A mailing list is a much cherished asset for any business, large or small. After all, it’s a directory of real-life people who’ve allowed you into the personal space of their inbox. It’s a target audience that’s already shown initial interest in your product or service, and is now looking to find out more. Such opportune conditions make it your privilege and obligation as a business owner to live up to their expectations, and ensure that the newsletters your subscribers receive are truly valuable.
Sending out content that’s relevant - and not spammy - for your customers is key when it comes to email marketing. And in communicating your top-notch message in an engaging and attention-grabbing manner, the design of your newsletter plays a key role.
To put you on the right path, we’ve gathered expert tips for email design, followed by 10 outstanding newsletter design examples and a few templates to get you started:
Tips for successful newsletter design
01. Reflect your brand identity
Any email coming from your business should have the signature look-and-feel of your brand. Encapsulate your brand identity with the right tone of voice, color scheme, and visual language. Remember to always include the major visual assets of your brand, such as your logo and business name.
02. Include live text
Newsletter design is closer to website design than it is to print adverts, so avoid a newsletter that’s just a pretty image. Instead, write out your copy in live text (meaning, typed out rather than a flat part of the image). This allows people who’ve disabled images on their email account to still enjoy your content. Additionally, remember to apply the principles of web accessibility, making sure to write alt-text for each of your images.
03. Utilize visual hierarchy
We tend to speedily skim through our inboxes, making judgment calls in mere seconds. In order to design for decreasing attention spans and convey your message at a glance, limit the number of elements on each fold. Also, try employing visual hierarchy to signify which elements are the most important and should be read first.
04. Use large fonts and CTA buttons
The information you wish to deliver via email should require very little effort on the user’s side. This means writing short, to-the-point copy and using a large letter size of at least 16 points. Your buttons - from social link icons to call-to-actions (CTAs) - should also be large and easily clickable.
05. Optimize for different devices
Email content looks different on every device and across email service platforms. Make sure to test your designs on both desktop and mobile, and to check readability for the main email providers. The various email templates by Wix come ready to use, and are optimized to ensure the best possible viewing experience for all of your users.
06. Craft an effective subject line
This topic isn’t directly design-related, yet it’s crucial in getting users to click and open the email to begin with. Invest time in writing a short and enticing subject line that doesn’t exceed 50 characters, intriguing readers to find out more and boosting your open rates.
Newsletter design examples
01. Magic Spoon: Welcome email
Subject line: Welcome to the world of Magic Spoon
One great way of establishing a trusting relationship with your subscribers is to send an automated thank you email upon signing up. This small greeting gesture can leave a positive first impression, setting the ground for future email communication.
This welcome email by Magic Spoon is a delightful introduction to the cereal brand, with exciting gradients and vibrant illustrations by Wix user Levi Jacobs. The written copy in the newsletter is concise and perfectly captures the brand identity.
The middle section of the newsletter contains a prominent call-to-action (CTA) that invites users to try the cereal for themselves. It’s a clear message, and to strengthen it further, it’s accompanied by the forever-appealing incentive of a discount code.
Image source: reallygoodemails.com
02. Hay: Collection of products
Subject line: Explore HAY Accessories
Another great newsletter idea is to showcase select products under a certain theme. This allows you to highlight a specific subcategory of your brand, zeroing in on a particular point of interest. In this example by furniture brand Hay, the company puts aside its dining tables and lounge chairs in favor of more compact items, like a tea towel and coffee pot.
With a pale-blush background, the email places the company logo top-and-center, alongside a title and large photo that introduce the subject in a straightforward way. Each of these elements is linked, so that readers can easily access the products online.
Further down the email are a few items featured in stylized, high quality images, followed by brief textual descriptions and clearly marked prices. The email only presents us with the essential facts, much like a teaser meant to generate interest. Customers can then follow up with more information on the brand’s ecommerce website.
03. Spotify: Personalized messaging
Subject line: Here's your year in music, all wrapped up
Through personalized email campaigns, brands can better tailor their content for individual customers. In this newsletter by Spotify, users are invited to discover more about their yearly musical preferences. The email has no imagery, yet its bright neon shades, subtle animation and use of typography make it stand out.
The email highlights the number of songs that the particular user listened to in the past year. Further personalized content is promised in the CTA, intriguing readers to find out more about their own habits and taste.
This email marketing strategy leverages existing data into customized content that provides value for users, fostering the feeling that it was made just for them.
04. Casper: Product launch
Subject line: Ready for bed? Turn on the Sleep Channel.
This newsletter gently tucks us into bed with its soothing design and friendly microcopy. Its different elements all come together to form one cohesive experience, from the color palette of nocturnal blues, to the slumber-inducing header, and the dreamy illustrations by animator and Wix user Hannah Jacobs.
Dedicated to the launch of the Casper Sleep Channel, this email utilizes both design and text to introduce this new product. At the bottom of the newsletter are the channel’s social media links, followed by a catchy slogan. Lower still is a footer with the company’s contact details and the option to unsubscribe.
Image source: reallygoodemails.com
05. Uber: Company update
Subject line: A commitment to safety and respect for all
This email starts off with a bold commitment in its subject line, sure to pique readers’ interest. When opened, the newsletter elaborates on this statement in text, vector illustrations, links and a video, all presenting Uber’s Community Guidelines.
Although the actual guidelines are detailed, the email only samples parts of them, enabling a clean design. Readers are invited to learn more by clicking on large CTA buttons that stand out in the design, leading to the company’s website.
Placing an emphasis on Uber’s signature black, the newsletter design is mainly colorless, excluding the illustrations and video. This results in a professional look, and the added colors help to visually reinforce the values of diversity and inclusivity as described in writing.
Image source: reallygoodemails.com
06. Rifle Paper Co.: Discount offer
Subject line: Eggcelent Greetings & Gifts for Easter
Sometimes, all the email marketing tips boil down into one seemingly effortless execution. This email by stationary and lifestyle brand Rifle Paper Co. is as captivating as it is simple, conveying one straightforward message: a 10% Easter offer.
The newsletter design here is minimal, with a white background, a logo at the top, brief text and a footer. It’s the product photography at the center that lures us in, with an ornate display of flowers encircling one of the brand’s greeting cards.
While the typography promoting the sale is a flat part of the image, it’s repeated as live text further down the email. This means that the information is not lost on users who can’t view the image. The text also perfectly matches the greeting card’s golden hue, creating a unified look.
Image source: reallygoodemails.com
07. Airbnb: Recommended reads
Subject line: New amenity requirements, pricing options, and more
This monthly newsletter by Airbnb delivers a selection of articles that are of interest to the company’s hosts. Segmenting a mailing list by behavior or topic can improve the relevancy of the content, and contribute to a sense of a professional community.
The large digital illustration in the header transports readers into the brand’s world of unique homes around the globe. The illustration takes up only part of the image, making room for the company’s logo, header and subheader.
The rest of the newsletter design is simple, with the articles featured in a list, each with a CTA for further reading. Due to the amount of different links (one per article), the main CTA is differentiated with a full-color button. At the bottom of the newsletter, readers can provide their feedback with just the click of a mouse, in a quick and easy online form.
08. Apple: Upcoming product
Subject line: iPhone XR. Pre-order now.
Not long after unveiling its new iPhone XR, Apple shared the news with its subscribers that it was available for pre-ordering online. The email design is sleek, with high contrasts and generous amounts of whitespace, allowing the phone to shine.
The use of color here is minimal but carefully thought out. The first fold of the email has a black background, against which the white text and phone appear almost gleaming. The CTA for pre-order is light blue, and paired with the blue phone screen, that too draws much attention.
Lower down in the email, the background color turns white, marking a change of tone from a celebratory announcement, to additional tips and info. There are several other links here, but they don’t compete with the main CTA at the top due to their intentionally subtler design.
09. Barebones: Giveaway announcement
Subject line: Win a Trip to a Getaway Nestled in Nature
Running a giveaway or a contest is a good method to grow exposure and generate new leads for your brand. And naturally, any giveaway needs to be promoted so that customers get a chance to hear about it, both over email and social media marketing.
In this giveaway, outdoors goods brand Barebones offers its subscribers the chance to win a two-night stay in a secluded cabin. The design features two beautiful, moody images of the cabins and a font combination of a classic serif typeface with a more modern sans-serif.
While the majority of the email is white, it’s broken up into sections using darker photographs and solid color blocks. At the footer is a navigation menu leading to the brand’s website, plus social media links to discover more.