HTML Email Basics

  • February 5, 2022

Emails are the most used form of marketing, if you have a winning email design you can achieve a lot.

HTML email design provides creative freedom to help you deliver your message more effectively, with a variety of colors, images, animations, and fonts.

An HTML email is essentially the process of designing and creating an email tailored to engage with your subscribers. This involves creating designs and content aligned with your brand’s aesthetics and grabbing the readers’ attention by making it engaging. ⇓

HTML Email Basics


While email trends are shaped by technical conditions, customer behaviors, and marketing values, a well-designed email captures the user’s attention and leads them to a compelling decision.

  • Follow the Trends: Following current trends help designers & coders to create an email that resonates with their business’s target audience. Technical improvements, UI trends, right fonts, etc can engage the audience with the brand.
  • Design with purpose: With a marketing email, you want to pique the reader’s interest enough that they click through to your website. So make sure the email serves its purpose with a clear design at first glance.
  • Code for Everyone: Each and every email platform, device, email program is a little bit different when it comes to displaying emails. If your email isn’t coded right, you’re missing the chance to impress your customers.
  • Visual Hierarchy: The arrangement of content in your email can actually boost engagement by directing the user’s attention. These visual hierarchies mirror the way our eyes instinctively move over a page, offering an intuitive flow of information.
  • Readability: You can’t expect your audience, no matter how engaged with your brand, to read everything. They scan rather than read. Once your email is opened, you have a few seconds before your customer loses interest.
  • Branding: An email that’s visually disconnected from the site it links to will jar, even if it does convince some recipients to click a link. Don’t go crazy and try to replicate the entire website in an email, though. Your design should take the essential feel of the brand.
  • Mobile-Friendly: It’s crucial to have a flexible email template that works on desktop apps as well as mobile ones. Test the output file to make sure it works in all apps

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Branding design describes how a brand chooses to visually represent its brand identity to the public. It typically refers to key brand elements such as the logo, color scheme, typography, and other design components that make a brand stand out from competitors, and recognizable to consumers.

A brand’s design should ideally represent the personality of a brand, its values, and it can be a powerful tool in shaping consumer attitudes about your brand. The website, logo, colors, and fonts of the institution should be repeated in the product design.

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Grid Design

In graphic design, a grid is a structure made up of a series of intersecting straight (usually) vertical lines used to structure content. The grid serves as a framework on which a designer can organize graphic and text elements in a rational, easy-to-absorb manner, and can be used to organize graphic elements in relation to a page as a part of a design template.

  • Clarity/Order: Grids bring order to a layout making it easier for visitors to find and navigate through information.
  • Rhythm/Harmony: Grids help you order information more efficiently and they help create consistency, proportion, rhythm, and harmony.
  • Efficiency/Economy: Grids allow designers to create templates and add elements to a layout and make it easier for other designers to work and collaborate on the design.

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Visual Hierarchy

A visualized offer works better. Images allow you to emphasize certain aspects of your message and draw subscribers’ attention to the key information. People are more likely to click on the pictures. Use these facts to your advantage.

  • Hero Image: A hero image is a design term used to describe a full-width banner image at the top. It mainly consists of an image and text. This image is often the first visual your subscriber encounters. Choosing an impressive hero image can make your email marketing strategy more effective by driving more conversions. It can instantly connect with your subscribers and build credibility for your brand.
  • Animated GIF: Adding GIFs to your emails is a great way to add some engaging, dynamic content that helps your campaigns stand out, animations always get attraction easier. Every client may not support GIFs, it’s better to put all the info into the first frame.
  • More Pictures: It’s natural for people to first notice a visual, but only if it catches their attention. Then they can read what your email is all about. Use smaller pictures in a row to support the main image.
  • Short Textes: Avoid long paragraphs and big sentences. With the gradually waning attention span of people all over, you must not feed them with big texts and long paragraphs. So short, sweet yet effective texts are perfect for your next newsletter.
  • Effective CTA: Buttons, pictures, buttons on/under the images always get more hit than text links. A prominent call-to-action will not only evoke your audience to take action but will also convey the purpose of your newsletter loud and clear.

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Icons & Banners

Although using words to explain concepts is the most direct approach, users may get bored or lose focus with too much text and skip over the message altogether. For this reason, adding icons to describe these functions and features may be an even more effective approach. Not only do they add more variety to the section, but they also reinforce the message with a visual explanation.

  • Draw Attention: They help engage users and can add fun, style, and interest to your email.
  • Replace Heavy Texts: Icons & banners serve the same psychological purpose as paragraphs, but are more visual and fun: they visually break up the content, making it less boring.
  • Enhance the Aesthetic Appeal: When icons in web design are used properly they make the UI more visually pleasing and bring personality and visual delight to the user experience.
  • Drive better conversion: Banners are great tools that you can use animations (as gifs), pictures, background images, icons, CTA’s, and texts together to build awareness for your email and display related content.

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Coding HTML newsletters can be a little out of web standards. The output of HTML in email apps is still much more limited than in web browsers, which means that you have to adapt the way you are designing your email templates. This puts a limit on the creativity and techniques email designers and coders use.

  • Personalize your communication: Consumers have come to demand and expect relevant and personalized content and experience. Maximize your conversion by adding merge tags to your emails and subject lines to personalize every email.
  • HTML Structure: Use tables when possible. They are the most reliable way to achieve a consistent layout.
  • Dos and Don’ts:  Keep structure simple and avoid restrictions. like using; external CSS, spam words, non-safe fonts.
  • Optimize for mobile: Ensure that the email is accessible for all kinds of subscribers like desktop, mobile, tabs, etc.

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There is no absolute truth in visual applications. General aesthetic values, the perception, technology, and expectations of the profile we are addressing are very important in shaping our visual product.

  • Emailing is an effective tool: In these days a promotional email can be seen more than a web page. However, email programs are far from the HTML 5 / CSS 3 standards when it comes to displaying an HTML document, especially since many of them do not use the engines used by web browsers. This requires HTML email products to be built on lower standards compared to web pages. On the other hand, there will be new developments in the market. A markup language like MJML can replace HTML.
  • Catch the spirit of the time: Every year from the use of color and imagery to typography new design trends shape digital marketing. For example, flat design became popular with HTML 5 or off-grid design can be popular for the next few years.
  • Test your email: It’s all about data these days. Leaders don’t want to make decisions unless they have evidence. Testing eliminates all the guesswork, you can gather both qualitative and quantitative user insights. You can further use this collected data to understand user behavior, engagement rate, including new features, revamped page sections, etc. If you’re not A/B testing your email, you’re surely losing out on a lot of potential business revenue.

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Most of the information above was collected from the internet. Thank you for reading.