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Create Winning Email Design: Why, What, and How

Email marketing comes with a lot of potential including a high return on investment. However, this accompanies cut-throat competition. With almost more than 70% of businesses utilizing email marketing to engage with their audience, making the emails pop out in front of the target audience is more crucial than ever.

While the email subject line does its job in the first place to get the email opened, a well-designed email will keep the reader’s attention hooked. If they like what they see, they are more likely to read the email all the way through till the end. The email design also provides an opportunity to showcase the brand’s personality and value. An effective email design is one that looks good, conveys the message in an engaging, impactful way, and most importantly, guides the email reader to take the intended action.

Email Design: The Basic

The process of carefully designing, creating, and fine-tuning an email design that echoes your company’s target market, particularly the present email subscribers and clients, is known as email design.

Why does Email Design matter?

People today are dealing with enormous amounts of data and information. No one can really assume that any email recipient reads everything in the email, no matter how engaged they are with the business brand that sends the email. People don’t have the time to read, they just scan the emails. However, even in this scenario, businesses need to convey their message or promote their service using compelling email campaigns.

Considering that most individuals have short attention spans, one small amount of text in the emails is insufficient to strike a conversation. Email design saves the day in this situation.

  • Turn standard email scanning into smart scanning with the help of email design.
  • There are a lot of ways to experiment with different typography, colors, and visuals.
  • Try out different reading flows in the email designs and build a path to feed the audience with information that is critical to the email campaign’s success.

What a High-Yielding Email Design can do?

  • Advocates and reinforces the brand image
  • Leaves a long-standing impression
  • convert leads into loyal customers with integrated marketing tactics
  • Helps in information and message comprehension
  • Boosts positive word of mouth promotion

Types of Email Designs

Each email marketing campaign needs a different kind of email design.

For example, a personal email letter from a company’s top management executive requires a plain text email design. Similarly, these plain text emails are best for a brand that wants to have undisturbed one-on-one communication with its subscribers. Whereas, a promotional email campaign to advertise best-selling products cannot cut it without a rich HTML email design.

#Plain Text Emails
These emails include content in its most basic form, with no images or formatting. They’re fantastic for simulating a direct dialogue with subscribers and work equally effectively on all email providers and devices. This type of email seems personal, is incredibly accessible, responsive, and simple to create.

With plain text emails, however, there is very little room to play. All that’s available is text and basic formatting, which makes it difficult to persuade clients to do the desired action.

#Rich HTML Email Design
The rich HTML email design resembles a little landing page. It includes a one-of-a-kind layout, graphics, color, typography, and other elements. These HTML and CSS-based email designs are attractive and easily grab the reader’s attention.

However, the HTML email designs may not render properly on every device, screen size, or email service provider. The remedy is to use fully responsive and mobile-friendly email design solutions that are compatible across different channels.

Designing rich HTML emails previously required expertise in HTML and CSS. But that is not the case now. Pre-built email templates and drag and drop email builder tools make it possible to easily create customized email designs filled with graphics, fun typography fonts, and click-worthy call-to-action buttons.

Key Features of Email Design

1. Content

  • Focus on the core message or information.
  • Be as concise, crisp, and straightforward as possible.
  • Maintain a flow and hierarchy in the content.
  • Break the content into chunks to avoid overcrowding and link them out properly.

Design-wise, the email content should have a consistent alignment. Separate the different blocks of content with color blocking to facilitate easy reading. Centrally align the headings, but keep the content left-aligned as it is more legible and accessible.

Fortify the email content with visual graphics (videos and certain animations may, however, not work on certain email providers). This further makes the content more receptive and turns the reading experience into a better one.

2. Be on-Brand
Put your logo or brand name at the header of the email design to make sure the recipient knows who the email is coming from. Check that everything about the logo or business name – its placement, and size – is coherent with the email design.

3. Color
Choose the colors for the email campaigns strategically. The overall color palette should be centered on a certain theme. For instance, it can be brand-centric, emotion-centric, or holiday-centric. Use color psychology to your advantage – leverage the color palette in the email design to evoke any kind of emotion in the reader.

The emails’ colors should keep the overall design simple, so the reader isn’t sidetracked from the core message. Choose a color palette that compliments your company’s brand or services. Use different background colors to visually differentiate the header and footer from the body content.

4. Visual Content
Any form of visual content in the emails must be responsive, recognizable, and easily accessible. Incorporate your statement brand assets in the emails in the form of pictures, videos, GIFs, or any other form of animation. Try paring down the color in the surrounding design to make the graphics the focal point.

Above all, ensure the graphic contents are properly sized to avoid squeezing or stretching. Only add important and relevant graphics to keep the file size down. Also, avoid including large image files, as they may not load on certain email providers and devices. Maintain a healthy balance between the textual and visual content.

5. Typography
Keep a watch on typography because it has a big impact on email design’s visual appeal, user experience, and readability. Font families have underlying meanings and can convey a variety of emotions. Serif fonts, for example, appear more sophisticated and polished, whereas Sans Serif fonts appear more casual and natural.

  • Use the appropriate amount of space between characters to ensure that each character appears legible and comprehensible at first glimpse.
  • Use the appropriate size of font and amount of space between lines.
  • The standard practice is to use a 14-16px font for body material and a 20-30px font for headings.

6. Layout
Organize the email design and its elements for quick reading. Provide a lot of white space in your email design to give the content some room and make it more understandable. To ensure harmony, the alignment of the email content, whether textual or graphical, must be maintained throughout the email. If your email has multiple types of information, use divisions or borders to properly separate parts.

7. Call-to-action Buttons
CTAs must be the hero of any email design process – though-evoking, to-the-point. Having the CTAs thoroughly optimized in terms of both design and the copy can significantly increase the conversion rates.

  • The size of the CTA buttons should be according to their priority.
  • Use a separate color or design for the CTA.
  • Surround the CTAs with white space and place them prominently in the emails.

Bonus Tip: Combine email list segmentation and personalization with the email design to deliver better value to the target audience. Email personalization also contributes to the overall humanization of the email design. This personal touch helps to foster and strengthen the customer-brand bond and boost retention rates.


  • Lead the email design game with your branding.
  • Show what value the email recipients receive via the email design.
  • Embrace the seasonal content in the email design.
  • Adopt the same concept of email design throughout – whether bold, loud, minimal, or casual.
  • Include dynamic email design elements to make the email campaign more appealing and relevant.
  • A/B tests email to figure out which design works best for which email list segment.
  • Maintain the email width of 600px to ensure that emails render properly. · Mobile-optimise every email design element.


  • Avoid click-bait and spam-like words or design features.
  • Do not use HTML bullet points in the email design.
  • It is best to avoid body attributes.
  • Do not create a long email.
  • Avoid using a single image for the emails.
  • Never use a dark, patterned, or picture background in the email.
  • Don’t opt for a busy email design layout – make it easy to digest.

Wrapping it up!

Readability, deliverability, and most importantly, providing value to the recipients should always be the foremost priorities when it comes to email design. Overloaded email newsletters containing graphics or large photos are almost always a one-way trip to the recipient’s trash mail bin. A successful email design is one that takes minimum time to load and allows the email reader to swiftly scan all the important information.