21 Effective Email Design Best Practices For Your Email Campaigns

Looking to improve your email design skills? Check out this email design best practices to create engaging and effective email campaigns.

21 Effective Email Design Best Practices For Your Email Campaigns

Table of Contents

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Do not index
When crafting your next email campaign, the success of your message lies in the details. By adopting email design best practices, you can ensure higher open and click-through rates, and boost your digital marketing results. With the right design elements, you can elevate your email marketing strategies and maximize your efforts to engage your audience and grow your business. So, why is this important? By following best practices in email design, you can create emails that not only look great but also get results. This blog post will explore the best practices for email design to help you get your email campaigns just right.

What Is Email Design And Why Does It Matter?

Email Design Best Practices
Email Design Best Practices
When it comes to email design, I always start by asking myself, "How can I create a visually appealing email that effectively communicates the intended message to my target audience?" It takes a lot of time and effort to build an engaging email that captures the recipient's interest.
To achieve this, I focus on various elements such as layout, fonts, colors, images, and interactive features. Each part of the email needs to coordinate smoothly to create an engaging and eye-catching experience. This process keeps the subscriber engaged and usually increases email engagement, sales, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Why Email Design is Important

The importance of email design lies in its ability to influence the subscriber's experience, which in turn affects email engagement, sales, satisfaction, and loyalty. A well-designed email should be attention-grabbing, aesthetically pleasing, and on-brand, among other things. To ensure your emails stand out and grab the attention of these audience members, your email design needs to be on point.

Email Design in Marketing Strategy

Email design is critical to the success of email marketing, which is a significant part of any marketing strategy. Email design is vital because it can significantly impact your email performance. The better your email design, the better your email engagement, the higher your sales, and the higher your retention and loyalty. Email design is an essential part of your email marketing success.

Elements of Effective Email Design

Email design encompasses everything that your subscribers can see in their inbox: layout, fonts, colors, images, and interactive features. Email design is the process of creating visually appealing and functional emails that effectively communicate your message to your target audience.

Impact of Email Design on Performance

Email design is crucial because it can significantly impact your email performance. The better your email design, the better your email engagement, the higher your sales, and the higher your retention and loyalty. Email design is an essential part of your email marketing success. Email design encompasses everything that your subscribers can see in their inbox: layout, fonts, colors, images, and interactive features.

How Exactly Do You Benefit From A Well-Designed Email?

Email Design Best Practices
Email Design Best Practices
Email design plays a crucial role in establishing brand identity. A well-structured and consistent email design contributes significantly to this process. The use of logos, colors, and fonts associated with your company enables customers to recognize and remember your brand. This helps in building trust and brand recognition. Consistency in design elements across different emails helps in brand recall, which is essential for maintaining the loyalty of your customers.

Creating a Positive First Impression with Aesthetically Pleasing Designs

When subscribers open your email campaign, the visually appealing design containing all the necessary elements establishes a positive first impression. This grabs recipients' attention and encourages them to interact with your company. A positive first impression can lead to increased trust and credibility. By creating an engaging email design, you can encourage subscribers to open future emails, thereby increasing the chances of conversion.

Enhancing User Experience with Well-Structured Email Design

A well-structured email design allows you to improve the overall experience with your email. Subscribers can easily read your emails, navigate through them, quickly find the necessary information, and understand your main message. This positive user experience contributes to higher engagement and customer satisfaction. By enhancing the user experience, you can improve the chances of conversion and retention.

Improving Engagement Through Attention-Grabbing Emails

Compelling visuals and well-crafted design elements in your emails can improve engagement. Interactive design and clear call-to-action buttons help boost click-through rates and improve interactions with your content. By creating visually appealing emails, you can make your content more shareable, which can lead to higher engagement rates. This higher engagement can result in better brand awareness and increased customer loyalty.

Ensuring Compliance and Deliverability of Emails

Emails created based on the latest requirements and standards ensure they will be securely delivered to inboxes without being marked as spam. Clear message delivery is crucial for effective communication with your audience. By following best practices in email design, you can ensure that your emails reach the intended recipients and are not filtered out as spam. This can result in a higher open rate and better conversion rates.

Enhancing Conversion Rates with Persuasive Design Elements

Persuasive copy and well-placed call-to-action buttons in a visually appealing email design help improve conversions. A visually appealing email design empowers you to establish a connection with the audience and influence your subscribers' actions. By creating emails with compelling visuals and clear calls to action, you can guide your subscribers to take the desired action. This can lead to increased conversion rates and improved ROI for your email marketing campaigns.

Enhance Your Email Design with Mailsplash - All-in-one Email Solution

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 lower cost than traditional marketing agencies, from email copywriting, to personalized branded email template design.

What Are The Key Elements Of Email Design?

Email Design Best Practices
Email Design Best Practices
The header is the first visual element of your message that often contains a logo. This is where you can establish trust and credibility with your audience. Use high-quality images and colors as well as a stylish typeface to grab the reader's attention. The header should be clean, simple, and easy to read for your audience. For instance, you could use a header to introduce an email, showcasing your logo, and helping to establish a consistent visual identity in your communications.


The body content is the font and layout choices you make in your email. Body content should be easy to read. Keep the font size at 14pt or bigger and use a readable font like Arial, Verdana, or Georgia. Use bullet points and subheadings to break up dense blocks of text. For example, you could use body content to provide a reader with the information they need, in a way that is easy to read. Keep the tone of friendly and conversational while maintaining a professional edge.


The Call-to-Action (CTA) is an essential element of email design because it directs your reader’s attention to what you want them to do next. You should make your CTAs clickable buttons that are at least 44x44 pixels in size, are in a bold color and preferably at the top of your email, above the fold, to increase conversions. For instance, you could use a CTA to encourage readers to download a new report or watch a video.

Images and Visuals

Images and visuals are important because they break up your email visually to keep the reader engaged. Use images that are relevant to your text. Use white space (padding) to give your images room enough to breathe. Don't forget to include alt text so your subscribers know what the image is if it doesn't load. Use alt text to make the email more accessible for visually impaired subscribers.


Interactivity is a design element that enhances your email in a way that boosts engagement. These elements could be an in-email poll, content accordions, or a menu button that slides out. You could use interactivity to engage your subscribers in your email, and give them a more personalized experience.


Mobile-friendliness is critical because many people read emails on their smartphones. Make sure your emails are easy to read and interact with on a mobile device. People should be able to read your emails without pinching the screen to zoom in. Use a single-column layout that scales down to smaller screens gracefully. Include big buttons that are easy to click with a thumb.

21 Effective Email Design Best Practices For Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Email Design Best Practices
Email Design Best Practices

1. Sender Name

Often ignored, the sender’s name is a critical element of any email design. In fact, 68% of Americans ( https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/personalized-email/ ) decide whether or not to open an email simply by reading who sent it.
Why is it so important? Well, the sender’s name adds credibility to the email and makes the reader curious enough to open it. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to picking the right sender name. Make sure to keep it personal, relevant, and short. One rookie mistake when sending emails is to send by your staff’s name solely. When readers don’t remember a name, they are likely to move the email to the spam folder. One can include their staff’s name only when combined with the company’s name for instant recall. For example, Mike@Mailsplah.

2. Optimize the subject line and pre-header

A solid subject line can draw in otherwise unenthusiastic email recipients. If you typically focus on developing a snappy phrase, beware. The intro message’s display is arguably just as important as the content it contains.

Crafting Effective Subject Lines

The best subject lines are clear, concise, and easy on the eyes. Aim for seven to nine words. This should be enough to convey the essence of the email without overwhelming the reader. Character count is just as important; strive for fewer than 50 characters.
As you experiment with subject line length and style, don’t forget about the often neglected pre-header. This summary text immediately follows the sender's name and subject line when customers browse their inboxes.

Maximizing Impact with Pre-headers

The pre-header should support the content from your subject line and reinforce the call to action offered within the email.  As with the subject line, it should be short and sweet. Think of the subject line and pre-header as a powerful pair. These must appear cohesive and flow naturally to prevent earlier text from feeling awkward.

3. Seek opportunities for personalization

Build a stronger connection through the power of personalization. This should be present in every aspect of your emails, beginning with the sender’s name, which may include the name of a particular employee. Personalization extends to the subject line, where the recipient’s name can be incorporated. Use purchase history or other data-driven clues to find ideas. The goal is to make the email personally meaningful to the reader.
Within each email, segmentation helps you reach specific types of customers. Segmented lists may be developed according to user demographics or other details. Everything from the colors to the images and even typefaces can be adjusted to reflect what drives or inspires your target audience.

4. Build visual hierarchy into email layouts

Visual hierarchy is a central tenet of email design best practices. Under this approach, the most important information will be displayed first. The reasoning behind this is simple: Readers’ attention spans are low even for the most impressively designed emails. As such, you need to convey essential details as quickly as possible. If readers fail to get past the first few sentences, a strong visual hierarchy will help them benefit from the message’s main takeaways.
Several layouts can improve focus and comprehension. Top options include:

Z pattern

Reflecting the natural route taken by the human eye when reading, the Z pattern is best reserved for emails with minimal text. A typical Z-pattern email will incorporate a zig-zag of content. This begins with text near the left upper corner. It then moves right, down in a diagonal, and again, to the right.

F pattern

Another option that draws on insights from eye-tracking technology, the F pattern again relies on the upper left corner. This is where the reader’s eyes will naturally gravitate. From there, most people scan the upper portion of the email — the top line of the F, so to speak. This is followed by scanning down and then across. The further into the email readers get, the more time they’ll spend viewing the far left side.

Inverted pyramid

Information-heavy content is best displayed in an inverted pyramid. This places the most important details at the top. This is followed by less fundamental text near the bottom of the page. This strategy has dominated mass media for decades. It remains a go-to solution for many modern email campaigns.

5. Focus on one main call to action

Be clear about where the reader will go when they click. If the email requires multiple calls to action (also called CTAs or action buttons), organize them in a hierarchy. Use colors that stand out or contrast your design to signify which action is most urgent. Your main CTA should be higher up in your email, with secondary CTAs coming later. Text-link CTAs or buttons with a simple outline can be effective secondary CTAs.

6. Use an email template

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to craft beautiful emails. Using an email newsletter template is a great way to get started. Email templates help speed up the design process. They also give your content a professional-looking structure. Be sure to use responsive email templates. The responsive design automatically converts the layout to suit desktop, tablets, and mobile devices. It ensures your content is viewable and accessible on multiple platforms.

7. Reduce visual clutter by keeping it simple and focused

To have enough white space in your designs. You want to reduce visual clutter as much as possible, and make sure your email is clear to read and easy to scan. You can even experiment with plain text style emails for maximum simplicity.

8. Utilize compelling visuals

Email imagery catches attention and supports your branding, but you have to use it strategically.
Here are a few tips for great email design visuals:
  • Use a faux video as a fallback
  • Use GIFs to add personality (in small doses)
  • Avoid image-only emails
  • Add texture with background images

9. Keep your email on-brand

When your email recipients open your message, they should know the email was sent from your company. Meaning your email should be branded. To keep your email on-brand, consider using the following tactics:
  • Use a tone in your emails that complements your other content and marketing materials (like your website and social media).
  • Incorporate the same colors and fonts that you use in your other branding and marketing materials.
  • Include your logo, a link to your website, links to your social media accounts, and calls-to-action (CTAs) that are relevant to your products or services. This is a great way to increase brand awareness while also boost conversions.

10. Attention-grabbing headline

The headline of an email acts as the product packaging. It’s the first thing your readers see when they open the email - better make it worth their time. If the headline is not appealing and meaningful, then you’ve lost yourself a customer. It can either be completely text-based or image-based. We recommend merging the two to create perfect harmony between them.
The headline should be catchy but should also tease the reader of what’s to come ahead. The image included should be relevant to the email message. Any important links can be incorporated in the form of buttons to encourage your reader to take action early on. Any descriptions following the headline should summarize the main gist of the email. This not only adds clarity but convinces the prospect to continue reading.

11. Email Copy

Writing copy for emails is an art in itself. No matter how important visual content becomes, readers still prefer reading the message you have to communicate.
The general rule of thumb is not to exceed 200 words - this includes the header. Your message should be concise and spoken in a way that attracts your reader. Using Gen Z slang when your readers are aged 50+ is a recipe for disaster.

12. Harmonious colors

The overall color palette of an email plays a crucial part in how it is perceived. If harmonious colors are not chosen, then your emails will be nothing less than an eyesore.
Fortunately, playing with colors is no rocket science and can be done without hiring a professional. Keep the following guidelines in mind:
  • Define a palette of your brand’s colors and stick to them. You can include other colors, but the main focus should be on the defined palette.
  • Highlight sections using a contrasting color than the background color.
  • Do not go overboard with using multiple colors in an email. You’re aiming for a powerful email, not a rainbow sundae. Three colors are more than enough.
  • The background and text colors should mix well. Having a white background with red-colored text just looks plain awful.

13. Optimize for mobile

According to research, 46% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Emails must be designed to work well on all mobile devices, or else you risk losing email subscribers. It’s not tricky to create mobile responsive designs; just follow the below guidelines.
  • If a template is used to design emails, make sure it’s mobile-responsive
  • Text and images should shrink in size to adapt to the mobile device being used
  • CTA buttons should be large enough so that they can be clicked on with a thumb
  • There should be adequate white space between different elements to make reading easier

14. Size elements up or down to drive attention

Scaling plays heavily into modern email layouts, especially with mobile-first designs. The underlying concept is clear: Larger elements promise to attract the reader’s attention, especially when contrasted against smaller features. If too many elements are scaled up, none are likely to act as a focal point.
Template size matters. Best practices include a width of around 600 pixels and a height of approximately 1,500 pixels. Individual content blocks should not exceed 1,000 pixels. With headers and footers, you may have more leeway. This will depend on the size of the images or the amount of text you intend to include.

15. Don’t forget about typeface

Your emails could ace sizing, colors, and layout but still feel cluttered or impersonal if they rely on the wrong typeface(s).  Some enthusiasts fawn over specific fonts, which they use anywhere and everywhere, but there is no single road to typeface success. The ideal typeface will reflect your brand’s values and avoid distracting the reader from the content of your message.
Often, well-designed emails incorporate more than one typeface. This draws attention to specific parts of the message. Consider selecting one font for headers and another for meatier text. Key categories include:


Many fonts incorporate extensions known as serifs. These typefaces are traditionally relied upon for print, although they often appear in emails with a lot of text. This look is classic and elegant. New York Times is the most recognizable serif font, but it’s just one of many. Avoid these typefaces for headers or call-out quotes.


These fonts are more frequently used for digital purposes than serifs. Familiar examples include Arial or Helvetica. These may be easier to read on mobile devices due to their lack of extra lines and swoops. These fonts hold a lot of contemporary appeal, falling clearly within the minimalist camp of web design.

Ensuring Web-Safe Typefaces

Before you get excited about a unique typeface, keep in mind that it needs to be web-safe. In other words, the typeface should be compatible with a variety of email clients, such as Outlook or Google. Otherwise, it won’t display in your reader’s inbox as you intended.

Utilizing Text Sizing for Emphasis

Don’t forget to play with text sizing. Emails, like blog posts, should make full use of differently-sized headers to call out the most important content. This approach works well with the inverted pyramid layout, as it draws attention to the most important messages from your email. Central takeaways should be summarized within the text of the header and then supported in the brief sentences or paragraphs to follow.

16. Use high-quality images

Images add instant visual interest to your emails. They also provide a valuable opportunity to break up blocks of text. Depending on the circumstances, these could make emails feel more relevant or personable, particularly if they feature images of compelling products or services.
Every image should hold a clear purpose beyond simply breaking up the content. Aim for illustrative images that reinforce the information you’ve already presented in text. Quality is essential, as today’s internet users are inundated with gorgeous photography daily. Because they’re so accustomed to stunning images, they’ll quickly take notice when pictures have higher compression or lower pixels than usual. When in doubt, opt for one or two excellent photos rather than filling your email with lackluster pictures. Use images sparingly and strategically to deliver the greatest impact possible for each visual display.

17. Don’t be afraid to use emojis

Emojis may seem like an unnecessary or unprofessional addition to an email. While this may be a fair assumption, it’s actually untrue in a number of scenarios. In fact, when you add emojis to your email subject line and/ or email copy, you can increase your open and click-through rates. But remember: When using emojis for marketing purposes, make sure you know the meaning and connotation of the specific one(s) you incorporate.

18. Add an "unsubscribe" button

Email marketing is highly effective as long as you’re providing relevant content to your recipients. The unfortunate but true reality of email marketing is that your recipients and customers change over time — especially as your business grows and evolves. Therefore, your content may not always be relevant to certain audience members.

Ensuring Compliance and Positive Experiences

For this reason, allow your recipients to leave (or unsubscribe from your emails) on a good note so they can remember your business in a positive light — who knows, they may need your email content, products, or services again in the future. To do this, simplify their lives with an easy-to-use and visible "unsubscribe” button.
In addition to offering a better experience for users, you're actually required by law to add that unsubscribe button. According to the Federal Trade Commission and CAN-SPAM Act, you’re legally required to include a “clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt-out of getting emails from you in the future”. Meaning, that unsubscribe button isn’t an option.

19. Use descriptive ALT text for images

Email accessibility is non-negotiable, and one way to ensure everyone enjoys your emails is by adding ALT text to images. Your ALT text needs to be short but descriptive so it offers the same experience to subscribers with images turned off or using screen readers.

20. Conduct A/B Testing

You might think an email design is great, but your readers may disagree. The truth is you never know how your audience will perceive a certain email. Hence, the performance of emails should be monitored through A/B testing. You don’t need to be an experienced email marketer to perform A/B testing. Just follow the easy steps below:
  • Create two email designs with a differing element, like CTA, color palette, and video. We recommend testing a single variable at a time.
  • Send the first email to one half of your audience and the second to the other half.
  • Measure which email gives the desired results
  • Continue testing for other variables

21. Feature user-generated content

According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Report, 81% of consumers make buying decisions based on brand trust. More often than not, people trust peer recommendations over brands. So why not let your customers have a say in your email content?

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content is anything that people create and share online about a brand. This includes product reviews, customer feedback, photos, and social media posts. It provides social proof and reinforces your brand’s credibility. Using real-life examples humanizes your brand. It makes your storytelling more relatable, and starts conversations through your emails.
Through targeting and segmentation practices you can tailor your user-generated content to individuals. For instance, a sports equipment store might segment and target their customers by preferred sport. Including relevant buyer reviews to your email is a powerful conversion method.
  • Email Graphic Design

Complete Step-by-Step Guide On How To Use Mailsplash’s All-in-one AI Email Solution To Create Professional Email Designs

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.

Create Fully-Built Stunning Email Designs That Convert With Mailsplash

Mailsplash is a remarkable tool that allows users to create captivating email templates quickly and easily. With the help of AI technology, Mailsplash enables freelancers, brands, and agencies to generate personalized and high-converting email campaigns at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional marketing agencies.
The tool covers everything from email copywriting to personalized branded email template design, making it an all-in-one email solution. Users can seamlessly send out their campaigns using any email service provider, such as Mailchimp or Klaviyo. Mailsplash empowers users to create stunning email campaigns that drive results at a fraction of the cost and time.
  • Figma For Email Design
  • Transactional Email Design
  • Stripo Alternative

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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 Customer.io, 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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