8 Email Design Tips Every Marketer Should Follow

Momina Asif
Momina Asif

Last updated on

October 18, 2021

According to Statista, the number of email users around the globe is expected to hit 4.3 billion by 2022.

Among these 4.3 billion users are your target audience and prospects you can reach out to and convert via email marketing.

So how do you make sure your emails stand out and grab the attention of your target audience?

For that, your email design needs to be on point. In this article, I am going to talk about the basics of email design, 11 email design best practices for a successful campaign, and some of the best tools for leveling up your email marketing.

Let us dive in.

What is email design?

Email design is the process of designing and building an email strategically in a manner that resonates with your target audience, brand voice, and tone and increases your conversion rates.

Why is email design important?

People are more inclined to scan information rather than reading the whole thing. The same happens with emails. Your audience will abandon the email if they don’t find anything valuable or interesting for them after scanning them.

This is why having a great email design is essential. It helps capture the attention of your email recipients and encourages them to engage with your business.

Your email design should be attention-grabbing, on-brand, and aesthetically pleasing, among other things.

Email Design best Practices

Your email template’s look and feel start even before the recipient opens the email. Three main elements decide whether someone will open your email or not. These elements are name, subject line, and preheader text.

1. Attention-grabbing 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.

email from Mailmunch

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 short 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.

Look at the email from dotdigital. The subject line piques the interest of the reader, and the pre-header reinforces it by saying you can get your copy of the guide.

An email from dotdigital

3. Email design should be on-brand

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. Focus on the 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 empty space to give some room to the email. Make sure your email is easy to consume and navigate.

Let's have a look at an email from Mailmunch that makes the best use of white space, with strategically placed CTA and consistent brand color and tone.

email newsletter from Mailmunch

5. Incorporate unique visual content

If you are only adding paragraph after paragraph of information, it’s going to very difficult to hold the attention of your audience. They will either get bored or just scan the email and close it.

Incorporate on-brand and engaging images, videos, GIFs, animations, etc., to compliment the written content and create a memorable experience.

This email adds GIFs to grab the reader’s attention and make it more fun and engaging.

An email with a GIF

And since we are on the topic, let’s talk about adding 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. But remember to make sure you know the meaning and connotation of the specific one(s) you incorporate. Grammarly does an amazing job of incorporating emojis to make the emails interactive and fun.

email from Grammarly with emojis

6. Strategically placed 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.

I want in as CTA

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. Add an “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.

Also, you are required by law to add an unsubscribe button. According to the Federal Trade Commission, GDPR, 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”.

email with a carefully placed CTA

8. A/B test your email design

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.

Optimizing emails for mobile

According to HubSpot, 46% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Email designs must be optimized to work well on all mobile devices, or else you risk losing email subscribers.

So how do you optimize your email designs for mobile devices?

  • Use text and images that are easy to read on mobile screens.
  • Try to use images that are less than 600 pixels wide.
  • Use your real estate on mobile wisely. It’s already limited, so don’t beat around the bush.
  • Write short, consumable, and easily scannable chunks of text with bullet points.
  • Add your CTA buttons front and center. Make them stand out with bright colors and large buttons.
  • Add adequate white space between different elements to make reading easier.

Email Design Tools

A number of email design tools are available with a wide range of capabilities to enable you to create engaging and optimized email designs ready to engage your audience.


With HubSpot’s email marketing software, you can create, design, personalize and optimize all your email campaigns. Like any popular email service provider, you don’t need coding to design emails. You can also A/B test your emails, add images and other media elements to your emails quickly and optimize them for mobile devices.


Mailmunch is an email marketing software that also specializes in lead generation and eCommerce marketing. If you are a small business, you can sign up to Mailmunch to create landing pages, web forms, Shopify pages, and much more, along with email marketing. Mailmunch has 100+ templates for emails to help you make the most engaging emails for your audience.


Chamaileon is a collaborative email builder and gives you the ability to invite other members of your team to work together on email designs. Chamaileon makes sure you have a responsive email design. The email builder comes with customizable templates that can be easily edited according to your specified recipients.


Stripo requires no HTML knowledge to build and design professional emails. They have pre-made templates, all of which are responsive so that readers can easily view them via any device. Stripo also allows you to integrate your current email service provider (ESP) with the software to access all your email addresses from a central location.


With a great and responsive email design, you can reach and resonate with your audience members more effectively. Emails with better designs that are optimized for mobile devices result in better conversion rates and directly result in increased revenue. So, start designing those emails with the best practices mentioned in this article and see an increase in your open rate.


Author Bio

Momina Asif

Content marketer by day and book nerd by night, Momina works at Mailmunch as a Marketing Communications Specialist. Momina eats, sleeps, and breathes content marketing. Her expertise ranges from ideation to production to distribution of content, thanks to 4+ years of experience in the B2B content marketing sphere.


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