Your bulletproof email newsletter design guide

This email newsletter design guide will help you implement some great design fundamentals to complement your company’s overall aesthetic.

Stephen Reilly
4 MIN|August 23, 2017
email newsletter design

Today, we are continuing our series on creating the best version of an email marketing campaign for your business.

We recently looked at filling your emails with the best content; today’s focus is on the importance of how your newsletter looks and the part design plays in driving leads. This best practice guide will help you put in place some great design fundamentals that will go a long way to making sure your email newsletter design complements your company’s overall aesthetic.

Why does email newsletter design matter?

As we discussed in our previous article, the content of your email and marketing in general is something to take very seriously as a company and brand. With the array of different ways current and potential customers can engage with you, your content has more opportunity to ‘speak’ than ever. But how your organisation looks has a profound effect on how your message is perceived, too. Countless studies indicate that as a species we process visual data better and faster than we do from text alone. So it could be argued that email newsletter design is the most important element of your email campaigns.

Visual examples best explain the reasoning behind the importance of email newsletter design. The following are two examples of email marketing. One is of a high standard and the other… not so much. You can decide for yourself which is which:


bad email newsletter design example


The importance of first impressions

Look at the style of the example newsletter A) above. Even if the copy was polished and relevant to you, it probably wouldn’t make much of an impact. Did you know it only takes 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person? Well, the same theory applies to your organisation’s marketing. Your direct marketing, such as a newsletter and other email campaigns, gives a lasting impression of what your business is like. The way your email looks is crucial to making that good first impression. By making the design as pleasing an experience as possible you can ensure that your reader’s experience of your brand will be a positive one.

So, what can you do to make sure your design will let all the other great aspects of your email marketing shine? By following our tips below, you can make sure your message is delivered in the right way.

What to include in email design

Put your important information first

We’ve seen a lot of direct mail and newsletters that wait right until the bottom of the message before presenting their call to action (CTA). We think it’s better to get the most important information of your email up front so it is seen and can immediately be acted upon. Don’t be afraid to make your call to action the first thing your audience sees. But remember that you will also want to include a CTA further down the page where the reader will see it at the right time (surrounded by information relevant to their decision). Getting them down the page is a matter of persuasive copy and effective design.

email newsletter designSource

Adopt a mobile-first mindset

It’s 2017, and email marketers cannot afford to ignore the power of smartphones and tablets. Research in 2015 about email on mobile devices found that over a quarter of all B2B emails were opened on a mobile device. If your email isn’t responsive, you can expect your open rates will suffer. Badly.

Design around the subject matter

What are you trying to say and is your design aiding or hindering your message? Your message need to come first and, based on what it is, will inform how it’s visually represented.

Colour scheme

We experience the world in colour and reactions can be predicted based on different colours. Your company likely has colour codes in their brand guidelines. Your email colour palette should match. Alternatively, you could go for colours that match up with any images you want to include.

Use white space & line breaks

Boost your design clarity by using white space to contrast with more text-heavy parts of your design.

No design department?

If you are reading this post, sweating about how you’re going to free up some funds for a designer in your marketing team, fear not. There are plenty of options when it comes to third-party tools and solutions that enable you to build a great email campaign yourself and in good time too. Tools like MailChimp, for example, include plenty of ready-made templates to choose from as well as a campaign builder that uses a simple drag and drop design. Your designs are automatically fully responsive, and you can see what they look like on a mobile device with the click of a button. While trying to incorporate all these design tips and best practice can seem daunting, the right email builder can make the design aspect of the email easier, so you can focus all your efforts on making your content convert.

Find out more

When it comes to email marketing, your success is all in the numbers: the open, click-through and subscription rates. And it takes more than simply good design to make these numbers grow and pay dividends.

At Fifty Five and Five, our in-house design team work hand in hand with our content copywriters to create email campaigns that stand out from both a visual and copy writing perspective. If you’d like to see how we do it, get in touch with us today.