In this guide, we’ll cover email design best practices for all the different elements of your email campaigns and have a bonus checklist for you at the end.

Subject Line

While not a traditional “design element” your subject line is considered one of the most important factors in getting your email opened so your subscribers can see your sweet design so make it engaging, personal, and relevant.


Your preheader can be visible in the inbox preview and in the body of your email, or just in the preview pane if you want to save email real estate. Preheaders add valuable context to your subject line and can help your open rate.


Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Go beyond just using your subscriber’s name in the subject line and use other data you have to fuel super relevant messages.

Humanization / Contextual Marketing

A term that’s been getting popular is contextual marketing or humanization which focuses on making the email more of a 1-to-1 engagement rather than a 1-to-many type email that’s one-size fits all.

Dynamic Content

For those wanting to get serious with personalization, you can also dynamically change entire sections of content within your email to make the entire campaign more relevant and more appealing to subscribers.

Email Layout

Your email layout should help the viewer know what they should check out first, and where they can go from there. They should be able to scan the email quickly using a logical hierarchy with large headlines and images focusing the attention. Use layout to break up space and help create chunks of content.

Email Width

To ensure that your email renders well in every email client, we can push the envelope on our email widths to at least 640 pixels. At widths wider than 640px Gmail doesn’t show any background color that would appear in the margins at most reasonable browser sizes (you can see them if you stretch your browser to wider than 1200px). For our designs, 600px is usually the sweet spot.

Web Fonts + Fallbacks

When it comes to email marketing, it’s best practice to use web fonts wherever you can, however, it’s important to keep in mind, that not all email clients offer universal support for web fonts.

Mobile Optimization

Email opens on mobile devices just keep increasing year after year. The latest stats are that over 68% of email opens occur on mobile.


Check every link in your email on mobile and desktop. Things to look for include if it goes to where you wanted it to, does it have UTM tracking, is it clear in the email that it’s a clickable link, are any email browsers changing the color of your links?