Email Design For Sends That Shine

Email Design For Sends That Shine 

In internet time, email has been around forever. It continues to reign supreme in the world of marketing because it's so widely used and consistently dependable. Did we mention there are 4 billion global email users? That’s a lot of opportunities. However, over the years conversion rates have taken a dip as weary consumers with increasingly limited attention spans disengage.

But don't despair, savvy tactics like good email design (our focus for this article) will help your business meaningfully connect with customers and drive conversions. 

Email Conversion Rates Over Time:


Before we dive into design, let's get a few things in order... 

First and foremost, you need to up your open rates with strong subject lines and preheaders.

Next, personalize the customer journey with welcome series emails and automated workflows such as abandoned cart series, which are typically posting the highest revenue of all conversion emails.

Now that you've upped your chances of getting opened, utilize email design to engage your customers and get clicks that lead to sales. 

Luckily, even if you don't have an in-house design team there are a number of ways to ensure your email is properly designed and equipped to rack up conversions.

At Drip, we make it easy with a library of fully customizable, designer-made email templates that are fully optimized to look beautiful, engage, and convert. 

Ready to get started with your own emails? Let's get into the process of creating a well-designed send...

Conversion goal = design strategy.

When beginning the design process, know exactly what a conversion means for the email. Knowing your success metric will inform your design choices.

If you’re optimizing for sales, your email will look one way; web traffic, another; an email optimized for video views or webinar sign-up will look different from the former two.

Look like you: brand consistency builds trust.

Your brand colors, fonts, and other key design elements create a story that when consistent between every channel (website to your email campaigns to your social media) builds trust, loyalty, and recognition with existing and potential customers. An email, especially one that’s attempting to drive conversions, should be a clear representation of your brand. 

Less is more in email design. 

A build-your-own layout might seem like the best way to pack in every last update, but it also runs the risk of looking overwhelming and causing your customer to quickly bounce. Using pre-built templates helps create parameters for the right amount of content to include while being cleanly designed and optimized for multiple devices. Remember, if you have lots to say (especially if it’s important or exciting) then space out the updates over multiple emails. 

Your email layout should be simple to navigate and read. It should also guide the reader’s eye so the most important information — product images, calls-to-action, and any necessary copy — stand out the most. 

Engage, don't distract.

Today, there are many tools available that can help you add unique elements to your marketing: GIFs, interactive elements, even animations can make an email really compelling. 

However, these should be to engage and not distract customers. When the goal is to get your subscribers to take action, every element should be in support of your CTA. If a unique addition adds excitement to your CTA, use it. Otherwise, leave it out and focus on content that will compel your customers toward wanting to click and learn more.

CTA = email purpose and action. 

Underneath the pretty design elements and bold branding, make sure people know what your email is all about and what you want them to do. Your call-to-action should be front and center, leaving no question about the purpose of the email and the action you want to be taken. Watch a video? Click a link? Shop a new collection or buy a specific product? Bold the text or add a pop of color to draw the eye to your CTA.

Get to the point — quick.

To drive this point home, here are some stats... First, good news: the average read time of an email has increased by 21%. Now, the bad news: that still leaves only 14 seconds before your reader drops off. As with most facets of marketing, you need to get to the point, and quickly. Keep your email concise so your audience knows exactly what your message is about and the CTA you are offering.

Copy is design, too. 

Punchy copy and clean design go together like PB&J. Though layout, color, and formatting are all super important, your audience needs something to read and it needs to be presented in a way that they'll actually read. Email copy — from the subject line to the footer — is just as important as your design, if not more. 

Avoid dense, long text blocks and use headers to clearly communicate your key messages and CTA. If a phrase or section of copy looks awkward, too wordy, or bulky, make adjustments so your copy placement and design are both succinct and visually appealing. 

Colors cue emotions. 

“Color theory is the art of understanding the emotions triggered by colors. When it’s used the right way, it grabs the reader's attention and has the power to influence how they feel about the brand, product, or offer,” says Invision.

Think about your brand color palette and how you can emphasize or elevate different colors depending on the goal of your email. Utilize lighter colors when you want emails to have a more open, refreshing feel. Darker colors can add drama, depth, and richness.

Test, and test again.

Getting email design right is a constant moving target - which means you are unlikely to get it right the first time and will have to consistently try new things. That’s a-okay.

As marketers, we love testing different strategies to see what works. A/B testing your email design should be no different. Segment by audience or call-to-action to determine what sticks and then replicate that success in your follow-up emails.

Ok, now that we have the basic concepts let’s look at a few examples to get your creative juices flowing… 

Examples of well-designed, high-converting emails.

Ordinary Habit.

If you don’t know how important a Welcome Email is, pause here, read this article, then come back to us. TLDR: very important. Check out a beautifully designed email here from Ordinary Habit.

Their website sparingly uses the pops of the blue and purple tones that are central to this email, but this welcome send really upped the ante and brought color to the forefront. It feels warmly inviting yet brightly exciting at the same time.


Vivid photography doesn’t have to just act as an element; for Ando, it’s the entire focal point of this send.

The photo really engages a viewer, but the copy provides context (and looks stunning juxtaposed against the picture). Short and sweet, the copy gets to the point and leads the reader down to a well-placed CTA. Plus, it follows up with a social media card as an additional second call-to-action, which can be tracked by click-through. This example is climbing to the top of our list! (Yes, pun intended.)


Making the header copy a design element in itself?! Bravo, Atera. Now, this is the brand’s creative newsletter, so they took some liberties with color and text weaving, but it’s interesting to look at and makes a reader naturally curious about what it all says. 

Warby Parker.

Warby Parker always does a good job of our aforementioned tip: Get to the point. 

You know right away what kind of email this is and what the brand wants you to do. The CTA comes up immediately and uses a clean, easy-to-read template that includes additional content at the end of the email that supports the main CTA. 

Now it’s your turn… 

Time is money, and most of us on busy marketing teams don’t have the resources to build intricate, custom email templates for each send. Luckily, Drip has fully customizable, beautiful, designer-made, and ready-to-use templates that look like you have an in-house creative team.

Plus, Drip has testing capabilities to see what works best, as well as segmentation to make sure you are sending the best-designed emails to the right people at the right time. Try it out now for free.