Published on
June 12, 2024

Best Email Design Inspiration - Tools, Tips & Examples

Maria Ledentsova
Digital Marketing Manager

We've all been there. You craft the perfect email, hit send, and...crickets. But what if your emails could be the ones that people actually enjoy opening?

Amazing email design could become your secret weapon! It doesn’t have to be crazy, you just need to create emails that are clear, engaging, and get your message across in a way that resonates.

We'll explore some helpful tools to help you build emails that look beautiful and perform well, unpack some winning tips to grab attention, and show you real-world email design inspiration.  By the end, you'll be ready to design emails that not only look great, but also get the job done!

Five Essential Elements of Good Email Design

A well-designed email uses visual elements and structure to guide the reader's eye and make your message clear and engaging. Here are five key components to consider:

1. Subject Line & Preheader Text

This is your first impression.  A catchy subject line grabs attention and entices people to open your email.  The preheader text, that small snippet displayed next to the subject line in some inboxes, offers additional details and reinforces your message.

2. Header

This is the visual introduction of your email. It often includes your company logo, a hero image, or a banner that sets the tone for the content.  A strong header can grab attention and visually represent your message.

3. Body Content

This is where your message comes to life.  The body content should be clear, concise, and easy to read. Break up text with visuals and use headings to guide readers through the information.

4. Call to Action (CTA)

This is your chance to tell your reader what you want them to do next. A clear and compelling CTA button can drive conversions and achieve your marketing goals.

5. Footer

This is the bottom section of your email. It typically includes your company information, unsubscribe link, and social media icons.

Top Tools for Email Design

Don't worry, you’re not alone in this. There are plenty of fantastic tools out there to help you create professional and engaging emails, regardless of your design experience.

Here's a breakdown of some popular options:

Email Design Software

  • Canva: A user-friendly design platform with a wide range of drag-and-drop email templates, perfect for beginners. It offers a free plan with limited features and paid plans for additional functionalities.
  • Mailchimp: A popular email marketing platform with built-in email design tools. While not as feature-rich as some dedicated email design software, it allows you to create basic emails within their marketing workflow.
  • Stripo: A powerful yet user-friendly email design tool with a library of pre-built email modules and content blocks. It offers both a drag-and-drop interface and an HTML editor for customization, catering to both beginners and more experienced users.
  • Mailerlite: An email marketing platform with a user-friendly drag-and-drop email builder. It offers a variety of pre-designed templates and a free plan for basic needs.
  • Figma: A powerful design tool primarily used for user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. While not specifically designed for emails, with Figma you can design beautiful email templates for yourself to reuse and optimise over time.

For Advanced Users

  • MJML: An open-source framework for building responsive emails using HTML. This requires some coding knowledge but offers a high level of flexibility and customization.
  • Zurb Ink: A preprocessor toolkit for building responsive emails with HTML and CSS. Similar to MJML, it offers advanced customization options for experienced developers.

Finding Inspiration and Examples

Now that you have the tools, where do you find inspiration for your email designs? Here are some amazing resources:

  • Pinterest: A visual treasure trove of email design inspiration. Search for "email design" or specific campaign types (e.g., "welcome email design") to discover a wide range of creative examples.
  • Really Good Emails: A curated collection of beautifully designed emails across different industries. They showcase real-world examples and often provide insights into the design proces.
  • Email Love: A website dedicated to email marketing and design inspiration. They feature email examples, design tips, and industry trends.
  • Dribbble: A popular platform for showcasing design work, including email design. You can find a variety of creative email concepts and layouts by searching for "email design" or relevant keywords.
  • Awwwards: Primarily known for showcasing outstanding website design, Awwwards also features a category dedicated to newsletters. Here you can discover innovative and engaging email designs that push the boundaries.

Pre-designed Email Templates

Many email design software platforms and email tools like Canva, Brevo and Mailerlite offer pre-designed email templates. These can be a great starting point, especially if you're short on time or design resources.

Free Stock Photo & Video Resources

Here are some fantastic resources for both free and paid high-quality visuals:

  • Unsplash: A treasure trove of stunning, high-resolution photos submitted by a generous community of photographers. All images are free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes, making it a great option for budget-conscious creators.
  • Pexels: Another excellent resource for free stock photos and videos. Similar to Unsplash, Pexels offers a wide variety of high-quality images under a permissive license, allowing you to use them freely in your emails.
  • Freepik: While not exclusively free, Freepik offers a vast collection of free stock photos, videos, icons, and illustrations. They also have a premium subscription with additional high-quality resources. We use Freepik at Magic Design for our own quick marketing materials and designs all the time.

If you are looking for a flexible design partner to consistently create on-brand design assets for you, you can check out Magic Design. One monthly fee, access to a whole design team.

Quick Tips for Great Email Design

  • Focus on being Mobile-Firs
  • Have a Clear & Concise Message
  • Visual Hierarchy & White Space
  • Incorporate multiple Calls to Action (CTAs)
  • A/B Testing & Personalization

Inspiring Email Design Examples

Welcome Email Design Examples

Example 1 - Bleame

Subject: Welcome to Bleame Babe! 💜

Example 2 - Art of Tea

Subject: Welcome to our CommuniTea

Example 3 - Nowadays

Subject: 👋 Welcome to Nowadays

Promotional Email Design Examples

Example 1 - The Sill

Subject: Guess Who's Back? (Hint: 🎻)

Example 2 - Beats

Subject: SALE: Up to 40% off select Beats

Example 3 - Buoy

Subject: Today only: BOGO 20% off all Buoy drops!

Contest Email Design Examples

Example 1 - Airbnb

Subject: Have a crazy idea for a space? You could get $100K to build it.

Example 2 - Kajabi

Subject: It’s back! Idea to Income Challenge 2022

Example 3 - HomeAway

Subject: Smiles, you could win $1,000 for a family staycation courtesy of Vrbo

Hot Tip: Other than looking at these examples and checking the tools I've mentioned before, you can also go through your inbox searching for keywords you're interested in - and see what other brands are doing.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even if your Email is well written and thought through there are still some dangers to look out for.

Use this as a checklist before sending out your next email:

  • Overcrowded Layouts: Imagine trying to read a newspaper where every inch of space is crammed with text and images. An email with too much information and competing visuals can be overwhelming for readers. Stick to a clean layout with ample white space for better readability.
  • Weak CTAs (Calls to Action): Your email's CTA tells readers what you want them to do next. A weak CTA, hidden in a sea of text or lacking visual contrast, won't get the job done. Make your CTAs clear, concise, and visually appealing to encourage clicks and conversions.
  • Inconsistent Branding: Your email design should be an extension of your brand identity. Inconsistent use of colors, fonts, and logos can confuse readers and damage brand recognition.
  • Poor Mobile Responsiveness: The majority of emails are opened on mobile devices. A design that looks great on a desktop not on a phone will leave a negative impression.
  • Excessive Use of Images: While visuals can enhance your email, too many images can slow down loading times and overwhelm readers. Use high-quality images strategically to complement your message, not replace it.
  • Ignored Accessibility: Not everyone can view emails the same way. Ensure your email design considers accessibility features like alt text for images and proper color contrast for visually impaired readers.
  • Forgotten Unsubscribe Link: Including a clear and easy-to-find unsubscribe link is not just good practice, it's also required by law in many regions. Don't trap your audience in unwanted emails.


To sum up, you need to think about email design - it’s crucial for engaging your audience and achieving your marketing goals.

There are tools to help you with that - you can get a Magic Design subscription to let a design team help you with all your design tasks including email design but also get inspired for your own designs by using certain websites and tools mentioned in the article.Remember to keep your design clear, concise, and aligned with your brand, and always test your emails before hitting send. Good luck!

About the author
Maria Ledentsova
Digital Marketing Manager
Maria is a Digital Marketing Manager with a wealth of experience in the European startup ecosystem. She specialises in developing and implementing B2B and B2C marketing strategies and collaborates with graphic designers on a daily basis to make her marketing campaigns come to life.