5 min read

3 Common Newsletter Design Mistakes to Avoid

Published on
June 24, 2021
A picture of a yellow envelope on a blue background
Leah Camps
Marketing Executive
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Did you know, according to an article by Hubspot, 'there are 3.9 billion daily email users'? (Statista, 2020) In fact, here's some more stats that highlight the true potential of strong email marketing campaigns...

  • 87% of B2B marketers say email is one of their top free organic distribution channels. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
  • 59% of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions. (SaleCycle, 2018)
  • 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)

Since we can see how valuable email marketing really is, how can you leverage your results even further and help your email perform better? Of course time must be spent on creating copy that really relates to your audience in order to see great results but today, we're focusing on the newsletter design mistakes you might be making that are holding your campaign back from performing well.

Visual Imagery

If you want to grab your reader's attention, you've got to pull out all the stops when it comes to imagery in your email. We'd actually go as far as to say that the way your email looks is equally as important as the way it reads. Remember that you have a few seconds to make an impression on the viewer, and poor quality images just aren't going to cut it. But we know, we know... you already use high-res stock images, right? That's a fantastic starting point, but it's not all you need to be doing to make sure that the visual imagery in your email is up to scratch.

Be creative

In today's e-commerce world, free stock photography sites are used by the masses. It's fantastic that so many people have access to high-quality images for their brand, but if you want to prioritise standing out, you have to make sure that your stock photography is as unique as it can be. That doesn't necessarily mean spending a massive part of your budget on in-house photography, or even using paid stock photography sites if it's not affordable enough for you to do so, but it's about getting creative with how you illustrate your points.Try to think outside of the box when it comes to ways to illustrate the points you are making in your email. The more conceptual the visual imagery is, the more it'll intrigue the viewer and also stick around in their mind. In addition to this, be careful to use stock imagery that hasn't already been used by your competitors. This can be more common when using free stock imagery sites, but it can still happen when using paid stock sites too.The whole point of getting as creative as possible and using as unique imagery as you can is to create a brand that will be remembered. By using imagery or image styles that are commonly used by your competitors, you aren't doing much at all to help your brand stand out and your email newsletter will look very similar to all the other messages in your customer's inbox that day (which will likely be a lot of marketing emails trying to sell the same thing you are! )

Man holding speech bubble

Remember to optimise for mobile

A common mistake that can really effect your campaign's performance is to forget to optimise your email for mobile. "Mobile opens accounted for 46 percent of all email opens. (, 2018)" That means that you need to account for a large portion of your viewers being on a small screen. Most marketers will design their email newsletters using a desktop, so it can be really easy to miss that crucial step. How can you make sure the imagery in your newsletter is optimised for mobile? Keep the graphics simple, and any text included should be minimal and as large as possible. On a small screen, small details will get lost so make sure that your images are as clear and uncomplicated as possible. It's key to do this so that your email is more accessible on any device, and it will help to communicate your point best to a huge part of your audience.

Keep it minimal

It can be so easy to feel that everybody in your audience wants to hear about all the smallest details that are important to your team and business. However, the very best graphic design requires restraint. When every design element on your email serves a purpose and is simultaneously very aesthetically pleasing, that's when you've achieved professional email newsletter design. So even though you might really want to include the ins and outs of your latest company updates within your email, remember to keep copy minimal and as impactful as you can. Explain your point as precisely as you can in an email newsletter and use links instead to direct the reader to learn more. From a design point of view, this gives your email more white space and will be more pleasing on the eye for your viewer.

Email design images next to laptop

Just like it's important to make sure your copy is impactful, other design elements should also be there to serve a purpose. As a general rule of thumb, only include a new image for each topic you're covering to illustrate the point. Make sure your logo is in the header, and include social follow icons in the footer to give your audience other places to follow you.

Don't forget your branding!

Even though your email newsletters aren't part of your website, they should still incorporate all of your brand colours. By making sure that every point of contact you have with your customer's followers the same strict brand guidelines, you'll be helping to reinforce your brand even further.  Here's a checklist of elements to check are in keeping with your brand guidelines before hitting send on your email newsletters:

  • Images - Do they follow the style used throughout the rest of your brand? For example, at Design Cloud we love everything bold and bright. If our newsletters contained only monochrome images it would look really off-brand for us!
  • Fonts - Wherever possible, use the same fonts that are used throughout all your other marketing materials.
  • CTA button colours - If you include a green CTA button to buy now on your site but in your newsletter the same button is blue, you could be confusing your customer's journey unnecessarily. Whatever your traditional CTA button colour is, make sure your newsletter uses the same.
  • Colours - Check your hex! Never just select a 'similar' colour for your headers, footers or any other element in your email. Use the same hex codes as you use throughout your brand for the most professional email design.
  • Logo - Make sure that you have used the proper dimensions for your logo, and have included it in your email. A clear and prominent logo is important to let your audience know who they are communicating with.
Red email icon on yellow background

Professional newsletter design can make a massive impact on your marketing campaigns and could be the deciding factor in a conversion, so making sure you polish your design as much as possible with these easy tips and tricks is really important. At Design Cloud, we help businesses all around the UK with email newsletter design every day, so if you'd like any more help from a pro UK-based graphic designer - just get in touch today.