15 Best Practices For Email Graphic Design And Examples

Master the art of email graphic design with these 15 best practices and see how top brands are using visuals to enhance their email campaigns.

15 Best Practices For Email Graphic Design And Examples

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With an increasing number of emails flooding inboxes every day, marketers must find ways to make their messages stand out. Email design helps in catching the attention of recipients. By incorporating visually appealing elements and custom graphics, emails can look more professional and engaging. A well-designed email can help increase open rates and click-through rates. In this blog, we will explore the value of email graphic design, and provide tips and tricks to improve your designs. Whether you are new to email design or a seasoned pro, there is something for everyone in this blog.

What Is Email Design?

Email Graphic Design
Email Graphic Design
I always stress the importance of your design and how it can help you achieve your marketing goals. Your design can help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed by your subscribers. You want to make sure that your emails are both aesthetically and functionally appealing.
The way you design your emails can help you improve your open rates, click-through rates, and overall engagement with your audience. I believe that focusing on making your emails aesthetically and functionally appealing can help you achieve your marketing goals.

Importance of Email Design in Marketing

Brands love email marketing for many reasons. Many studies have found that key aspects of email design made the most successful email campaigns what they are. The actual email layout, use of graphics, creative content, call-to-action, and even branding, play a crucial role in the success of an email campaign.
Of course, your email content is also important – it’s the core message that you’re trying to get across to your audience, but the email design is the packaging of that content in a form that resonates with your audience. And there are endless ways you can do that. Email design can play a critical role in the success of an email campaign. And there are many different aspects that can influence email reception.

Types Of Email Design

Email Graphic Design
Email Graphic Design

Plain Text Email

I truly believe that simplicity is a great way to get the point across. Plain text emails do just that. They are text-only emails without any formatting or visual elements. These emails are perfect for conveying personal emotions, instant messages or order confirmations. For instance, you can use plain text email to send out a receipt or order confirmation.

Rich HTML Email Design

I have to say, HTML emails are a staple in the world of email marketing. They are used mainly for marketing purposes. These visually appealing emails are created using HTML and CSS. They allow you to play with colors, typography, visuals and unique structures. So, if you want to showcase your product or service, rich HTML email design is the way to go. You can also include video testimonials and clickable buttons to make the user experience even better.

Interactive Email Design

I absolutely love the idea of interactive emails. They let users engage with the email by clicking on buttons and links within the email itself. By doing this, you can redirect them to your website and give them a better experience. This type of email design is gaining popularity and uses HTML, CSS and Javascript to make it interactive. Use interactive emails to get more customer engagement and drive traffic to your website.

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.
Try our All-in-one Email Solution today for free.

Why Is Email Design Important In Email Marketing?

Custom email design offers a robust foundation for building on and realizing various marketing strategies and tricks. We are living in a world with a tremendous amount of information. You can’t expect your audience, no matter how engaged with your brand, to read everything. People do not have time for that.

Enhancing Message Delivery through Custom Email Design

They scan rather than read. You still need to deliver information. Add to this short attention spans that most adults have, and one small chunk of text is not enough to plead a case. It is here where custom email design comes to the rescue. With various stylistic solutions, you may transform regular scanning into intelligent scanning and bring home the right message.

Simplifying Email Template Creation with Postcards Email Builder

You can play with reading flow and create a path to feed the audience with information vital for your campaign to thrive. With Postcards Email Builder you can create and edit email templates online without any coding skills! Includes more than 100 components to help you create custom emails templates faster than ever before.

Advocating Brand Identity and Engaging Audiences

That’s not all; there are some other good reasons why email design matters. It can advocate brand identity. It can engage the audience with the brand. It can resonate with the target audience. It can capture the audience’s attention. It can produce a wow effect. It can leave a long-lasting impression. It can turn users around with marketing tricks. It can foist goods.

Key Elements Of Email Graphic Design

Email Graphic Design
Email Graphic Design

1. Email layout

The layout structures your email content and creates a flow of information as the reader moves from one section to the next. The more scannable your email will look, the more readers will be tempted to read it. That's why you need to get the layout right.
Let's demystify the most common component in an email layout.


It's the part that comes before the main header and usually contains the brand logo, navigational links, or 'view in browser link.

Top fold/hero

This is the part visible to the reader on their screen without scrolling. This part should capture the attention and compel readers to either click on the CTA (if it's in - the top fold) or scroll to the reader further.
The email footer is the bottom part of the email and often contains information like the social share button, unsubscribe link, privacy policy, brand address, etc.

2. Typography

One of the important aspects of typography is fonts. Typically fonts can be categorized as web fonts and web-safe fonts.

Web safe fonts

These fonts are pre-installed on an operating system.
  • Arial
  • Helvetica
  • Verdana
  • Georgia
  • Times New Roman

Web fonts

These are pulled in from a web server and might not be installed on an operating system. If the recipient's email client doesn't support these emails, fallback versions with web-safe fonts will be displayed.
  • Baskerville
  • Courier new
  • Georgia
If your brand personality is classic and traditional, opt for Times New Roman or Helvetica. Go for Open Sans if your brand style is fun and youthful. While web fonts allow you to show your creativity, adding a fallback version is often advisable if you use them in your emails.
As the reader often scans the email, typography helps you create anchor points to take the reader's attention from the most important to the least. You can leverage the font styles, weight, size, and color.

3. Check the readability

Apart from the written text, how the text shows up in the recipient's inbox impacts the readability. That's why you need to keep an eye on typography.
The font size and weight should be such that readers can read the content without much effort. For better readability across all devices, font size should be readable and easy on the eyes.
14px-18px and headline between 20-36px

4. Imagery

The imagery makes your email more appealing. It's your chance to show your brand value by adding your image assets such as graphics, logos, banners, etc.
But, you cannot add an image and call it a day. A good email design considers everything, such as image file type, the load time of the images, accessibility, and types of images to add.

Types of imagery

  • If you use static imagery, PNG and JPEG are the best formats.
  • For animated images, we recommend using GIFs or APNGs.
  • Size of the image
Images play a huge role in deciding the size of the email. So, try to keep their size as low as possible by compressing them. You can use design software like Adobe Photoshop or online free tools such as TinyPNG and TinyJPG to reduce the image size.

5. Iconography

Along with images, you can add icons to make email content visually attractive such as social media icons. Icons help illustrate list items, steps, or processes, create a visual hierarchy, and work as anchors such as arrows. While adding icons, make sure they support the text. (if you're using them next to text).
One thing to remember while adding images is not to use generic images that don't add value. Images should be relevant to the email copy. Also, if you're downloading stock images, consider licensing and copyright. Add images only after obtaining permission from the source.

4. Buttons

Buttons are the clickable element that is used for email call-to-actions. Ask yourself how you would like to add your CTA button
  • Rounded or square edges?
  • With or without spacings?
  • Outlined (ghost button) or with a background color?
Based on the number of times these buttons appear, these can be divided into two categories:

Primary CTA buttons

The main action you want the recipient to take. So, it should be placed in a prominent position and must be bible at once to the reader.

Secondary CTA buttons

Any action you want users to take apart from the main action would be considered secondary. You must distinguish these CTA from the primary to not divert the user's attention from the major action. You can do this by:
  • Using a light color than the primary CTA
  • Using a different button design
  • Reducing the size of the button

Bulletproof buttons

It becomes bulletproof when you add a button by coding it instead of adding it as an image. That's because an image-based button won't render if the recipient has turned off the images or the client doesn't support them. But, the bulletproof button doesn't have any such drawbacks.
42px height for mobile versions and 72px for desktop. The width depends on the CTA copy.

5. Color

Color evokes emotional responses and sends signals to the brain. A yellow color calms the mind while a red alerts the reader. Understanding how different colors work in email is essential to convey your message. Defining the right color is tricky as the definition varies from brand to brand. Some brands use light, monochromatic colors to show their identity, while others opt for bold and vibrant colors.
Besides, color themes should change depending on the type of campaign you're creating. For instance, a holiday email campaign should have a color that signifies that occasion. A Christmas email should use a red, blue, and green color theme, while a black Friday email should have a black or red theme.

Revolutionizing Email Marketing with Mailsplash's AI-Powered Templates

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.
Try our All-in-one Email Solution today for free.

15 Best Practices For Email Graphic Design

Email Graphic Design
Email Graphic Design

1. Craft an enticing subject line

A subject line may seem like an afterthought, but it’s the most important part of your email — it’s your one chance to convince someone to open it. Make sure that it is tantalizing enough to get a recipient to open the email, but not too cryptic to be ignored.

Mastering Subject Line Craftsmanship for Email Marketing Success

Often, enticing customers to open an email with the offer of a sale or a coupon code is good, but crafting the subject line is an art. Sometimes a more provocative but less sales-oriented line works best. Try A/B testing different subject lines over time to see what resonates best with your audience.

Exploring Hybrid Layouts for Enhanced Email Engagement

This isn’t the only option, though. There are also hybrid layouts that more resemble a blog post or other piece of content, with a featured story on top, leading into a multi-column layout at the bottom. This allows you to create a content hierarchy with opportunities for clever call to action, to boost customer engagement.

2. Aim for clarity and be concise

Your audience is likely pressed for time, so make sure that your emails are clear, concise, and easy to read from a design standpoint. Use designs that a developer can build and modify with HTML to carefully curate content, so it shows up well on multiple email platforms. Text should be broken down into larger headlines and grouped with small digestible chunks.
Don’t neglect white space, or areas that are empty except for a simple background color. This will ensure that your content doesn’t feel crowded or overwhelming and helps emphasize important elements.

3. Don’t break the inbox with your images

Use web-optimized images that load quickly. Images for emails rarely need to be wider than 800 pixels. Include descriptive alt text in case images break or your reader is using a program for people with visual impairment.
Animated GIFs can add extra spice to your messaging, but keep in mind that too much movement can create loading issues or be distracting. Look for on-brand images that fit with your brand identity as well as the overall color scheme of your email.

4. Use a design that guides the eyes downward

Your email layout should encourage the viewer to keep reading. Build a wireframe to plan out the visual elements of your email to ensure there’s downward momentum. An inverted triangle works well for a simple notification email, a zigzag shape for a stylish e-commerce email, and a neat and tidy column for an information-packed email newsletter.

5. Be consistent with your branding

Weave your brand’s visual identity into your email designs to strengthen your organization’s brand recognition with each send. Use brand-consistent design elements, like your logo, color palette, typography, and other building blocks from your brand kit.
Model your emails after your website as well as any landing pages your email leads to. Once your team has developed an email design that works, create an email template to save time when designing future emails.

6. Optimize for mobile

As of July 2019, nearly 62 percent of email opens occurred on a mobile device. Responsive designs that translate well on any screen size are critical for an email campaign’s success.

7. Use email graphics to highlight CTAs

Next, be sure to keep your overall campaign goals in mind when creating email graphics. For example, if you want subscribers to click a button to shop, use your design to highlight the CTA. Keeping your email design simple ensures your graphics complement, rather than compete, with other email elements like copy and CTAs.
Depending on your email builder and design template, you may incorporate CTAs directly into email graphics, whether that be text CTAs, buttons, or links. You can also use the inverted pyramid principle to ensure your email copy and graphics funnel readers to a specific CTA.

8. Experiment with animated email graphics

In addition to standard email graphics, you can also play around with animated email designs. Animated graphics help catch readers’ attention, and you can use them to direct subscribers to specific email elements, like a CTA button. With tools like Canva (more on that below), you can easily create animated email graphics, ready to add to your campaigns.

9. A/B test and personalize email graphics

A/B testing multiple versions of your email graphics ensures you get the best possible results from your campaigns. Platforms like EmailMarketingFX let you A/B test email graphics to determine which versions perform best — and you can send the winning graphics to the rest of your email list. In addition to A/B testing, you can also use dynamic content to display personalized graphics to unique subscriber segments.
The majority of your audience — 77% of people — will choose and pay more for brands that deliver personalized experiences. So, using dynamic content to deliver personalized email graphics can boost clicks and conversions.

10. Email Personalization

Personalization is what sets successful emails apart from the rest. Without it, your emails have very little chance of resonating with the reader. That’s why savvy brands invest a lot in analytics to ensure a personalized experience.
Here are some crucial tips for email personalization:

Know your audience

Through the use of CRMs and other software tools, companies need to track their customers and know their pain points, needs, and behavior. Sales and outreach teams can also provide valuable insights into specific demographics.

Optimize your content to the needs of your customer

By knowing the pain points of your audience, you can craft your emails for very specific market segments and increase the value and engagement in each email blast

Details matter

Something as simple as using the right title for your prospects and correct name spelling are deal-breakers for your readers

Use email personalization tools

Email automation allows you to use advanced segmenting and targeting software, and it’s the only way to customize and personalize emails for a large audience.

11. Email GDPR Compliance

GDPR regulations around email marketing mean that any information you collect needs to be given freely under consent. You should also give clear and easy options to unsubscribe, failure to which your emails will be marked as spam.
Other GDPR regulations your emails must comply with are:
  • No use of false or misleading information. Do not fake the “From,” “fwd,” and “reply to” fields.
  • Identify your email as an ad if that’s what it is.
  • Include a valid address, both a postal and street address where applicable.
  • Protect all customer data and regularly purge data of customers who are no longer participating.
GDPR regulations can break your email campaigns if you are not careful, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the specifics.

12. Keep a Good Text to Image Ratio

The main content of your email should be within the text. Too many images in one email is not a good idea. A good ratio seems to be somewhere in between 60% text and 40% images or 70% text, 30% images.

13. Email Signature

Your email signature is your distinct stamp, and the last thing readers see. If you want to make a lasting impression, the signature has to be professionally generated and include any pertinent information such as your company website, physical address, phone number, among others.
It is standard practice to include your company logo in the signature as well as social links, with responsiveness and all legal requirements met.

14. Use Templates

Unless you are an experienced designer or willing to put in the time to learn, the best way to make your email design look beautiful is to use templates. A template is a design that is precomposed and customizable.
You can choose from hundreds of different Visme templates that are streamlined for user-friendliness and aesthetics. There are a lot of different things to consider about the design of the layout, which is why using a template can make it easy.
A great place to start your email design is by tapping into current design trends to find inspiration. Many email campaigns use a multi-column layout. Separating content into two to three columns arranges it in a logical, grid-like structure.

5 Top Tools For Creating Professional Emails

Email Graphic Design
Email Graphic Design

1. Mailsplash

Mailsplash is an AI-powered tool that empowers users to design stunning email templates that convert effectively. With features like campaign creation, flow design, and compatibility with various email service providers like Mailchimp and Klaviyo, Mailsplash offers a comprehensive email design solution. Ideal for freelancers, brands, and agencies, Mailsplash enables users to create personalized, converting email campaigns cost-effectively.
Try Mailsplash's All-in-one Email Solution today for free to experience the power of seamless email graphic design.

2. Piktochart

Piktochart is another excellent tool for crafting email graphics effortlessly. Like Canva, Piktochart offers an easy-to-use interface that allows users to add design elements seamlessly. Its intuitive platform enables users to create visually appealing email graphics with ease, making it a top choice for email graphic design.

3. Stripo

Stripo is an email design tool that streamlines the process of crafting engaging and professional email templates without the need for coding skills. The platform provides a drag-and-drop editor that simplifies the design process, offering features like a template library, content blocks, and interactive widgets. Stripo's user-friendly interface is tailored to enhance the email design experience, making it a must-have tool for email graphic design.

4. BEE Free

BEE Free is an email template builder designed to simplify the creation of beautiful and high-performing emails. Offering features like AI-powered email creation, synced rows for faster design, collaboration tools, and integration with various marketing and sending platforms, BEE Free is a comprehensive tool for email graphic design. Its focus on efficiency and seamless design makes it an ideal choice for creating visually appealing emails effortlessly.

5. Canva

Canva is an intuitive design tool that simplifies the process of creating stunning email graphics, even for users without a design background. With thousands of customizable email design templates available, Canva offers a user-friendly drag-and-drop feature that makes designing email graphics a breeze.

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

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.

How To Create Email Design With Accessibility In Mind

Email Graphic Design
Email Graphic Design
Designing an email with accessibility in mind is crucial. The following tips will help you do so effectively.
  • Ensure that there is an optimal contrast in your email design, as per the level AA standards that specify a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1.
  • It's important to use safe colors that avoid confusion for color-blinded individuals. Thus, steer clear of red and green for conveying meaning as well as red and blue due to color clashes.
  • Strive for a balance between visuals and text and avoid using text in images.
Whitespace in your email design can help create a more comfortable reading experience for recipients. To enhance legibility on small screens, maintain a reasonably large font size, with 16px being the recommended font size for body copy. Be sure to set ALTs for images, except when they are purely decorative and do not serve a functional purpose. Setting roles for tables lets email readers interpret them correctly and helps avoid any issues.

Optimizing Email Design for Accessibility and Engagement

While animated gifs can make your emails more engaging, it's important to use them sparingly to prevent problems such as blinking or flashing that may negatively impact certain users. Avoid center-aligned and justified paragraphs, as well as content-heavy designs. Make sure that buttons in your email are easily clickable and tappable for an enhanced user experience.

Email Graphic Design Examples To Inspire You

notion image
Google utilized a clean, minimalistic design for their upselling email promoting the new Pixel 6a. The email features a large image of the phone and a short, catchy headline, "Upgrade to the New Pixel 6a."
The use of white space enhances the overall readability and draws attention to the primary call-to-action (CTA) button. The email is visually appealing with a color scheme that complements the product being promoted.

Tripadvisor's Abandoned Cart Email Design Example

Tripadvisor's abandoned cart email for the Sheraton San Diego Hotel Marina effectively leverages personalization with the recipient's name. The email includes a high-quality image of the hotel with a message that urges the recipient to complete their booking.
The email's design is simple yet visually appealing, with a clear CTA button placed prominently. The use of scarcity tactics with the phrase "only X left" adds urgency to encourage immediate action.

Mailchimp's Engagement Email Design Example

Mailchimp's engagement email promoting a new tool emphasizes the product's benefits and how it can help the recipient. The email is well-structured, with a catchy headline and subheading to grab the reader's attention.
Bold typography is used to highlight key points and make the email scannable. The overall design is cohesive, with a color scheme that aligns with Mailchimp's branding. The email also includes social proof to build trust and credibility.

Uber's Thank You Email Design Example

Uber's thank you email for following their safety guidelines is simple yet effective. The email's design is clean, featuring Uber's logo prominently at the top. The message is personalized with the recipient's name and expresses gratitude for their commitment to safety.
The email ends with a clear CTA button inviting recipients to learn more. The use of white space and concise copy makes the email easy to read and visually appealing.

Create Fully-Built Stunning Email Templates That Convert With Mailsplash

Mailsplash is an AI-powered tool that allows users to design and create outstanding email templates in a matter of minutes. This tool proves incredibly useful when it comes to crafting campaigns, flows, and other email marketing initiatives. Equipped with Mailsplash, marketers can send their content through any email service provider, from Mailchimp to Klaviyo.
Whether you are a freelancer, a brand, or an agency, Mailsplash empowers you to quickly develop personalized and converting email campaigns. By offering cost-effective solutions, this tool assures that you can create personalized, branded email templates. With Mailsplash, you can handle everything from email copywriting to the design of personalized emails. Dive into the realm of email marketing with Mailsplash and witness its transformative power today.
Try our All-in-one Email Solution for free and watch your campaigns soar.

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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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