If you’re a designer or developer who at one point had to create emails, you probably know there are numerous challenges.
Often, email clients like Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc have different ways of interpreting the code and your emails can show up looking completely different depending on where it gets opened.
Furthermore, there are many more limitations when it comes to coding email compared to a regular web page. Long after tables stopped being used to layout web pages, emails still rely on them to ensure the layout doesn’t break down.
Fortunately, in the past few years, the rules have been changing and more mail clients have been adding support for cascading styles. It’s now becoming easier to code emails and make them look good on all types of devices including tablets and phones.
However, when designing and coding emails, it’s still important to keep in mind all the limitations that still exist if you want your email show up correctly.
Many inexperienced designers learn this the hard way when they find out that even though their emails looked great in Gmail, in Outlook they showed up completely broken.
Responsive Email Design Best Practices
When designing emails, designers need to pay close attention to how the email will look when viewed on different devices and by different email clients. Every popular email client such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Outlook supports responsive design, so it’s important to code emails to ensure they look good and are easy to read regardless of the screen size.
Responsive Email Design Best Practices
1. Use a simple one-column layout.
The most basic and common design for responsive email is one where the content stretches across the entire width of the screen, with no columns or sidebars. This is because it’s easier to read on any device and also gives you more space to work with when writing your copy and designing elements like images and buttons.
2. Keep your content scannable
When writing for email, the goal is to keep your readers engaged and interested. One way to do this is by making your copy scannable, so that users can quickly scan through a message and get the information they need.
Make sure your emails are organized with headings and sub-headings. Use these headings to break up paragraphs into sections of text that can be scanned. It’s okay if some of these sections are only a single line—you want users to be able to find what they need quickly in an email without having to read everything before finding it.
Another way you can make your emails scannable is by using lists or bullets: Instead of saying “I bought groceries at the supermarket,” say “I bought groceries at the supermarket: milk, bread, cheese.” This makes it easier for users who want only certain information without having to read everything else first (like me).
You also want those important points highlighted with bold or italic text—this helps draw attention toward those key matters so users don’t miss anything important when scanning through their messages!
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#3 Make buttons large and obvious.
Make buttons large and easy to click.
Have you ever tried to tap a small button on an iPhone? It’s not fun. When it comes to responsive design, we can’t just make our site look good on a big screen; we also have to make sure it looks good on small screens as well. This means making sure that your buttons are big enough for users to see, touch and read—even when they’re using their thumbs for their mobile devices.
#4. Use plenty of whitespace
One of the best ways to make your emails more readable is to use white space. The importance of whitespace can’t be underestimated. Whitespace is a critical component of website design. It makes it easier for your recipients’ eyes to scan and digest the content, and can also improve readability.
If you’re sending an email with a lot of text, adding some white space between sections helps separate them visually and makes it easier for readers to focus on each section individually. If you use tables in your email design, adding some padding between rows will help improve readability as well:
#5. Consider including a view-in-browser link.
A view-in-browser link is a link to the same email in an actual web browser. This allows users to see how your email looks on mobile and desktop, which can be useful for testing responsive design. If you’re using a responsive design, the view-in-browser link will allow you to see how your email looks on different devices and browsers—and it will also show you if there are any bugs or browser incompatibilities that need fixing before sending it out.
#6 Test, test, test!
Most email companies let you preview for both desktop and mobile. So test before you send it out to make sure it looks good.
To help you create visually beautiful, high-performing emails, we put together a list of helpful resources to get you inspired. Some of the links you’ll find here include email marketing galleries, tips on how to create gorgeous emails, email marketing trends, and links to free email marketing templates you can download. More resources will be added so please bookmark and share this list.
Get Inspiration from Newsletter Design Galleries
Really Good Emails
If you’re looking to draw inspiration from top-performing emails, take a look at Really Good Emails website. They not only top-performing emails but also let you look at how they were coded. This website is a great source of inspiration for all types of emails. You can find emails broken down into different categories so whatever email you need to create, you’ll be able to browse great examples to get your creative juices flowing.
Campaign Monitor Email Gallery
Campaign Monitor put together a nice selection of inspiring and effective email marketing campaigns. Categories include Marketing offers, regular newsletters, announcements, and events.
HTML Email Designs.
Another gallery with Beautiful emails to help inspire your next email design. You can submit your own if you like to be considered for inclusion.
Categorized gallery where you can filter emails by layout, color scheme and industry.
Beautiful Email Newsletters
Another nice gallery where you can filter email by type and industry.
Pinterest Curated Emails
Check out a nice collection from Curated Emails. They’re not categorized, but scanning emails will help you to brainstorm and get inspired.
Mailer Lite Email Newsletter and Design Gallery
Mailer Lite is one of the best email services that we covered in our best email marketing companies list
But they also have a wonderful blog and a nicely curated gallery of gorgeous emails. You can sort by industry to help you narrow down the options.
Email Design Examples and Practices
Learn about email marketing layout best practices. See what newsletters stand out from the rest. Browse responsive email design examples and email how-to guides and tutorials.
16 Best Email Design Examples.
This post on Medium from UX Planet shows beautiful examples of emails and breaks them down to why they work. To create a beautiful email you need to play with color, get creative with animations, and keep it simple.
The Ultimate Guide to Email Design
This is a long guide from Web Design Depot covering the best email design practices. They include many tips, recommendations and examples.
50 of the Best Email Marketing Designs from Canva
This one is from Canva. Canva posts are always detailed with lots of examples and this guide is not an exception. Learn from beautiful emails and see why they work and what you can do to spice up your emails.
Get Inspired Now With 21 Examples of Awesome Email Marketing
CoSchedule put together a nice list and examples of well-designed emails. They include many useful tips and break it down why these emails work and what you can do to emulate and improve your designs.
Email Newsletter Directories
These are websites where you can find, preview and subscribe to popular newsletters.
If you looking for the handpicked newsletters you can browse and subscribe, this is a great website for this. They list popular newsletters by industry. You can browse and see the content of each newsletter before you subscribe. This way you won’t get any duds and will see exactly what you’ll get when you subscribe.
Flywheel List of Top Email Newsletters for Web Designers
The best email newsletters every web designer should follow. This list was published in 2017, but all the newsletter on the list are just as popular and recommended in 2019. Many newsletters on the list I personally subscribe and can highly recommend. These include newsletters from Sitepoint, Hackers NewsLetter, Millo, Yoast and many more.
Download Free Email Templates
If you prefer to download email templates instead of creating your own, there are many places that include free email templates you can download. Below are some of the websites where you can grab templates you can modify to use for your email marketing campaigns
30 Free Responsive Email and Newsletter Templates from SpeckyBoy
A nice collection of responsive email templates you can use.
Designs Maz List of Responsive HTML Email Templates 2019
Litmus List of HTML Templates
Free Email Templates from Litmus. Categorized templates you can download and use.
HubSpot List of Sites with Downloadable Email Templates
Hubspot created a list of sites offering responsive email templates. If you want to find more places offering responsive templates this is a great list for this.
Email marketing is a great way to stay connected to your audience and keep in touch with followers and customers. But you must keep in mind that your emails represent who you are, your brand and your business. That’s why you need to design emails your subscribers will enjoy and look forward to receiving each time. You need to research, study and learn from other successful newsletters so you can implement the strategies they use and apply them to your emails.
Hopefully, some of the resources listed in this guide will help you achieve your email marketing goals and help your email grow over time.
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