The “Perfect” Email Design, Part 1: Layout


Editor’s Note: Welcome to a new series corralling the best in email design from our graphic design team here at Longstreet. Let us know what you’d like to learn!

Here’s what we know: We all get excited when we see a great email arrive in our inboxes. (Did you know that the average person receives 88 emails per day? Among those, less than half are well-executed enough to engage the reader and get a response.) So what makes an email great? Design, of course; emails that captivate consumers are the ones that visually convey a brand’s message. Readers love and engage with the content of well-crafted emails that manage to ‘wow’ them visually. So how do you do that, short of hiring Longstreet to do it for you?

Let’s start with email layout. The days of the newsletter layout are long gone, and email marketing has progressed into the idea that simple and clean design is the best design. When designing an email template, it is best to stick to a one-column layout. This not only establishes a hierarchy for your email message, but it also creates a path for the reader to easily navigate.

Here’s how a typical email flows from top to bottom:


Header / Navigation - The logo should be the first thing the reader sees. Good email design mimics the path the eye usually travels when reading, which is left to right. Therefore, in a header, the logo will be on the left, followed by social media icons, a promotion, navigation, or nothing at all on the right. Less commonly the order is reversed, and if the only asset listed in the header is the logo, it may sit in the center.

Tip: It is a good design method to list the logo and navigation top-to-bottom to engage the flow of the email, so the logo will be listed above the navigation, and then the email will begin. 


Primary Photo – In order to engage the reader immediately, a primary high-resolution photo with interesting content should go underneath the navigation.

Tip: The photo is meant to encourage scrolling, so be sure to use an image or graphic that will attract the reader, whether it be in color or content.


Text Blurb – In addition to body content, a catchy headline or sub-headline will also rein the reader in.

Tip: This can go underneath the primary image, above the text blurb below the image, or even within the image to add dynamic touch.


Call-to-Action- Readers expect direction from an email, so be sure to use a call-to-action (CTA) button that will make them want to further engage with your brand outside the email.

Tip: Experiment with color choice, the style of the button, typography, and copy to find the most engaging CTAs for your audience.


 Footer – The footer should give the reader an opportunity to engage with your brand outside of the email. This is a point of reference and contact for your brand. While this doesn’t need to be super customized, branding your footer is beneficial.

Tip: If your social media buttons or website aren’t linked in your header, they should be listed here, as well as any addresses or phone numbers.


Of course, this template may be altered based on the content of the email, but even the simplest emails follow this format.


Need email designs that ‘wow’ your customers every time? Look no further.

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