Underused Email Design Tactics

Emails are an amazing marketing and communication tool with versatile functions and benefits, and while we wholeheartedly agree with the experts that claim that fresh content is key to any marketing activity, we wanted to take the time to champion fresh design too.


Former chairman of the design council Sir George Cox says that design ‘shapes ideas to become practical and attractive propositions for users or customers’ which is why we believe that great design is critical to getting traction with almost any email marketing campaign.

We’re often writing information heavy posts in an effort to help you get the most from your email marketing campaigns, but today we thought we’d use imagery instead to both educate and inspire.

In today’s post we’ve rounded up some emails that landed in our inbox recently that are all harnessing the potential of design tactics that we feel are often underused by many marketers.

Click on each example to get a better view of the design.


Contrast: Opposites Attract

Contrast occurs when two elements on a page are different. The web designer depot describe the design term quite simply as “things which look different from one another.”

As you can see, this example uses contrasting colours to focus the reader’s eye. But contrast doesn’t just have to be about colour, you could instead use contrasting fonts, images or graphic sizes to achieve a similar outcome.

Contrast helps designers to ‘establish hierarchies of importance and draw people to certain areas of a page and communicate a clear and concise message’. 



To view the animation, click here: http://bit.ly/1fCtAoJ

To view the animation, click here: http://bit.ly/1fCtAoJ

Animation in The Inbox:

We love the way that Sephora have used a GIF with this email.

GIFs are great because they render across most email clients, they’re not very tricky to create and they can make creative go ‘pop’.

However, when deciding whether or not to include a GIF within your own email campaigns,  consider whether it will actually add value to your email or whether you’re just eager to add animation for animations sake.


Short & Sweet:

Supershort DM

Think about it, when you blast out your email campaign, what are you really hoping to happen?

That it gets read? Yes, but that’s not the ultimate goal is it? What you really want them to do is visit your website, and that’s why this email works.

If you want to get your recipients on to your site and buying then consider a shorter email like this one from Dorothy Perkins.

Whitespace DM

Let It Breathe:

Drowning your customers in detail isn’t exactly user-friendly and so a counter-trend rose up, and that counter trend loves a bit of whitespace.

Whitespace can (like in the example to the left),  give products room to breathe and ensure that the most important information is front and center, allowing your recipients to actually take the details in.



Pretty As A Picture:

Use Illustration DM

The email from Emerald Street uses illustrations to really grab a recipients attention.

The images look hand drawn and it gives a really authentic and honest feel to the content, don’t you think?





Encourage Scrolling:

beauty insider

According to Nielson, internet users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold, and although users do scroll, they allocate only 20% of their attention below the fold.

However, the good news is that there are a few clever design tactics that are said to encourage scrolling. Sephora have used one of these tactics here; the skewed diagonal lines they have used do more than just look pretty, they map out the route that  they want the eye to take too.

Nielsen also found the very bottom of a page often attracts additional attention and they recommend that ‘while placing the most important stuff on top’, marketers shouldn’t ‘forget to put a nice morsel at the very bottom’. Sephora must know about this trick because they’ve placed information about a freebie and online shipping right at the foot of this send.

Go Ape!

FireShot Screen Capture #014 - 'URBAN OUTFITTERS' - ebm_cheetahmail_com_c_tag_hBSUSaRA-QMoQB81laeNstMQ5BS_doc_html_&email=luella_ben_aziza@gmail_com


Step away from the norm, take a chance, be different!

After all, being noticed is far better than being deleted isn’t it?

This email from Urban Outfitters is ‘magazine like’ and effortlessly cool. They’ve also clearly focused their attention on content and design instead of delivering a sales spiel overload. This is a great tactic for strengthening their community and making recipients feel fondly about receiving their emails because they add value and look beautiful to boot!

So, how does your email marketing stack up against the world’s top retailers?

Download ‘Hitting The Mark 2013/14: The Email Marketing Intelligence Report’, dotMailer’s annual, definitive benchmarking report on the US & UK’s top 60 online retailers, and learn:

  • Which are the strongest email marketing tactics used by the world’s leading retailers?
  • Which of these major brands is – and isn’t – sending effective, targeted email campaigns?
  • Who’s creating mobile-optimised email content?
  • Which specific retailers are leading the pack – and who lags behind?
  • What innovative tactics are retailers using to get cut-through in a crowded inbox?
  • Includes practical, real-world advice and gorgeous examples

Get your copy today at dotMailer.co.uk/htm

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