The Actually Good Information to Electronic mail Design (+ Bonus Guidelines)


Article first revealed Could 2017, up to date February 2019.

Need an e-mail that appears superior and converts like loopy? We joined forces with the proficient crew from Actually Good Emails to take the guesswork out of designing a superb e-mail with this e-mail design information and guidelines that’ll make each e-mail you ship extra superior. 

On this information, we’ll cowl e-mail design finest practices for all of the completely different components of your e-mail campaigns and have a bonus guidelines for you on the finish. So let’s get to it.

Topic Line

Whereas not a standard “design ingredient” your topic line is taken into account one of the crucial necessary components in getting your e-mail opened so your subscribers can see your candy design so make it participating, private, and related. Keep in mind, that overuse of CAPS and pointless punctuation, in addition to some phrases, can set off spam filters so respect your subscribers and don’t go there. Use these phrases as an alternative.

Bonus: CoSchedule has a superb Headline Analyzer that is also utilized to e-mail topic traces.

Is longer higher?

Relating to e-mail topic traces longer isn’t essentially higher. It’s necessary to remember that your subscribers use a wide range of completely different browsers and e-mail purchasers in addition to cell gadgets to devour your emails.

In accordance with knowledge from Return Path, 65 characters appears to be a candy spot for e-mail topic traces, which is about 15 characters greater than the common topic line. When topic traces are 61-70 characters lengthy, they have an inclination to get learn. Nonetheless, most e-mail topic traces are between 41 and 50 characters.

Return Path – Email Subject Line – Length and Read Rate

What about symbols in topic traces?

The saying “an image is value a thousand phrases” might by no means be extra true than on the subject of emoji. And emoji in e-mail topic traces can have a serious influence. Not solely can they take the place of phrases, be attention-grabbing, and add a particular attraction, they’ll enhance your open charges. A report by Experian famous that fifty-six % of manufacturers utilizing emoji of their e-mail topic traces had the next distinctive open fee. Contemplate us 👍.

Campaign Monitor - emoji in subject lines

Issues to remember when utilizing emoji in e-mail

If an emoji isn’t supported within the e-mail shopper, the recipient might even see a ☐ character as an alternative.

Keep in mind: Gmail has to have some additional particular issues when utilizing emoji. Chances are you’ll discover in Gmail once you use emoji within the topic line the icon will look completely different within the inbox view and after the e-mail has been opened. That is because of the inbox view utilizing the Android model of the emoji, in the meantime, the opened e-mail view makes use of Google’s personal emoji fashion. Whereas the emoji mainly look the identical, it’s nonetheless value testing to verify the identical sentiment is expressed in each variations.

As well as, for Inbox by Gmail, it’s at present not attainable to insert emoticons in Inbox messages utilizing the browser model.


Your preheader will be seen within the inbox preview and within the physique of your e-mail, or simply within the preview pane if you wish to save e-mail actual property. Preheaders add priceless context to your topic line and might help your open fee. Hold it brief (between 40-70 characters) and to the purpose. Use this area to assist your buyer know why the e-mail is helpful to them. Your topic line and preheader textual content ought to work collectively.

Birchbox – Email Design – Preheader Text


Emails with personalised topic traces are 26% extra prone to be opened. Transcend simply utilizing your subscriber’s identify within the topic line and use different knowledge it’s a must to gas tremendous related messages.

Experian – Email Subject Line - Personalization

Including firm identify, final buy, or different data lets you personalize the e-mail within the good method for every subscriber. However actually good personalization entails extra than simply injecting a primary identify. Take into consideration how you might fully change the e-mail based mostly on somebody’s data.

Cease considering of emails as one-to-many and take into consideration them as one-to-one—the place every e-mail is personalized to every subscriber.

Humanization / Contextual Advertising

A time period that’s been getting in style is contextual advertising and marketing or humanization which focuses on making the e-mail extra of a 1-to-1 engagement quite than a 1-to-many sort e-mail that’s one-size matches all.

This results in emails particularly tailor-made to the subscriber which can result in greater engagement.

Spotify is a good instance with their year-end marketing campaign displaying every subscriber what their most listened songs have been and the place they ranked of their favourite artists’ fan rankings (based mostly on what number of instances they listened to their music).


Making your e-mail really feel extra “humananized” and prefer it was constructed for every subscriber has many advantages together with elevated engagement, higher relationships together with your subscribers, and even individuals getting excited to obtain and open your e-mail.

Dynamic Content material

For these desirous to get severe with personalization, it’s also possible to dynamically change complete sections of content inside your e-mail to make your complete marketing campaign extra related and extra interesting to subscribers.

A standard use case for this might be displaying menswear to your male subscribers whereas displaying womenswear to feminine subscribers. Try how Adidas did it on this e-mail:

Adidas – Email Design – Dynamic Content

Electronic mail Structure

Your e-mail structure ought to assist the viewer know what they need to try first, and the place they’ll go from there. They need to be capable to scan the e-mail shortly utilizing a logical hierarchy with massive headlines and pictures focusing the eye. Use structure to interrupt up area and assist create chunks of content material.

Inverted Pyramid

We’re huge followers of the inverted pyramid mannequin. It’s basically a framework for structuring the weather of your e-mail campaigns (headers, imagery, buttons, and so forth) so that they work collectively to attract individuals in, ship the important thing messages of your marketing campaign and get them to click-through.

InVision – Email Design – Inverted Pyramid

By guiding a subscriber’s eye down the web page to your CTA, you’ll encourage them to click on by means of to discover extra of what it’s a must to provide, leading to higher model consciousness, extra net site visitors, and finally extra gross sales.


One other efficient design grid is an angular one with a zig-zag structure.

In accordance with the graphic designer, Mary Stribley, an “angular structure is each attractive to take a look at in addition to purposeful to order plenty of data and imagery.”

You may create these angles by means of utilizing imagery or colour blocking so as to information the reader by means of every step of the e-mail. This not solely creates a visually pleasing structure, it additionally helps to simplify every part of the e-mail in order that it’s straightforward to learn.


One Column

One column emails work nice on desktop and cell. These cell first emails often adapt to desktop and scale photographs. It helps customers navigate the e-mail with out overwhelming them. The one column design makes it apparent what data is necessary and what you need a shopper to do subsequent.

Electronic mail Width

To make sure that your e-mail renders effectively in each e-mail shopper, we are able to push the envelope on our e-mail widths to no less than 640 pixels. At widths wider than 640px Gmail doesn’t present any background colour that would seem within the margins at most cheap browser sizes (you may see them in the event you stretch your browser to wider than 1200px). For our designs, 600px is often the candy spot.

Plus, e-mail purchasers don’t use the complete width of your display to show an e-mail message. Some present adverts or have navigation or a menu so there are limitations to the true property on a display.


When utilizing photographs in your emails, it’s necessary to maintain the next in thoughts:

  • Dimension – most emails are 600-640px extensive. Nonetheless, to maintain your picture crisp on high-resolution shows, it’s essential to make your picture 2x the scale (ie. 1200px) and use the picture attributes and CSS to maintain the picture on the width you need.
  • File Dimension – It’s straightforward to overlook about file dimension in an e-mail however you wish to make sure that your photographs are optimized. Particularly since greater than 50% of emails are opened on cell gadgets. The larger the e-mail, the longer it’ll take for cell subscribers to view and thus create a destructive expertise together with your e-mail. Learn extra about finest practices for image-heavy emails right here. 
  • Alt Textual content – In case your picture doesn’t load or breaks someplace alongside the sending course of, Alt Textual content is the textual content that can show as an alternative. That is one other space that many e-mail entrepreneurs overlook. Add in useful Alt Textual content that provides to your message within the case that your picture doesn’t load. In case your picture has textual content on it, I often write the overlaying textual content because the alt textual content. This fashion if the picture doesn’t load, the textual content will nonetheless be learn. Together with ALT textual content additionally makes your e-mail extra accessible.
  • Use photographs that complement the e-mail – Your e-mail shouldn’t be a bunch of photographs positioned collectively. An picture ought to add to the e-mail and messaging—not be the messaging. A easy option to check that is to view your e-mail with photographs turned off. Does the e-mail nonetheless make sense? Is the message nonetheless clear? Our associates at Electronic mail Monks provide some stable recommendation on the optimum textual content to picture ratio.
  • Inventory Photographs – Inventory imagery can generally take your viewers out of the messaging. Hold your photographs on model and real. Take the time in case you have the chance to create particular imagery in your e-mail marketing campaign! If not, use imagery from paid websites like or free websites like Listed here are a couple of extra to take a look at.

Photographs and Alt Textual content

Alt textual content is solely the choice textual content displayed with a picture. Consider it because the backup textual content that gives some context about what your picture is, for people who have photographs blocked or turned off by default. Many entrepreneurs find out about alt textual content the onerous method by forgetting to make use of it and struggling the implications. Don’t be that particular person.

As you may see from the instance under, when photographs are blocked, subscribers see what appears to be like like a damaged picture, or a pink “X”. On this case, alt textual content signifies that there’s a picture and offered a bit of context in regards to the picture to encourage subscribers to “activate or allow” photographs within the e-mail.

For extra on Alt textual content try our design information and this submit by our buddies at Litmus.

Net Fonts + Fallbacks

Relating to e-mail advertising and marketing, it’s finest follow to make use of net fonts wherever you may, nonetheless, it’s necessary to remember, that not all e-mail purchasers provide common assist for net fonts.

Instance: Makes use of @import + @fontface to herald Clobber, Gotham Ebook, Gotham Medium, and Montserrat fonts.

Google Fonts is a good useful resource so as to add net fonts to your emails. We propose utilizing stay textual content when attainable for higher legibility throughout gadgets and constant model expertise from e-mail to web site so as to add net fonts to your emails.


@import url

Presently, the @import technique just isn’t supported in AOL utilizing IE11 and Android 2.three.


<hyperlink href=”” rel=”stylesheet” sort=”textual content/css”>

The <hyperlink> technique is absolutely supported among the many e-mail purchasers listed above. Net font providers will offer you the href worth to make use of in your net font of alternative. For those who’re internet hosting your personal web-font, you’ll have to vary the href worth to the place you’ve hosted your net font.


<fashion sort="textual content/css">

@media display


Consider the @font-face technique as a direct-to-the-source form of technique of importing your net fonts. It may be extra dependable to import the net font immediately from the supply as you may select which format of net font you wish to import. Particularly in the event you’re given a alternative, which some net font suppliers do have.

If net fonts usually are not supported there are fallback fonts that can be seen as an alternative. When setting fallbacks, keep in mind to make use of a “net secure font”. System fonts like Calibri usually are not at all times supported throughout all purchasers.

Email Marketing - Safe Web Fonts

Every e-mail shopper additionally has a most popular or default font which customers would see as an alternative of your chosen net font. The three hottest desktop e-mail purchasers have the next defaults:

Apple Mail = Helvetica
Gmail = Arial
Microsoft Outlook = Instances New Roman

Outlook is a particular case. If a webfont fails in Outlook, it ignores the fallback fonts and simply decides to render every part in Instances New Roman. If this occurs, add this CSS to your e-mail and try to be good to go.

<!--[if mso]>
<fashion sort="textual content/css">
physique, desk, td, p, li, a

Add different components like p, li, a, and so forth. if it’s essential to repair Outlook rendering Instances New Roman on these components too.

For extra assist implementing net fonts in your emails, try our information right here.

White House

White area is the clean space round your paragraphs, photographs, and name to motion buttons.

Including ample white area across the components in your e-mail encourages click-throughs by separating them visually from different components in your e-mail and serving to focus the reader’s consideration on them on the proper time. It will probably additionally enhance the legibility of your e-mail and improves the eyes’ potential to observe the content material. Use your finest judgment to make sure your copy and CTA button are separated sufficient to face out, however near sufficient that your readers know they’re linked.

Cell Optimization

Electronic mail opens on cell gadgets simply maintain rising 12 months after 12 months. The newest stats are that over 68% of e-mail opens happen on cell. Making your emails mobile-friendly is less complicated than ever by:

  • Utilizing a mobile-friendly template
  • Hold your topic line brief
  • Use preheader textual content
  • Use minimal physique copy
  • Use one clear and straightforward to click on CTA button (In accordance with a latest MIT examine, the common dimension of an grownup index finger is between 1.6cm and a couple of cm, which interprets to between 45 x 45px and 57 x 57px on a cell system.) A number of CTAs will be complicated and result in overwhelm, which you positively wish to keep away from.
  • Enhance the scale of physique copy if it’s small on desktop emails. (16px is an efficient dimension for cell)
  • Be sure that your photographs aren’t too small or onerous to see when on cell

Coding Cell Emails

In case you are coding your emails, there are two approaches to cell emails: responsive and hybrid.


Responsive makes use of media queries and CSS to override the prevailing types when the e-mail is considered on a small show.

@media display and (max-width: 480px)


Hybrid will get a bit of extra complicated however depends on utilizing a fluid structure that can shrink and develop with the scale of the show. Plus, it doesn’t depend on media queries which is usually a huge bonus in the event you’re concentrating on e-mail purchasers that don’t assist media queries.

CTAs + Bulletproof Buttons

A really perfect CTA button has three fundamental facets that work collectively to create an efficient conversion level for the reader:

  • Copy – be particular and give attention to the profit
  • Design – stands out, appropriately sized, has whitespace round it
  • Placement – the best placement of the CTA button is relative to the complexity of the provide. If the provide is extra complicated, chances are you’ll want extra clarification copy earlier than the CTA.

It’s at all times good to have a pair completely different button varieties for various priorities in your e-mail. For instance, having an orange button with white textual content in your fundamental CTAs and lightweight grey buttons with darkish textual content for secondary components. Nonetheless, it’s necessary to maintain the variety of CTAs to a minimal in your e-mail. Concentrate on the place you need individuals to go and take away any unneeded noise. Listed here are some issues it’s best to take into account when crafting your button:

  • Dimension – Hold your buttons sufficiently big that folks can faucet on them on their telephone. Sometimes meaning round 50 pixels tall.
  • Coloration – Most manufacturers match the colour of their button to their model’s colours, contrasting towards the background colour and the area round it. Hover results (altering colour when one scrolls over) is supported by most e-mail purchasers and is getting used extra usually.
  • Frequency – The variety of buttons you’ve in an e-mail is set by what number of actions are attainable to take. For retailers, that could be a number of merchandise with every have their very own button. For others, that could be only one to give attention to crucial message.
  • Language – The button is there for viewers to take motion, so an lively verb is often used to assist them take that motion.

As a result of many e-mail purchasers will block picture loading by default, designing your buttons as photographs can have a destructive impact. Utilizing a “bulletproof button” (a small snippet of HTML and in-line CSS) will make sure that your button is rendered when photographs are turned off. You should utilize this software to create one:


Test each hyperlink in your e-mail on cell and desktop. Issues to search for embody if it goes to the place you needed it to, does it have UTM monitoring, is it clear within the e-mail that it’s a clickable hyperlink, are any e-mail browsers altering the colour of your hyperlinks?

Additionally, control dates in your e-mail. Although you don’t hyperlink them, Gmail and Apple wish to “assist” by turning them into blue clickable hyperlinks. You should utilize CSS to override the hyperlink fashion to appear like common physique textual content.

The best way to cease Apple from making hyperlinks blue:


It’s frequent to suppose that once you use video in e-mail, that the video will merely play, proper inside the e-mail. That might be a magical factor, very like a rainbow unicorn, however many e-mail purchasers like Gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird, and others don’t assist the technical necessities wanted to play video inside the e-mail.

However over half of e-mail purchasers assist HTML5 so you may positively embed video in your e-mail or many ESPs allow you to have a static picture with a play button that hyperlinks to the hosted model of the video. You may also use an animated GIF as an alternative.

Professional Tip: Use a video thumbnail with a play button or GIF teaser of the video to get extra clicks.


Animated GIFs are an ideal various to utilizing video if you wish to add transferring content material to your emails.

Animated GIF recordsdata can get quite massive the extra animation, frames, and colours there are within the picture. To maintain them as small as attainable, solely animate what it’s essential to animate, maintain it brief, and don’t use each colour within the e-book.

It’s a good suggestion to maintain your GIF file dimension as near 1MB as attainable. Underneath is ideal. Slightly over continues to be okay too.


Perceive your viewers to know what sort of language will work finest. Some subscriber lists are extra formal whereas different are informal and okay with the odd profanity inclusion (tread evenly right here except you might be a hundred percent positive your viewers can deal with it.) Writing a high-performing e-mail marketing campaign isn’t onerous in the event you keep true to your model and optimize the important thing elements of your e-mail.


All the time ship a check of your e-mail to no less than two different individuals who can test your e-mail prime to backside with contemporary eyes and search for typos, grammatical errors and different mishaps. You should utilize this preflight e-mail guidelines to keep away from frequent errors earlier than you push ship.

A/B Testing

A/B testing will be utilized to many elements of your e-mail however the topic line is among the hottest, and straightforward issues to check. Most ESPs make this tremendous easy and embody it as a part of their system.

Email Campaign – A/B Testing – Email Subject Line

Some fascinating issues you may check in your topic traces embody:

  • Size – Check brief topic traces vs. longer topic traces (that is the subject of a lot debate within the advertising and marketing world)
  • Matter – Check two fully completely different matters as the topic line, to see what content material is of most curiosity to subscribers
  • Personalization – Add personalization to similar topic traces to see if a primary identify greeting, for instance, will get a greater response.
  • Promotion/Supply – See what sort of promotion works finest by providing “Free Delivery” vs. “15% Off”

Bonus: CoSchedule, makes use of Marketing campaign Monitor to ship their in style e-mail publication The Content material Advertising Replace. See how they systematically A/B check e-mail topic traces to search out out what works for his or her viewers. And get the free information to A/B testing your campaigns.



Your e-mail will want no less than the deal with of the corporate which is sending it and an unsubscribe hyperlink to be compliant with authorities laws around the globe. Your authorized workforce will most likely wish to add in another data resembling phrases and situations too if it applies to your messaging. It’s at all times good to get a sign-off from a supervisor or counsel to just remember to have every part vital to guard your rights.

Social Hyperlinks

Although it will likely be a small share of clicks out of your e-mail, it’s at all times a finest follow to point out your viewers the place else they’ll observe your organization. Every social media platform has its personal objective, which your e-mail might not be satisfying. Choose those that your organization makes use of probably the most (there’s no want to point out each single social profile your organization has). Social icons that match your branding or the remainder of the e-mail is a pleasant contact.

Be sure you present the distinction of social share vs. social web page icons.


Contemplate together with a hyperlink to obtain your app in case you have one.


Need to unfold the phrase about your services or products? Embrace a referral hyperlink part of your model has an incentive program arrange. It’s module to incorporate in transactional emails.


Contact us or assist hyperlinks. Ask for suggestions in regards to the e-mail. In case your e-mail is a noreply@ then give your prospects a transparent method they need to attain out to you. Reveals model has a buyer assist focus and provides prospects the chance to talk up about their experiences.

BONUS: Electronic mail Design Guidelines

Use the guidelines within the submit together with this e-mail design guidelines for each e-mail marketing campaign you ship.

Email Design Checklist 2

Wrap up

Designing actually good emails is straightforward once you observe the guidelines on this e-mail design information and guidelines. For extra superior e-mail advertising and marketing design suggestions try our assets at Marketing campaign MonitorActually Good Emails.

The submit The Actually Good Information to Electronic mail Design (+ Bonus Guidelines) appeared first on Marketing campaign Monitor.

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