The attention span for someone reading an email is less than 13 seconds, which means it’s crucial to grab your reader’s attention with captivating email design.

Implementing email design best practices is an essential step toward securing your subscribers’ attention and compelling them to take the desired action.

Here are four email design tips & examples that can boost drive traffic to your site, purchase intent, and conversions.

“Around 34% of emails on mobile and 54% of emails on desktop are abandoned or only skimmed.

amy slater

—Amy Slater, Tinuiti Sr. Strategist, CRM & Email


4 Email Design Best Practices


After thousands of hours of email testing, we’ve identified a few key email design best practices that can lead to improved conversion rates. 


1. Make It a Lean, Clean Conversion Machine


When it comes to email design, keep it clean.

Emails should draw the eye with an attractive design, but be easy to quickly skim. Get to the point quickly, or risk ending up in the trash.


hyperikon email creative design

This email design is simple and easy to read and highlights important information in a visually interesting way.


When in doubt, follow these guidelines:

  • Establish a visual hierarchy
  • Maintain a good text-to-image ratio
  • Incorporate white space to give your content breathing room and lend a more elevated look
  • Keep the headline to two lines or less
  • Keep text on a simple background so that it’s easy to read
  • Bold or highlight keywords or phrases
  • Use directional cues to draw attention to the most important part of your email


Remember, your readers are constantly being marketed across every digital channel. Keep things short, relevant, and easy to understand.

email design template wireframe

Rotate your design layout to avoid using the same framework over and over again – emails will become stale


“Reduce the cognitive load. We really want to create our emails to be clean and concise.”

Sammi Nutsongtat

—Sammi Nutsongtat, Klaviyo Design Specialist


2. Brand It Like You Mean It


Incorporating strong branding aids your subscribers in identifying the source of the message and provides a consistent experience from the inbox to the landing page.

This can help reduce your bounce rate as users interact with you across different channels.

If you were to remove your logo from your email designs, could your subscribers name the company?


email branding design


Your brand tells your story, so it’s important to be conscious of your email branding. Branding should remain consistent across all channels, whether it’s email-to-email or email-to-website. 


3. Don’t Give Em’ Design Shock


Design shock, or suddenly presenting drastically different creative to your existing audience, can impact the success of an email.

When updating your email designs, consider rolling out the changes in an iterative fashion or testing the new creative out on a small group of subscribers first before rolling it out to your entire audience.

email design shock

Using gradual email testing, Venmo transitioned from the first design pictured above to the new layout, designed to minimize the effect of brand-shock.

This can help you gauge user response more accurately, which leads us to our next point…


4. Test, Optimize, Rinse, Repeat


Email testing is a critical part of increasing conversions in email marketing, but approximately 42.9% of marketers don’t know what to test.

When it comes to testing email creative, there’s a variety of things you can test to help drive higher clicks, conversions, or AOV.

These tests include:

  • Call to action button styling
  • Email layout
  • Number of products featured
  • Lifestyle vs. product imagery
  • Cheeky vs. straightforward copy
  • Animation vs. static


Once you’ve prioritized your testing roadmap, it’s time to follow a methodology that will lead to actionable insights:

  • Develop a hypothesis you’re trying to prove (or disprove).
  • Execute true A/B split tests when possible, testing only one variable at a time.
  • Make sure you’re using a large enough sample group to reach statistical significance. Our recommended test size is 10,000 contacts or more.
  • Tests should be run across multiple sends over a period of time to normalize against external noise.
  • Run any single test 1-2 times a week over a 3-4 week time range. Tests within automated flows should run for 2-3 weeks.


Want to learn more?

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