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8 | Minute Read

Do you want an email design that not only looks amazing but also converts?

Yes, we all do.

Having a great email design is super important. That’s why we have put together a shortlist of Swift Digital’s top 10 email designs and best practices for all of the moving parts of your email design. We also have a  bonus email marketing cheat sheet for you to download.

What is Email Design?

Email design is the process of planning, scoping out and strategising the design of an email. The design process will consider the organisation’s personas, target audience, segments, subscriber interests and will be sent to the organisation’s email subscriber list.

Email Marketing Cheat Sheet

Avoid those common email marketing mistakes, download our Email Marketing Mistakes Cheat Sheet Today!
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10 Top Tips For The Perfect Email Design

Your email design should be clean, attention-grabbing and designed in a way that makes the reader want to continue reading, click on a CTA and look forward to your next one!

1. Plan For No Images

Most email clients will block images in emails and often give the recipient the option to ‘Download Images’.
This means you need to plan your email design in a way that can still be interpreted without the images.
Make sure your email design’s body copy and headlines are interesting and targeted. If you do use images in your email design make sure you add descriptive alt tags to them which will display when images are turned off.

Top tip! Use persuasive content and headlines which make your reader want to download your images.

2. Prominent CTA

Make sure your email design includes clear and big CTA’s.

The CTA’s in your email design should make people want to click on them and designed in a way that makes them stand out and direct the reader’s eye.

Make sure you use a colour that works with your branding, a powerful block colour is advised or a bold outline.

It is important that the CTA’s in your email design look like they are clickable. You don’t want your readers thinking they aren’t there to be clicked.

Use persuasive language in your CTA’s e.g. Find Out More, Learn More, Download Your Guide

3. Three Column Rule

Most email clients display emails at 600px in width, give or take. A great email design tip is to use 2-3 columns in your email to compliment this, side by side for maximum visual impact! 😀

4. Test It On The Go

Test, test, test your email design as you build it.

This way you will be able to see if your email design is looking just as great across each email client as it is in the editor.

The Swift Digital Suite allows you to test email designs to any email client or address and you can send as many as you want until it looks perfect.

Also, try using a testing QA platform like Email on Acid and Litmus

5. Make Use Of White Space (Padding)

This top email design team actually comes from our Swift Digital email design team.
Our email design team have been building and designing emails for over 10 years and this is one of their top tips.
“Consider using padding and white space to make content stand out. If there’s a lot of content and no spacing it can make an email look busy and cluttered and difficult to read.”

6. Keep Message Focussed

  • What is the aim of your email?

  • Who is the focus of your email?

  • Who is the target audience of your email?

  • What are they interested in?

  • Who are the personas of your email?

Before designing and building your emails, it is important that you have identified the message of your email. Once established, stick to it.

7. Keep Copy Short and Sweet

Sometimes less is more when it comes to email design. If somebody receives a long email, the likelihood is that they aren’t going to read it. Get to your point, and quickly!

8. Visual Hierarchy

Plan and maintain a visual hierarchy for your emails. Your subscribers aren’t going to read your email from start ’til end; keep your email design easy to scan.

Use the first fold (above) for the most important information in your email design.

Studies show that readers eyes are more attracted to imagery than text, even if the text is very large and somewhat important.

Be sure to use striking, good quality imagery towards the beginning of your email design and text directly below the headline.

9. Experiment With Fonts

Although very tempting to use fancy fonts, web-embedded fonts won’t show up on your emails, which means your content won’t look exactly how you want it to. For body copy, stick to the basics like, Times New Roman, Tahoma, Arial, Verdana, Courier and Georgia.
Top tip! Font size 14 to 16 is favourable with email designs.

10. Embrace Emojis

Most email clients now display emojis in emails, so why not give them a go in your next email design. 😀  👩 🦄
Sure, they may seem like they may be a little unprofessional or not necessary but whilst this may be true for some industries, others are a great addition and something a lot of people are familiar with.
Emojis in emails are considered to have more value. For your next email, convey some emotion by adding an emoji to the body of the subject line or in the introduction.

3 Tips To Help You Craft Beautiful Marketing Emails

1. Encourage User Engagement

First impressions count, so make sure you include your most important information near the top of the email and start with something that will grab the reader’s attention such as a sale or offer.

Using eye-catching, high-quality images or graphics with bright colours and bold text can help to focus the attention on this area and guide the user through the email.

Most people don’t read emails (especially marketing emails) thoroughly, but instead, they scan through them quickly. For this reason, you need to design your emails to be scannable. Use small blocks of text, headings, bullet points, and try to keep your email as short as possible.


Don’t forget your links – feel free to include lots of links in your email so that if the reader decides to click an image or header, as well as a contextual link, they’ll go somewhere. Create optimised landing pages for your email links and make sure you include your social profiles at the bottom.

2. Create a Clear CTA

A clear call to action is vital in your email so that readers know exactly what to do next.

Don’t bury your CTA in content – make sure it’s bold and clear. You can highlight your CTA with arrows, buttons, or boxes to draw the reader’s eye to the right place.

Your CTA is also vital for measuring the impact and effectiveness of your email campaign, so make sure it’s clear if you want people to click, call, or do something else.

Don’t put too many CTAs in your email – if you’re linking out to multiple products you might have multiple CTA buttons, but otherwise stick to one clear message.

3. Layout is Everything

The layout of your email is just as important as the content, if not more so.

You should guide the user through your email from top to bottom visually, drawing the eye to any CTA’s or focal areas as they go.

Break up the text further if attractive visual content such as graphics, illustrations, typography, and photographic images. Don’t forget to include plenty of white space.

Make sure you use suitable images that support your content and branding. You should also always include your brand logo at the top of every email and use your brand colours for design elements where appropriate.

3 Things Netflix Can Teach You About Engaging Email Content

1. Images Win the Day

According to Netflix, 82% of the time a user spends browsing is spent viewing images.

They report that users spend as little as 1.8 seconds viewing the title or description.

This gives the preview image a much greater impact than the associated text. While choosing a movie is different to scrolling through your inbox, it’s important to keep in mind that we are very visual beings and parse images much faster than text.

2. High-Resolution = Higher Engagement

A better quality image – high-resolution, saved for the web, with an appropriate aspect ratio – means more video views. This one is a no-brainer.

If the images are the heroes in your content, you need to ensure they’re bold and beautiful.

This is particularly true for any logos and brand elements. Email Composer, the new module and content editor in the Suite, can automatically resize your images for both desktop and mobile.

3. Less is More

Interestingly, despite the popularity of ensemble movies and TV shows, Netflix also found that images composed of more than three people were far less popular.

Where you’re working with smaller image size, consider keeping the composition of your hero images relatively simple.

However, simple doesn’t have to mean boring. Images of people with complex or interesting facial expressions brought in higher levels of engagement.

Innate recognition of emotion from facial expression enables users to pick up on the compelling tone and feel of the content.

Harness the Power of Email Marketing

It’s one thing to commit to a piece of software that has all the functionality and features you desire, but it’s another thing completely to find software that stores your data legally and securely.

Is your business currently using email as part of your marketing strategy? Do you need help with the creation and automation of your emails, or would like to increase engagement?

Here at Swift Digital, we can help you with your email marketing by providing tips on email marketing best practices to make your email campaign a success!

The Preferred Email, Events and SMS Automation Software For All Australian Government Departments

Swift Digital’s templates help you effortlessly create stunning emails and events communications using our drag-and-drop email and event builder.

You can raise engagement with embedded images, videos, polls, article feedback, and emojis and schedule messages to send at the right time.

Government departments’ unique marketing requirements are covered with Swift Digital, and full compliance with all anti-spam and privacy laws is guaranteed. Swift Digital is also ISO 27001 certified.

Swift Digital is Australia’s leader in marketing automation software and event management working with organisations like the NSW Government, ATO, and companies like Westpac Bank and Qantas.

Find out why we’re the Australian government department’s number one choice for their professional communications and events.

To find out how your business can get the best out of Swift Digital’s platform, contact our team today.

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