Q&A: Designing Emails for Success: How to stand out in the inbox


Great email design encourages people to take notice of your email, spend more time reading, and ultimately take action.


We're taking the most popular questions from our latest webinar and expanding upon them so you can brand your email like a pro to build trust and relationships with your audience and use your email results to fuel better design decisions for future campaigns.


You can view the webinar directly through Wistia or right here on the Blog!



I know I shouldn’t use one large image for my emails but I still want to make my emails visually interesting. 

We definitely agree with not using one image as your email. These types of emails are likely to land in the spam folder and you’re not using the space in your email to your advantage!


When using images, you can play around with different cropping options like a circle or rounded corners. The image should concentrate on the subject so avoid a lot of blank space

What do I need to keep in mind when selecting colors to use?

Colors play a huge role in design. If your email or your branding is exciting, use colors that support that sentiment. If it’s more on the professional end, consider using muted tones. No matter what you are sending, the color should not overpower your messaging. Choose a primary color, a secondary color, and an accent color.

How can I create a template to match my branding?

If you use Constant Contact, you can use the new BrandKit to scan your website and pull in the colors that match your branding from your website.​

Is there a balance between the amount of text and images I should be using?

Try to aim to have no more than 50% of your email taken up by images. Something to keep in mind is the idea of “above the fold”. This is where the most important content lives; the first thing your contacts will see when they open your email. If you have an image right at the top, include some text to support it. Send a test to yourself and review what you see right away. Only see an image? Adjust the sizing so you’re seeing some text as well.



What are your thoughts on having copy in the images?

Stick with a short headline or a call to action in your image. That way you can keep the text large enough to be read. If it is a call-to-action, make sure to have the image be clickable and go to a relevant webpage.



What is alt text used for?
Alt text is a best practice for accessibility since screen readers will use the text to describe the image if your contact is unable to view images. It's also useful if your contact's email client does not automatically download images. Keep the text short and descriptive.

What fonts should I be using?

Use no more than two fonts and try to match as close to your branding as possible. But the most important thing to keep in mind is readability. Decorative fonts should be used sparingly. The webinar talked about the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts. Sans serif fonts are easier to read online so you may want to keep this in mind when creating your email.


Our editor contains both email-safe and web-safe fonts. Email-safe fonts have the highest likelihood of being installed on the broadest array of computers and devices, and of being recognized by browsers and email clients. Using them in your emails means that your email font is less likely to be altered. Web-safe fonts are also commonly recognized by most web browsers and email clients, but there's a slightly greater chance that your font can be altered because it isn't supported or installed on a computer or mobile device. Read our Knowledge Base article on web-safe and email-safe fonts.

How big should the text be?

With text sizing, we recommend staying between 22-24pt for headers and 14-16pt for the body. Make sure to test your campaign on a desktop and a mobile device!

What design elements should I keep in mind with creating buttons?

Buttons should be “actionable” meaning your contact should know what they’re clicking on and what they’re expected to do. The most important action in your email will be assigned to the button. Make it a bold color so it stands out and use CTA (call to action) text. 


You won’t want to overload your email with buttons. This is where text links will come in handy. Text links will support your email without taking the focus away from the buttons.



What's the best way to integrate videos?

You can use a large single video at the top of the email. If your video is hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia, the video block will come in handy to easily insert the video.

Can I test any changes I make to see the impact they might have?

Yes. You can make two templates and send them to two different lists that have similar list sizes. Play around with the placement of images, colors, button text, and the length of your emails. After they are sent, you’ll review your reporting and see if there are any striking differences between the two, especially the click rate. Are there any links that stand out that may be a surprise to you? This will be the best way to determine the impact of your email design and what you may want to keep in mind for your next send.


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