Email Design Basics for Non-Designers

Designing eye-catching emails can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not a professional designer. Let’s talk about how to create visually appealing and effective email campaigns that will captivate your audience. In this article, we’ve compiled five friendly and easy-to-follow tips that will make your emails stand out from the crowd. Let’s dive in!

  1. Keep it Simple and Clean: When it comes to email design, simplicity is key. Avoid cluttering your emails with excessive text or too many images. Instead, opt for a clean and organized layout that highlights your key message. Break up the content into digestible sections with clear headings and subheadings, making it easy for your readers to skim through and find what they’re looking for.
  2. Choose a Cohesive Color Palette: Colors play a significant role in evoking emotions and creating a cohesive brand identity. Select a color palette that aligns with your business’s branding and use it consistently across your emails. Stick to two or three primary colors and complement them with neutral shades for balance. Remember, a well-chosen color scheme can make your emails visually appealing and reinforce your brand’s recognition.
  3. Optimize for Mobile Devices: With the majority of people checking their emails on mobile devices, it’s crucial to ensure your designs are mobile-friendly. Use a responsive email template that adapts to different screen sizes automatically. Keep your font size large enough to read on small screens, and use buttons or links that are easy to tap with a finger. By optimizing for mobile, you’ll reach a wider audience and improve the overall user experience. If you use iContact as your email marketing provider, this is handled automatically for you!
  4. Incorporate Engaging Visuals: Visual elements such as images, videos, or infographics can significantly enhance the impact of your emails. Include relevant visuals that support your message and capture attention. However, remember to balance the use of visuals with text to maintain a good user experience, as some email clients may block images by default. Use alt text to describe your images, ensuring your message is still conveyed even if the images are not visible.
  5. Add a Clear Call to Action: Every email should have a purpose, whether it’s to drive sales, encourage sign-ups, or promote an event. Make your call to action (CTA) prominent and compelling. Use action-oriented words and position the CTA button or link where it’s easily visible. Additionally, create a sense of urgency by incorporating time-limited offers or limited availability to motivate your readers to take action.

Designing captivating emails doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these tips, you can create visually appealing and effective email campaigns that will make your brand shine. Remember to keep your design simple, use a cohesive color palette, optimize for mobile, incorporate engaging visuals, and add clear calls to action. Happy designing, and may your email campaigns be a huge success!


  • Hank Hoffmeier

    Hank is an author, speaker, podcast host and Sr. Manager of Marketing Operations at Kickbox, a Ziff Davis company. With a passion for all things digital and social, combined with more than 25 years of experience in sales and marketing, he has been dubbed the Digital Marketing Infotainer because he makes marketing fun and successful.