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HubSpot Guidelines

Design Guidelines

Each email must have a header at the top. Header graphics can be made by University Marketing and Communications. Should a user decide to create their own graphic, it must incorporate an appropriate university logo and be approved by University Marketing and Communications. University-approved colors can be used in each email and should fulfill accessibility requirements.

Email Delivery Guidelines

Want your email to stand out in inboxes?

  • Avoid sending emails during peak delivery times.
  • For internal emails, avoid sending communications on Mondays and Fridays.
  • The first and last days of the month should be avoided as well.

Accessibility Guidelines

Emails must be accessible. Appropriate color contrast, alt-text, accessible links and more must be implemented.

Color contrast:

Our brand has sets of primary and secondary colors that can be used within email communications. These colors are preloaded into HubSpot for user convenience.

Elements (including backgrounds, text, buttons, etc.) must have a high color contrast for accessibility standards and to make communications easier to read. Using a white background with black body text is encouraged for the highest contrast.

Having a cohesive look will improve the readability of communications. To make a section of an email stand out, colors within our brand can be used. Here are some examples of HubSpot elements in various color combinations that are high contrast.

Text and appropriate color contrasts to be used within HubSpot. Options are light text such as white, SDSU light yellow, SDSU light blue, or SDSU yellow; on dark colors. Dark colors are SDSU Blue and SDSU Navy.

Note: SDSU Dark Yellow (#C99700) should be used cautiously as it fails most contrast checks when used with other colors in our brand. It can only be used on dark backgrounds for headings (larger than font size 18) and button outlines. For further assistance in achieving these designs or to implement them as part of your email template, please contact Heidi Bushong.

Here are color references that fail most contrast checks and should be avoided.

incorrect color contrast ratios

Text Best Practices

  • Do not use italics for more than a singular word or name
  • Do not bold entire sentences, paragraphs, etc.
  • Use bullets that are provided within the HubSpot system. (Do not manually add dashes or indents.)
  • Use numbered/alphabetized lists that are provided within the HubSpot system. (Do not manually add numbers or indents.)
  • For readability, it is recommended that headings are left-justified or centered. Body text longer than two lines should be left-justified.

Find additional information on making accessible text.


  • Use short, but specific text for links
  • Do not use terms such as “Click here,” “More,” etc.

Find additional information on making accessible links.


  • Use alternative text with all of the images that you include within your newsletter
  • Alternative text should be short, yet descriptive
  • Do not use “Photo of,” “Image of,” etc. when creating your alternative text
  • If an image contains text that is relevant to the user, all of the text within the image must be included within the alternative text

Find additional information on making images accessible.

Contact Guidelines

UMC must maintain no more than 220,000 HubSpot marketing contacts, to avoid large, additional charges under our contract.

Here are a few parameters that UMC implements to filter contacts:

  • Only UMC staff members with access to HubSpot can upload lists to prevent excessive contact counts.
    • Users must allow 1-2 business days for new list uploads
    • Heidi Bushong can upload to HubSpot on behalf of users
  • Contacts will be filtered regularly to eliminate those who are not responding to email marketing content. These parameters include:
    • Removing hard bounces (email addresses that no longer exist, have been marked as spam, mailbox is full, etc.)
    • Removing unsubscribed contacts
    • Four or more email marketing sends since the contact’s last engagement
      • That was created 6-9 months before the current date
        • Current students, faculty and staff, SDSU Foundation, SDSU Extension, BOR staff are excluded from these parameters.
          • Select contacts and lists can be excluded with UMC approval

Contacts typically will not respond to your content if they have not for three months, based on guidance from our external marketing firm. Because some accounts within HubSpot have a longer communication plan, such as quarterly or semesterly emails, we have lengthened that timeframe to 6-9 months. All other parameters are set due to recipients simply not receiving the emails.

The internal university audience will remain in the system so we have a record of communication attempts.

Should an account need a contact limit beyond 10,000 contacts (not including the internal university audience), UMC will review the account and accommodate, if needed.

Questions regarding these parameters and account use can be directed to Heidi Bushong.

Information regarding faculty, staff and student email lists

University Marketing and Communications (UMC) maintains a list of SDSU faculty/staff and a list of current SDSU students. These lists are exclusive to UMC, all academic colleges, the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Office of Student Affairs, Human Resources, Information Technology, Office of Emergency Management and General Counsel. Other HubSpot communicators can request to send to these lists on a case-by-case basis. If an item needs to be communicated to campus, HubSpot communicators are encouraged to work with their college and administrative unit. HubSpot communicators can submit their own faculty, staff and student lists to be uploaded as well.