Email designs

Good email design will achieve more than a recipient’s attention, but a possible website visit and even purchase if done right. Using the right words and phrases is critical in marketing, but how that message is communicated is equally important and can affect the participation of your subscribers. According to Statista, it was reported that there were 3.9 billion email users in 2019 and the number is expected to reach 4.3 billion by 2023. The statistics for the number of emails sent per day reaches an upwards of 300 billion! Surprisingly, email marketing continues to be a strong asset to emerging and existing businesses and it takes a bit more effort to make an email stand out these days.

man typing on keyboard

What is email design?

Just as user experience is essential to designing a website or app, it is also useful to practice when designing a great email. Deliverability and readability should be prioritized to make the most out of email marketing. When design is good, the viewer intuitively understands how to process and interact with the content being presented to them. Images, text, typography and colours are all attributes that need to be considered when putting together an email for your subscribers. If it is well-balanced and organized, the information can be processed seamlessly to the reader which means more traffic to your website.

Not all email designs are the same

Depending on the kind of information you want and need to share with your email list, the design will change. For example, a welcome email and order confirmation email are two different things. The content changes the context, which means you as the designer will have to find an appropriate way to convey whatever message you are trying to communicate with the reader. Think about what reaction you want to prompt when people view your email and this will allow you to have fun with the elements you incorporate! These designs should always stay consistent with your business’ branding so always assure that you’re not straying away from your brand’s aesthetics.

One of the first steps to take during the design process is to establish the topic, theme and goal of the email. This is what email marketing is all about: conveying a message that you hope your subscribers will understand and engage in.. Mundane and repetitive email designs are most likely not going to get many responses. A streamlined process of putting together colours, text and imagery that lets your brand’s personality shine through is much more successful in drawing in your viewers.

magazine design
order confirmation email
These two emails are from the same brand but notice that the content is extremely different from the other. Therefore, the layouts are going to vary while keeping with the branding guideline (similar colours, typography etc). A promotional email about a new sale should include photos that were taken for your brand that will grab your customers’ attention. An order confirmation email should be straightforward and include information that is useful to your customer, like an overview of their order, order number and shipping address.

Here’s what you should always include in email design

Your emails should be recognizable to your subscribers and there are a few ways to achieve this.

Brand logo

Your brand’s logo is something you’re proud of, so make sure you add this element to your email. Its position can vary from the top or bottom of the textbox but still readable and recognizable.

A strong colour palette

In addition to the logo, your brand’s colour palette should be incorporated to support it. However, don’t go overboard with colours. If you are going to use colour, it’s wise to keep the body text black so it grounds the reader and they’re not hit with visual sensory overload. Like colour, keep the text concise to facilitate the reader’s read time.

Short and sweet text

Try summarizing your message in 2-3 sentences, or if possible, a few words. The subject line is the perfect place to come up with attention-grabbing headlines because this is your subscribers’ first introduction to the email you’ve carefully designed.

Hidden clickable links

Consider the photos or icons in your emails as doors to your business’ website. Allow for readers to be able to either click or tap on areas on the email that will lead them to a landing page or specific area of your site. This is convenient for both you and the user! That being said, you can also link your brand’s social media account to the email by having these links associated with the application icons.
newsletter guidelines
email design guidelines

Here is an example of a branding guideline for the email design example. Within these parameters, there are many different ways to make an eye catching email. You can also be creative with the kinds of imagery you include such as the dog walkers at the bottom of the email. Because the rest of the email is fairly simple, the colours provided on the figures complement the rest of the email.


Email marketing is used more than ever these days. If you want your brand’s emails to stand out amongst the others, make it different. Keep the user’s experience in mind when designing so it’s easy to use for anyone. If you include any animations or videos, send a test-run so you can be sure that the clips are responsive and don’t lag. Refer back to this post for reassurance of whether or not your business is on the right track to creating an eye-catching email!

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