Email Design: Types, Essential Elements, Best Practices & Trends

From responsive design to personalization, know more about creating visually appealing and effective email campaigns. Start designing better emails!

Email Design: Types, Essential Elements, Best Practices & Trends

Table of Contents

Do not index
Do not index
Discover the secrets behind email design in our latest blog! Email design can make or break your marketing campaign. Unsure where to start? Whether you want to enhance click-through rates, or to boost your brand value, our blog has everything you need. Dive in for advice on email design.

Why Does The Design Of Your Email Matter?

Email Design
Email Design

Well-defined Branding

A well-structured and consistent email design is crucial for establishing brand identity. By using consistent fonts, colors, and graphics, you can create an email template that resonates with your brand. Subscribers will quickly recognize your messages, increasing brand visibility and enabling you to reinforce brand values.

Positive First Impression

When subscribers open your email campaign, the first thing they notice is your email design. A visually appealing email entices subscribers to engage with your content, while a poorly designed email might result in them ignoring it or marking it as spam.

Device Compatibility

Email design is even more critical in the mobile-first era. A design that is optimized for mobile devices ensures that your subscribers can access your email campaigns regardless of the device they are using. This enables you to reach a wider audience and ensures that all subscribers have a positive experience.

Higher Engagement

Emails with compelling visuals and well-crafted design elements can improve engagement significantly. Interactive design and clear call-to-action buttons help boost click-through rates and encourage subscribers to interact with your content.

Enhanced User Experience

A well-structured email design allows you to improve the overall experience with your email campaigns. Simplified layouts, clear headings, and a logical flow of information make it easier for subscribers to digest your content quickly.

Compliance and Deliverability

By creating emails based on the latest requirements and standards, you ensure that your messages are delivered securely to your recipients. Compliance with email regulations helps you avoid spam filters and increases the chances of your emails reaching the inbox.

Higher Conversion Rates

Persuasive copy and well-placed call-to-action buttons are essential elements of email design. They help you guide subscribers toward the desired action, whether it's making a purchase, signing up for a webinar, or downloading a resource. A well-designed email can significantly increase conversion rates.

What Are The 3 Types Of Email Designs?

Email Design
Email Design

1. Plain Text Email Design

Plain text emails are simple text-based emails that are commonly used in personal correspondence. These emails lack any intricate design elements but offer a personal touch. Plain text emails are a great way to deliver a concise message. The advantage of using a plain text email is the personal feel it offers. The recipient may feel as though they are receiving a message from a friend rather than a marketer.

Advantages and Limitations of Plain Text Emails

These emails are also responsive and mobile-friendly. They are easy to read, as the focus is on the message rather than design elements. The recipient can quickly scan the email and obtain the necessary information. The disadvantage of plain text emails is that they lack an attractive design. They do not have the wow factor that comes with rich HTML emails.

Plain Text Emails for Marketing

These emails are simple and plain, which may not capture the recipient's attention. It is also challenging to include marketing materials in plain text emails. These emails are great for simple messages but may not be suited for marketing campaigns that require compelling visuals.


Hi there,
I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to share some exciting news with you. We are launching a brand new product that I believe will be perfect for your needs. If you are interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to reach out.
All the best,
[Your Name]

2. Rich HTML Email Design

Rich HTML email designs look like a mini landing page. These emails are visually appealing and impactful. They are structured and may include various elements such as images, animations, and gifs. Rich HTML emails are created using HTML and CSS.

Advantages of Rich HTML Emails

The advantage of using rich HTML emails is their attractiveness and appeal. These emails are visually stunning and can capture the recipient's attention. They offer flexibility and customization, allowing marketers to create unique campaigns. Rich HTML emails can include a variety of information, making them suitable for different purposes.

Challenges and Solutions for Rich HTML Emails

These emails may display inconsistently across different email readers and browsers. The design may be distorted, depending on the screen size. To overcome this challenge, marketers can use responsive and mobile-friendly solutions. Rich HTML emails require coding skills, which may be a disadvantage for those without technical expertise. Tools like Mailsplash can help simplify the process of creating rich HTML emails.

3. Interactive Email Design

Interactive emails are a new trend in email marketing. These emails utilize JavaScript-based interactive elements to create engaging content. Interactive emails have a wow factor that can captivate recipients.

Benefits of Interactive Email Engagement

The advantage of using interactive emails is the high engagement they can generate. These emails are interactive and innovative, making them stand out from traditional email campaigns.

Challenges and Workarounds for Interactive Email Support

The downside of interactive emails is that many email readers do not support JavaScript. This limitation means that only a small number of users can enjoy the interactive features. To work around this issue, marketers can use CSS-powered dynamic effects and gifs to create the illusion of interactivity.

Empowering Email Campaign Creation with Mailsplash

Mailsplash is an AI-powered tool to create stunning email templates that convert. Design and create stunning/converting emails (campaigns, flows, all of it) in minutes. Send with any email service provider (Mailchimp, Klaviyo, etc.). We enable freelancers, brands, and agencies to rapidly create personalized, converting email campaigns at a lower cost than traditional marketing agencies, from email copywriting, to personalized branded email template design.
Try our All-in-one Email Solution today for free.

13 Essential Email Design Elements Of Effective Marketing Emails

Email Design
Email Design

1. Compelling Copy

Write engaging and relevant copy that communicates your message clearly and persuasively, using concise language and persuasive messaging to encourage action. The basic rules of email copy are
  • Avoid big blocks of information. Break them down into small chunks.
  • Use headings for clarity of information.
  • Use center alignment for headings and keep it consistent. Left-to-right alignment is more legible.
  • Do not overdecorate your text especially if it is a block.
  • Add visuals to support your text. Use images, emojis, and icons to make the reading experience pleasant. You can also use videos.

2. Structure

The best way to structure your email design is to add logical visual separation. With AMP being popular, people like to see visually attractive mini landing pages in their inboxes. Therefore, the header, central body, and footer should be well-organized.
  • One-column layout makes it easy to read, keeps your design clutter-free, and adapts to different screen sizes without much effort. So try sticking to that.
  • Card layout helps in making your email visually appealing.
  • Stick to 600px width with gaps on the sides to be safe in terms of content optimization.

3. Headings

It is always better to not use decorative features for captions that have descriptions to follow. Use headings. They should be simple, concise, and to the point.

4. Scanning margins

Usually, users have an “F” pattern to scan the email. Therefore, here are a few tips to optimize your email for scanning.
  • Add the most important information in the first line as people pay the most attention here.
  • Add bullet points and short sentences for vertical scanning.
  • Start new paragraphs, sub-heads with important keywords as readers will skim through the rest.

5. Call-to-Action (CTA)

Include a clear and prominent CTA button or link that prompts recipients to take the desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up, or clicking through to a landing page.
Whenever you are designing an email, make sure that your CTA stands out and tells the user exactly what to do. That’s because your CTA acts like a magnet and opens the doors to the landing page.
A CTA should be bold, properly colored in contrast to the background, and should have a compelling copy. It is the best practice to personalize your CTA and tailor it according to the segmentation of the audience for better results.

6. Visuals

If you are only adding paragraph after paragraph of information, it’s going to be very difficult to hold the attention of your audience. They will either get bored or just scan the email and close it. Rather incorporate on-brand and engaging images, videos, GIFs, animations, etc., to compliment the written content and create a memorable experience.
Also, add emojis. Emojis may seem unnecessary or unprofessional to add to an email. But according to research, you can increase your open rates and click-through rates by adding emojis. Just remember to make sure you know the meaning and connotation of the specific one(s) you incorporate.

7. Color

If you have ever read about color psychology, every color represents an emotion. You can easily take advantage of color psychology in email design and use it according to the gender, age, situation, brand identity, value, and tone you are targeting and desire.
Besides, your campaign also defines the color palette you should use. For example, Black Friday, Halloween, or Christmas email campaigns need to be designed according to the occasion color palette.

8. Typography

With emails, you have to be very selective with fonts. The first reason has to do with your branding: Use fonts that complement your brand’s tone. Second, and most importantly, the font you’ve chosen might not look the same across different email clients. The reason you should be careful about typography in email design is that it influences aesthetics, readability, and user experience.

9. Subject Line & Preheader Text

The subject line is the first thing recipients see, so it should be compelling, concise, and relevant to encourage recipients to open the email. Preheader text appears after the subject line in the inbox preview, providing additional context or enticing information to encourage opens

10. Personalization: Use dynamic content and personalization tokens to customize the email

content based on recipient data, such as their name, location, or past interactions, to increase relevance and engagement.
Include social sharing buttons or forward links to encourage recipients to share the email with their networks, extending your reach and amplifying your message.
A footer is another essential element of email design that provides subscribers with your company contact details, unsubscribe links, and links to your social media. This element is a must for ensuring trustworthiness and compliance with regulations.

13. White space

White space helps you divide your text into sections and improve readability. It helps subscribers instantly find the necessary information, establish a balance between text and visual elements, and avoid clutter.

9 Best Practices For Email Design

Email Design
Email Design

1. Subject Line

Your subject line is the first thing anyone sees in their inbox. It is that brief moment that will either grab the attention of the recipient or make them ignore it. Your subject line should be designed in a way that makes the recipient open it out - either out of curiosity, value, or interest. The following email from Mailmunch has a subject line that piques the reader’s curiosity and makes them want to click on it to read more.

A great subject line will have the following characteristics

  • Grab the attention of your email recipients in as few words as possible (idea word count is 6 to 8 words)
  • Provide value for the recipient or pique their curiosity. Anything that makes them want to open the email.
  • Give a summary of what the recipients are going to read and/ or see once they open the email

2. Captivating Pre-header

The next important thing in your email is the pre-header. The pre-header is a preview of what the email is all about, and it should be designed accordingly. Customize the pre-header to provide an engaging summary of what the recipients are about to read in your message. Keep the pre-header short and concise. Make sure the vital part of the pre-header is written first so it can be visible to the recipient, no matter the device they are using.

3. On-brand Design

Any communication from your business should have a consistent voice, look and feel. Your audience should know they are looking at your emails as soon as they open the email. So how do you make sure your email is on-brand? There are a few things to keep in mind.
  • Use the same tone all across your marketing collateral and emails. Use the same brand voice across emails, social media, website, and other communications.
  • Use the same colors and fonts that you use in other marketing materials.
  • Add your logo, a link to your website, your social media accounts’ links. This is a great way to increase brand awareness while also increasing customer engagement.
  • Add uniform CTAs that are according to your brand voice and color.

4. Layout

It is important to have white space in your email layout. Uncluttered and unorganized emails decrease readability and make the recipient feel overwhelmed. Organize your email with user experience (UX) in mind. Strategically place your written and visual content and leave space to give some room to the email. Make sure your email is easy to consume and navigate.

5. Dynamic Content

Enhance your marketing strategy by incorporating captivating content that fosters meaningful interaction. Tailor this content to resonate with your prospects' preferences, interests, and search history. Delivering pertinent information captures subscribers' interest and enables them to discover products that address their specific needs and challenges.

6. Strategic CTAs

Call-to-action (CTA) is used to give direction to your audience on what steps to take after reading your blog or email. You can use a CTA to get your audience to follow you on social media, visit your website, sign up for a newsletter, book a demo call or become a paying customer.
When placing your CTA, you need to be strategic about the location. It should be visible, enticing, and show value to the reader. Use bold text, bright colors, and large buttons. Your CTA should be well-placed and should stand out. Make sure not to bury it in some corner of your email. Make it interactive, so customers find it compelling to click on it.

7. Unsubscribe Button

Always provide the option of opting out to your audience. Your readers may change their minds about your content over time - especially if your business grows and evolves. So it can be possible if your content stops being relevant to specific audience members. Allow your audience to unsubscribe from your emails quickly and without any hassle. Add an easily visible “unsubscribe” button that is easily accessible.

8. Mobile-first Design

As an increasing number of individuals find it convenient to access their inboxes from mobile devices, ensuring the mobile responsiveness of your emails is imperative. Guarantee that your email design remains visually appealing on any screen, be it desktop, smartphone, or tablet. Prioritizing mobile optimization enhances user experience and empowers subscribers to complete desired actions whenever and wherever they are seamless.

9. A/B Testing

Email design is an iterative process. It depends on your audience response and analytics to determine what works and what doesn’t. You might need to make changes and updates to the design and layout to get the most out of your email design.
A/B test elements of your email design like CTA, colors, images, layout, tone, white space, etc. Don’t be afraid to test out as many elements as you can. Make sure the design you select works best in terms of reach and engagement. Your final email design should convert the greatest number of recipients.

5 Best Email Design Tools To Up Your Email Design Game

Email Design
Email Design

1. Mailsplash: All-in-one Email Solution

Mailsplash is an AI-powered tool for creating visually appealing email templates that drive conversions. It allows for the design and creation of stunning emails, be it for campaigns, flows, or any other purpose, in just a matter of minutes. Mailsplash makes it simple to send emails through any email service provider, such as Mailchimp or Klaviyo.
We cater to freelancers, brands, and agencies, helping them swiftly produce personalized, converting email campaigns at more affordable rates compared to traditional marketing agencies. From email copywriting to personalized branded email template design, Mailsplash has you covered.
Why not give our All-in-one Email Solution a try for free today?

2. Stripo: Streamline Your Email Design Process

Stripo is a user-friendly email template builder that ensures efficient email design by employing a drag-and-drop HTML email editor, pre-built modules, and content blocks. Notably, it offers a plethora of features, like support for multimedia elements, collaborative features for sharing, as well as exporting options compatible with various ESPs, CRMs, and email clients.

3. Unlayer: Design Beautiful Emails Without Breaking a Sweat

Unlayer, starting from just $0 per month, is a premium email design tool that empowers users to create visually pleasing emails without the need for coding or design skills. The drag-and-drop editor included in Unlayer makes building emails an effortless task. Customize your emails to perfection by changing text colors, incorporating countdown timers, embedding videos, and more.

4. Litmus Builder: Create Custom and Responsive Email Templates

Litmus Builder stands out as an advanced email design and testing tool that allows users to craft responsive and interactive email templates. The inclusion of a code editor and pre-designed components enables users to either create custom email templates from scratch or modify existing ones to fit their requirements.

5. Chamaileon: Collaborative Email Design at Your Fingertips

Chamaileon is a collaborative email builder that facilitates teamwork by allowing various team members to collaborate on email designs. This tool ensures that your email designs remain responsive to different devices. With customizable templates that are easily edited to cater to specific recipients, Chamaileon is an excellent option for teams looking to streamline their email design process.

Complete Step-by-Step Guide On How To Use Mailsplash’s All-in-one AI Email Solution To Design Stunning Emails

Getting Started: Uploading Brands and Products

Before you can generate an email, you’ll need to upload a brand and product.
notion image
Navigate to the “Brands” tab and select “Add a Brand”. Once you’ve defined the brand’s name, logo(s), font(s), and color(s), you can upload your product(s).
You can do so by simply pasting in the product link, which will auto-populate the product description, name, and images, as seen below. Now you’re ready to design and write stunning emails with Mailsplash.

Design & Write Emails with Mailsplash: A Guide

Generate with AI

notion image
Not sure where to start? From your dashboard, click “Generate with AI” to get to ideating. Simply select the brand(s) and product(s) you’ve uploaded and describe the email you’re looking for (e.g. an email campaign promoting new pants on sale for 25% off). You can even define the design style you’re looking for!
notion image
If you’re feeling like a pro, click “Advanced Setup” to get more detailed access to other parameters such as your target audience, the type of email, and so on. Once you’re happy, click generate and watch the magic happen! In 30 seconds or less, you’ll have a email custom-tailored to your input.

Start from Template

notion image
Already know what kind of email you’re looking to create? You can then click “Start from Template” and browse through our gallery of templates, curated for the most common use cases. We currently support 21 templates for 7 different categories, but will be continuing to update this based on your feedback! Once you select an email type, you’ll be prompted to select a brand and product and be taken straight to the builder.

Sending Emails: Integrate with Any ESP

notion image
When exporting your email generation, you’ll be able to integrate with Klaviyo by inputting your API key. It’s as simple as that. We’re working on adding support for other major ESPs!
Now you should be well-equipped to save time and money on your email marketing.
Still confused? Have feedback? Let us know by sending us an email.
Email Design
Email Design
Dynamic content in emails means modifying parts of your emails to cater to different audience segments. This strategy involves creating personalized emails that are tailored to specific groups of customers. For example, changing the content of your email to display products related to menswear for male recipients, and womenswear for female recipients. This personalization not only makes your emails more engaging but also increases the likelihood of conversion rates.

Tangibility in Email Design

In 2020, the use of 3D imagery was popular, but in 2024, brands are looking for more creative ways to showcase their products in emails. By using tangible imagery, companies can provide customers with a better understanding of the products they are interested in without having to visit a physical store. This approach allows customers to visualize their potential purchase in a more tangible way, increasing their likelihood of making a purchase.

Fusion of Different Design Elements

Combining a mix of classic and futuristic design elements, fusion design aims to evoke nostalgia while also looking towards the future. This approach merges simple and clean designs with bold and vibrant colors to create a unique and eye-catching design that instills positivity in the audience. By blending old and new design elements, companies can create visually appealing and engaging emails that stand out in the inbox.

Simplistic Approach to Email Design

Minimalism is a key trend in email design nowadays. By adopting a minimalist approach, companies can create emails that are clean, clear, and visually appealing. Minimalist designs feature simple compositions, ample white space, and a cohesive color palette that aligns with the brand identity. These designs help to bring a sense of calm and clarity to the cluttered inbox, making it easier for customers to focus on the content of the email.

Artistic Aesthetics Using Shapes

Using organic and geometric shapes in email design can help create visually appealing and engaging emails. By incorporating shapes into the design, companies can create clean and modern email layouts that reduce cognitive workload for recipients.
Abstract shapes add an artistic touch to the design, making it visually interesting without overwhelming the audience. This approach is effective for creating aesthetically pleasing email designs that grab the recipient's attention and encourage them to engage with the content.

Design Stunning Emails That Convert With Mailsplash

Mailsplash is a game-changing tool that allows email marketers to craft beautiful, converting email templates in just a matter of minutes. With its AI-powered technology, Mailsplash provides an all-in-one email solution that enables freelancers, brands, and agencies to create personalized, converting email campaigns without the hefty price tag of traditional marketing agencies.
Whether you need to design email campaigns, flows, or any other form of email communication, Mailsplash has got you covered. You can seamlessly link Mailsplash with your email service provider like Mailchimp or Klaviyo and hit send. The platform truly streamlines the email design process from start to finish, encompassing everything from email copywriting to personalized branded email template designs.
Try Mailsplash for free today and watch your email campaigns soar to new heights.
  • Email Design System
  • Stripo Alternative
  • Design Modo
  • Taxi For Email
  • Figma For Email Design
  • Transactional Email Design

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Saif Akram

Written by

Saif Akram

Hello, I'm Saif Akram, founder of MonetizeMail, an innovative email marketing agency. We're proud partners with Klaviyo and, specializing in boosting MRR and reducing customer churn. Our agency has scaled over 50 brands, generating over $18M in revenue. With proven expertise in enhancing engagement and driving sales, I'm passionate about transforming businesses through effective email marketing strategies.

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