The quality of email design is essential for successful marketing campaigns. Checking their emails is the first thing many people do when they wake up in the morning and the last thing they do when they go to bed at night. We get dozens of emails every day, we often don’t even have time to read them all.
A well-designed email can help maintain the reader’s attention and motivate them to take action.
An effective email design is relatable to your organization’s target audience and navigates their attention to the main points in your email. An effective email helps you reach your audience straight away and convince them to take action toward your campaign goal.
In what follows, I’ve put together in-depth but simple instructions for creating an effective email design.
The email design should closely follow your company’s visual identity. The reader should be able to identify your brand instantly. Also, make sure your email template is simple and aesthetically pleasing. Consider using the following visual identity elements:
- Logo: The logo should be clear, simple, and large enough to be recognizable by the reader. I think the best place for the logo is the top of the email.
- Imagery: People may ignore the text, but they stop when they see an engaging image. Choose a compelling image in the email design and all other marketing mediums. Both iStock and the company’s imagery are great sources. Just make sure the image creates the right connection with your audience.
What are essential factors for choosing great imagery? Here is a list:
- The colors in the photo should be rich and even, with no texture or grain.
- The photo should communicate with the audience.
- Showing emotion: Images showing emotional expressions will connect and engage more with the audience.
- A low-resolution image will look pixelated and unprofessional. The quality of the image should follow the features below:
- Resolution: 72 PPI
- Dimension: Not smaller than 1200px
- Format: JPEG, PNG, GIF, or MP4
- Typography: Ideally, you should not use more than two fonts. Choose fonts compatible with email communication—one font for the header and calls to action (CTAs and the other for body text.
- Color: It is important that the color used in the email be on-brand. You can read more about color theory here. A useful website for checking color visibility is whocanuse.com. You can insert the HEX number for the color of the text and background on the website, and it reports whether the colors pass the visibility test. (Image-1)
Your email layout should help your audience digest the content of your email quickly. Using proper layout can help your readers scan the email faster. Proper layout guides the reader’s attention to the focal points in the email. Good design helps the reader understand your points without using too much brainpower. On the other hand, too much information makes your audience feel overwhelmed. Consider using supporting links in your email for the interested audience to keep your email brief.
There are three different styles in email layout: one-column, inverted pyramid, and zig-zag. The single-column layout is the most popular in email design. In this layout, your content has a set order and hierarchy. (Image-2)
The inverted pyramid layout guides the reader’s attention from the header toward the CTA. In the inverted pyramid layout, important content will be at the top of the email, and then the remaining contents narrow to the bottom toward the CTA. The idea is that we want to make sure the reader at least sees the most important message and the pledge to take action. (Image-3)
Zig-zag is another interesting design layout. It guides your reader’s attention from one side of the email to the other and motivates them to scroll down to the bottom of the email and the CTA button. (Image-4)
It is a good idea to create a custom template and save it for future marketing campaign emails. The email template should consist of the header, CTA, body copy, email signature, and footer. When placing these elements in the template, maintain sufficient breathing space (white space) between the components. White space improves the readability of your email and helps the audience follow the content in the desired order. You should also be careful about email width. The most common email width that displays the email correctly on most devices is 600px or a max of 640px.
The CTA button should be bold and clearly visible. You don’t want to lose the engagement of any interested audience just because they could not find the CTA button.
The CTA button can stand out among the whole contents of the email with the proper size, color, and whitespace around it.
The button’s size is important, especially when people open their email on their mobile devices. The height of the CTA should be at least 50 pixels, and the color of the CTA should have enough contrast against the background color. The ideal location for the primary CTA is after the header. For the secondary CTA, it can be in the body copy or before the footer.
The quantity of CTA buttons in an email depends on how many actions you want the viewer to take. Don’t include too many buttons, because that would confuse your viewers. Also note that f your CTAs are part of the header’s image or any images in the email layout, you need to consider that images are often automatically blocked in email inboxes. Having separate calls to action is usually the best strategy.
Another important part of the email template is the footer. Here are a few suggestions for the content you can include in the footer.
- The name, address, and contact number of your company
- The link to your website and your social media accounts
- The Unsubscribe link
Lastly, the email design should be adaptive to all kinds of devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile devices). A responsive email design is readable, well-functioning, user-friendly, and engaging on small and large screens. There is more to say on this, but I leave that for another blog post. Before I go, here is a downloadable template from our team at the Donlon Agency.