How to design aesthetically attractive emails?

Written by: Chris Donald

Published on: 14-03-2019

Chris is Managing Partner at InboxArmy and has more than 25 years of experience in email marketing

Emails happen to be the most effective medium of communication with your customers. Whether you want them to know about your new venture or, want to update them with your new services, sending an email always works.

Imagine receiving an email from your favourite e-commerce store, declaring a Winter sale. Wouldn’t that make you want to click and check out the products? The emails give away a whole load of details on the sale, the type of products you will get to buy and even the discounts you can enjoy during that period. It is short yet complete in its own way.

However, the tough task is to design aesthetic email that grab the attention and win conversions. Here we will take you through the various things that you need to keep in mind when planning visually appealing emails.

Go responsive with your designs

Your audience could open the email anywhere at any point in time. For instance, they could be using their mobile phones and responding to the email. Better still, they could be on their tablets, working on an important presentation.

You need to factor in the various devices the audience uses for the email, and design your emails accordingly. The email should look similar across the devices, and the audience should get a one-brand feeling after seeing these emails.

Make sure you use different font sizes when designing for the different screen sizes. You should also consider sending HTML and text-only versions to the audience, so that they can open the text-only, in case their device prevents them from opening the HTML emails.

Determine the email layout

The layout plays a vital role in making the email aesthetic. Before you begin the design itself, start placing the things on a piece of paper or using the prototype designing tool. You need to define the placements of the content, the images and other materials that will go into the design of your email. Realize the distractions in the emails, and how to get rid of them when planning the layout.

You ought to be clear about the goals to come up with a promising layout. The size of the fonts, the image sizes and even the colour choices are dependent on the design. Make sure you go through several marketing campaigns before coming up with the ideal layout for your email campaign management.

Draft legible content

The content plays a vital role in making your email aesthetic and readable. The material should meet the layout defined earlier. You don’t need to venture into elaborate content to make a point.

Aesthetically Attractive Email - GOBY

You need to remember that not everyone will open the HTML emails. That means you need to work on the content for the text-only emails as well. Make sure you drop in a line break after every 60 words so that the content is readable. Make sure you don’t use long paragraphs or sentences. Short sentences or a two-lined paragraph should be enough to communicate.

Include the essential white space

White space is the best friend for every email that you design. It makes the email design look appealing to the eyes. The whitespace allows the readers to skim through the email, grasp the material in it and even interpret it correctly. Basically, the white space gives enough space to the brain to break down the material and digest the facts.

It also gives your design some room to breathe and conquer the world of email marketing. The use of white space is essential if you want to get some click rates and don’t want your email campaign to be a waste.

Too much or too little of the white space can ruin the design of the emails. You need to use white space wherever you want to emphasize the content & make your email aesthetic.

Determine the visual strategy

The flow of the elements in the email is important from skimming perspective. At a glance, you should be able to communicate the vital message that your email wants to send out. This is why visual strategy is essential.

The shape, size, colours and contrast of the various elements along with their placement is determined in this strategy. You will also specify the colours and the fonts you will use when defining the visual plan.

Use of headers, pre-headers and footers

An email remains incomplete without the proper placement of headers and footers. You should ideally have the space defined for headers and footers. The headers help you grab attention, as they give out as much detail as they can about the email without using too many words.

Apart from the header, the pre-header also plays an important role. It helps give an insight into what the email is about, especially when you open in Gmail, Outlook or the iOS app. It is a 100 character version of the email, which allows you to decide whether you want to open the email or not. This sneak preview plus an identifiable header gets you better chances at achieving your email campaign goals.

Footers help the users know more about you, as that is where you will place all your social channel icons.

Use of proper colors and fonts

The colors are important when you are designing and want to make your email aesthetic for your audience. It should be a direct translation of the theme of your campaign and should let out the mood you have set for the campaign. The messages should relate to the color choices you have made. For instance, black is all about luxury while, blue is tranquillity and integrity.

Apart from colors, you need to pay particular attention to the fonts that you will be using in the email design. The fonts also communicate whether the email is formal, informal, funny, serious etc. The emotion and the gravity of the message are best known for the use of the fonts. You should ideally use 22 pixels for the headline and 14 pixels when working on the body content.

Add impressive images

The design of your emails is incomplete if you have not added some impressive and incredible images, which relate to the message you are communicating. If you want to talk about a product that you have just launched, make sure the picture of the product takes centre stage. You should ideally use approximately 30% of the space available on the email for your images. When adding images to the emails, you should ideally add alt text to help explain the text version of the image, in case the email service provider fails to display images.

Incorporate an actionable CTA

To make the design more compelling, you should add a call-to-action, which helps with your goals and makes the user take action. The content, the font, as well as the size of the button, should be such that it makes the user want to click on it. Align your CTA to the email content to make your email aesthetic & relevant too.

Final Thoughts

Email marketing is not just useful, but also one of the best mediums of communication for your business. The plus side of email marketing is that you are in complete control of all aspects of marketing. Proper research, comprehensive understanding of your audience, and designing the email keeping in mind all these points will help you get a good conversion rate for the emails. Make sure you don’t let your users down and send them relevant and informative content only! Any click baits and you are sure to lose your brand image forever.


About Author

Chris sent his first email campaign in 1995. He’s worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government agencies in all facets of their email marketing and marketing automation programs. He’s also a BIG baseball fan, loves a good steak, and is mildly obsessed with zombie movies. For more information follow him on linkedin

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