Email Design: The Ultimate Guide For 2024 [+Best Practices]

Email Design: The Ultimate Guide For 2024 [+Best Practices]

Published By Alexandra Marinaki
December 6, 2023

If you’re already aware of the importance of email marketing and ready to create campaigns that no one can forget, look no further!

In this guide, you’ll learn all things email design to craft beautiful campaigns that stand out from the competition. In short, you’ll find:

  • The benefits of focusing on email design
  • Basic email types and elements
  • Best practices and email marketing tools with unique design capabilities
  • Top email design examples for inspiration

Let’s start with a brief definition!

email marketing software
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What Is Email Design?

Email design is the process of designing emails to attract and nurture your target audience and, in most cases, motivate them to complete a particular action. The goal is to build engaging emails that leave a lasting impression.

For example, creating the email layout and picking the right imagery or GIFs is part of the design process. Business owners and marketers should approach email design strategically, as they can reap its fruits in the long run.

Why Is Email Design Important?

Here are the main benefits of a successful email design process:

  • Contributes to brand awareness efforts
  • Nurtures your target audience and increases conversions/sales
  • Helps you spread information about your products/services
  • Enables you to build authority in your niche market
  • Improves your ROI over time

Overall, the email marketing ROI is $42 for every dollar spent, so designing beautiful and meaningful emails is key to reaching and sustaining this metric.

email design

Email Design Types

What are the most common email types you can build for customers and prospects? Let’s have a look:

Plain Text

This is the simplest email form that is text-only. It doesn’t include any visual enhancements or formatting. Even though it may look more personal, eCommerce businesses usually avoid it as they lack brand identity and can easily get overlooked.

Here’s an example from a retail brand:

plan text email example


These email types consist of more engaging content and are created using HTML or CSS language. For example, you can include graphics, buttons, GIFs, and embedded videos to offer an optimal user experience. Most email marketers craft them using drag-and-drop editors or ready-made email templates from platforms like Moosend or Mailchimp.

Here’s an amazing example by Chipotle:

email example by Chipotle


Finally, interactive emails go one step further, allowing users to interact with particular email elements to complete an action, such as rate a service, quiz, or checkout. You can create them using Javascript; however, marketers often skip them as some email clients don’t support them. Yet, they’re going to win more ground in the future.

Look at this example from Disney+:

interactive email type by Disney+

10 Top Email Design Elements For Compelling Campaigns

Ready to learn how to nail your email newsletter design? We’ll present you with the essential elements you should take extra care of to maximize click-through rates:

1. Layout

First, you need to build an email structure that helps recipients spot the different parts of your email quickly. Most HTML email campaigns start with a header that includes the company logo. You can also place a link to your main site, create a title to announce the email content, or add imagery that will steal the show.

Next is the “main body,” which serves the main purpose of your campaign. There are many layouts, single or multi-column, to choose from based on the email content you’d like to share with your audience. Here are some examples from Moosend’s email templates for each scenario:

Inverted pyramid: It enables you to eliminate distractions and lead your readers to the call to action faster.

inverted email template example

Zig-zag: This layout helps you show readers a lot of information without wasting space and disrupting their concentration.

Moosend zig-zag layout

F-shaped: The perfect email structure for cart abandonment emails and similar campaigns to share a few but meaningful info and boost conversions.

email layout example

Finally, you need to create the email footer, which we present extensively in the next section. Overall, design or pick a customizable template that will let you stay on-brand and show your email content to readers in the best possible way. Also, use white space to help readers concentrate on what matters.

If you liked our templates above, sign up for a free Moosend account and explore our amazing HTML email template library with designs for all tastes.

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2. Email Footer

At the bottom of each HTLM email campaign, there should be an email footer. Effective email footers include:

  • Social media buttons
  • Unsubscribe link
  • Preference center
  • Legal/privacy note
  • Contact information

Overall, you should share important information about your company that may be valuable to your customers to improve their experience. Plus, by allowing them to unsubscribe, you emphasize their free will and reduce possible spam rates.

Finally, adding a different background color is best to distinguish it from the rest of the content you’d like to attract more attention.

Here’s a compelling footer example from an email newsletter by Zwift with all the necessary information:

Zwift email footer

3. CTA

One of the most important elements of your email marketing design is the call-to-action button (CTA). It’s the magic pathway to the desired action you want your visitors to take and will lead them to a new page.

Even though you can place more than one CTAs in a single campaign, it’s best to keep the primary one closer to the top, designed in a way that stands out. Pick a unique color from your color palette and combine it with actionable copy to increase click-through rates.

As for secondary CTA buttons, you can demonstrate them in lighter options of your color scheme or make them smaller if needed. Overall, it’s best to stick to a particular action; otherwise, you may confuse or overwhelm your readers and bring diverse effects.

Here’s how Everlane approached this case:

Everlane email newsletter

4. Imagery

Let’s move to the next creative part that will help you build beautiful email marketing campaigns – the visual. The above examples show the importance of adding unique and relevant images to send the right messages to your audience.

So the design should be an essential part of your email marketing strategy. Apart from visuals, you can embed animated GIFs, or videos to make them more interactive. You can also include clever emojis in your email copy to make it more fun.

Generally, opt for PNG or JPEG formats for images and GIFs or APNGs for animations. Moreover, it’s best to decompress the size files using tools like TinyPNG to reduce loading time and ensure optimal user experience for all ESPs.

Finally, ensure that your images perfectly suit your brand’s colors to showcase your identity and activate your subscribers’ creative flair.

See how HOKA did it:

HOKA email design example

Moosend makes adding images, videos, and GIFs to your email campaigns a piece of cake. Pick one of our ready-made templates and customize it based on your needs.

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5. Typography

There are many email fonts to share your messages. However, it’s best to avoid more fancy options and use simpler fonts to eliminate the noise. For example:

  • Arial
  • Helvetica
  • Georgia
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman

best fonts for emails

Spot the best option for your brand that will help you portray your copy in the best way possible. Use Bold and Italics in moderation, only if they have something meaningful to show. Moreover, you can experiment with different headings to help readers navigate faster through your campaign.

6. Copy

Your email copy should complement your email style and design. Keep it straightforward and add spacing to make it easy to read. As shared previously, use headings wisely to create an optimal user experience.

In addition, if you use links inside your copy, ensure that the color of the hyperlinked text aligns with the rest of the design and that it’s easily recognizable and accessible by readers.

Email Design Best Practices

Now that you know what good email design consists of, here are some more tips for marketers who want to create unique campaigns that steal the show:

1. Showcase Your Brand

Every email campaign you send is a brand asset, so you should customize it to the max. Align your style with other marketing resources, such as landing pages and social media posts, to create a consistent user experience and help customers form the right expectations.

As mentioned earlier, you can use email builders with ready-made newsletter templates and optimize each campaign. Use your color palette and tone of voice to let subscribers understand your mission and values.

In addition, if your CTA buttons lead to landing pages, keeping the branding consistent is vital, as readers may get confused and bounce back before they complete the desired action.

So when you craft your next campaign, think about Starbucks. The brand logo, colors, and copy style are easy to recognize and hard to forget:

Starbucks email newsletter

2. Ensure Mobile Responsiveness

According to Statista, in 2022, 55% of website traffic originated from mobile devices. However, one in five campaigns is not optimized for mobile devices, which can lead to poor user experience for your audience.

Therefore, you need to create responsive emails that will be readable on all devices. Let’s explore some quick tips to apply for starters:

  • Shorten your subject line: To optimize your subject line for Android and iPhone users, stick to 25-30 characters.
  • Write clear preview text: Keep your preheader text short and ensure all essential details are at the beginning.
  • Write the plain text: Create a plain text format for devices and email clients that don’t read images to avoid compromising your email quality.
  • Create concise copy: People find it hard to read long text forms on smaller screen sizes as they’re usually in a hurry.
  • Mind your CTAs: Make them at least 44×44 pixels to stand out from the rest of the text.
  • Test for different tools: Find a tool that helps you find the performance for different devices.

For example, when browsing Moosend’s email templates, you can check the mobile version to see how it looks. You can also double-check when creating your campaign to ensure maximum results.

responsive email design

3. Personalize Your Campaigns

Personalized marketing is at the core of customer communications, as consumers prefer brands that consider their preferences and needs. Email segmentation and automation help marketers send more targeted messages to subscribers to increase conversions.

By using dynamic content, you can also personalize the design elements of your campaign to make it more attractive to different users. For example, you send different emails based on demographics, such as gender or location.

Check the example below for reference:

dynamic content example


4. Make Emails Accessible

Finally, to ensure everyone can read your email campaign, it’s essential to make them accessible by optimizing their readability and design. Here are some tips to make it happen:

  • Choose simple fonts: Avoid italics and excessive underlining, which could hinder readability.
  • Use contrasting colors: Enhance readability for visually impaired subscribers.
  • Add alt text to images: Provide comprehensive descriptions of images for disabled users with access to text-to-speech software or screen readers.
  • Use inclusive language: Write your copy in simple gender-neutral language and avoid jargon and sophisticated words.

inclusive language in marketing

5. Try A/B Testing

If you want to test different email design elements to see which resonates best with your audience, you can utilize A/B Testing.

This method helps you compare two different email version elements and send the winning option to most of your email subscribers. For example, you can test CTA buttons, images, or subject lines. In a nutshell, this is a powerful tool for every marketer and designer who wants to deliver an impeccable experience to subscribers.

AB Testing

Popular Email Design Tools

Are you looking for practical tools to elevate your email marketing design? Check out these platforms:

1. Moosend

Moosend emai marketing platform

Moosend is an all-in-one email marketing platform with excellent design capabilities. You can pick one of its 75+ HTML templates for every occasion and customize them the drag-and-drop way.

Moosend’s templates are mobile-friendly, with slick layouts to enhance readability and conversions. You can upload your own files and brand assets, and customize them to the fullest. Finally, you can save your templates for future use if needed.

Moosend's email editor

Overall, this is an excellent and scalable option to streamline all your email marketing efforts at a low price, starting at $9/monthly. All things email marketing are included – from segmentation and automation to signup forms and landing pages.

2. Stripo

Stripo email template library

Stripo is an HTML email builder you can easily integrate with your ESP to deliver beautiful campaigns to your audience. It offers a drag-and-drop editor and over 1150 templates suitable for different industries.

You can start with a free account with limited capabilities and switch to the $15/month for one user, 50 exports, and tests.

3. Mailchimp

Mailchimp homepage

Mailchimp doesn’t need an introduction to the email marketing world. Ιt’s an inclusive email automation platform that enables readers to design beautiful campaigns in simple steps.

This email service also has a drag-and-drop builder and provides users with 100 premade templates that are easily customizable. When upgrading to a paid plan, you can also import your custom templates. However, even though it’s an effective tool, it’s expensive compared to similar platforms.

4. Unlayer

Unlayer email templates

As a final option, we present Unlayer, another email editing tool with many email templates for different industries. You can design the templates and add them to your application. Apart from ready-made templates and a drag-and-drop builder, it has dynamic content features and custom file storage.

Their free plan has minimal capabilities, while the paid one starts at $20/month.

5 Popular Email Design Examples From Top Brands

Let’s explore five amazing campaigns with responsive design that check all the boxes:

1. Canva Welcome Email Design Example

Subject Line: Welcome to Canva

Canva email design example

The design platform Canva knew exactly how to attract their reader’s attention at first glance. They started with a short message followed by a clear CTA that directs users straight to the platform to get to work.

In this newsletter, they’ve also included two attractive images; the one on top emphasizes the creative process, and the second is a snapshot of the platform. They’ve also added a short copy with the biggest assets of the tool and a second call-to-action with the same destination.

Finally, readers can find the company’s main details on the email footer, two important links including an unsubscribe button, and social media icons for deeper nurturing.

2. Moschino’s Cart Abandonment Email Design Example

Subject Line: You left something behind

email design example by MOSCHINO

Cart abandonment newsletters receive high open and click-through rates, that’s why email marketers should pay extra attention when creating them. This great example by MOSCHINO shows it all.

The newsletter starts with a captivating fashion image followed by a CTA leading consumers to the checkout page. It continues with the products they left in their cart and some information regarding benefits to motivate customers to act fast. As you can see, this email has two call-to-action buttons in different colors and placements to increase click-through rates.

3. Atoms’ Special Sale Email Design Example

Subject line: Ending tonight: 15% off for Back 2 School

Atoms newsletter example

You don’t always have to go the extra mile to deliver a spotless and converting email campaign. Atoms designed a short, straightforward newsletter to get the readers to the point – the discount code.

For that purpose, they decided to portray a shiny pair of shoes surrounded by cute design elements emphasizing the back-to-school theme. Instead of a CTA button, they added the special code at a profound place so that no one missed it and provided information on how to claim it.

4. MeUndies Confirmation Email Design Example

Subject line: Your Order Has Shipped 📪

MeUndies confirmation email design

Who said that confirmation emails should be plain and dull? Even though the copy is the key to these types of emails, you can also cleverly demonstrate your brand as MeUndies did.

In short, they’ve added the brand’s main colors and a referral program with a simple product image after the shipping information. Finally, they’ve added creative design elements and copy lines on the email footer to nurture customers even more.

5. Lyft Feedback Collection Email Example

Subject Line: Enter to win a gift card for feedback

Lyft email campaign example

For last, we saved another simple campaign by Lyft that does the trick. The yellow background helps the rest of the design elements pop out, including the CTA button.

So if you want to create a similar campaign, create a more straightforward format to help the important parts stand out and avoid noisy layouts.

The Takeaways

Long story short, email design and copy are substantial for the success of your email campaigns. All you need to do is pick the right tools and unveil your creativity to build campaigns that stand out from the competition.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one email marketing platform with exceptional design features and ready-made templates for all tastes, sign up for a Moosend account today and get started.

Email Design FAQs

Let’s see a quick round of frequently asked questions about email design:

1. How do you design an email?

You need to create a clear layout with a distinct header, main body, and email footer and place your design elements and copy strategically to stand out.

2. What makes a great email design?

A great email campaign consists of branded visual elements and a clear layout with margins that reduce unnecessary noise.

3. How do I customize my email design?

Add your logo, brand colors, and an email footer with information about your company, such as your website, contact information, etc.

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