It can often be harder to make a newsletter look under-designed than over-designed.