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10 Email Design Principles

A Checklist

March 8, 2020
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Billions of emails end up in web users’ inboxes every day. Although many companies now specialize in harnessing the power of email marketing, most of them still do not follow simple steps to ensure maximum effectiveness. As a result, most of these messages lose a chance to score with their audience,  because of a lack of fine-tuning.

From email specialists to novices to the trade, there are common email design mistakes that occur time and time again. This is because website owners may not know what you want and can’t choose between fast results and good design for their email campaigns. Here’s a list of 10 simple steps to get the most out of your email campaigns through design principles. Applying these will support your message delivery and help your campaigns achieve significant results. If you do nothing else, listen and take action once you are ready.


Nobody likes to say “Hi John” or “Dear Abby”. When I receive an email saying “Hi Mailman”, I am likely to be overwhelmed or annoyed if I do not know the sender. By addressing recipients by their first name, you will see a greater open/click-through rate. This is a simple trick with measurable results.


The fastest way to reduce your chances of being blacklisted is to buy (and sell) user data. Your emails are then flagged as spam, and when your messages get stuck in a junk/spam folder or get lost in hyperspace, and as a result no one opens your messages. The most effective campaigns will be sent to your existing customers and selected from your lists.

Return to the basics

Emails don't need to be complicated. A simple structure and title along with your logo works well for most brands. This is followed by a footnote containing important content, straightforward CTAs with a single key message, and then the company details and required legal information.


You should optimize every email for each device. When users access emails on multiple devices and see different things, you may lose some great opportunities if your emails are not rendered correctly. For example, using multiple columns in your design is a no-no because they don’t look right on small phone screens. Also, if you are using an image and text block, you need to make sure the images are properly sorted before sending them.

Support centers

Modern consumers want to control their relationship with the brand. As a result, you get better engagement from your email marketing campaigns if you open a communication channel. Make sure that every email you send has a link to your support center or that it allows consumers to access their data to update their preferences.


The big thing to remember is to avoid background images. Most email clients on the web, such as Gmail and Outlook, don’t display a background image but a gray block. Also, never rely on visual artifacts as the main way to communicate your message in an email campaign. Some large images are disabled or appear as empty spaces. This may make your contact think you are sending them a blank email, and as a result they will delete it or press the spam button. So it is essential that you use alt tags and keep the copy and CTAs separate.

Phishing Links

Phishing links can make your subscribers distrust your email campaigns. They occur when the target URL hides in the email. Put your links behind the copies, actions and images to encourage your contacts to click.


White space is important when designing your email. It will help to establish that your emails has a roomy layout and the message is easy to comprehend. Adding spacers between blocks and images will make it easier for readers to skim through and separate what they see.

Alt tags

Most email clients disable images when they reach the inbox. The best way to ensure your message is effective even when images are turned off is to make sure that each image has an ALT description tag. Once the recipients know ​​what you are trying to say, they are likely to enable links and images.

Try, try, try again

Testing is a very important step when designing emails. It lets you explore your campaigns not only in email clients but also in the web version of your browser. This allows you to check the stability of your ISP and email clients and resolve the rendering issues before sending your email.

The Mailman

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