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Email Layout Guide: Types, Examples and Best Practices

Jyothiikaa Moorthy
ByJyothiikaa Moorthy

8 mins read

When you enter a grocery store, you first notice how all the products are laid out so that you know where to go after your entry. And you are able to find what you are looking for with ease.

This is no accident. The store organizers have designed the layout in such a way you have a smooth user experience which leads to more sales for them. Similarly, the email layout determines the user experience, leading to more conversions.

So, you need to layout content while designing your email so that when readers open it, it is easy for them to scan and read, and they are guided to the call-to-action you want them to click on. This article discusses the importance of email layouts and some of the most effective email layouts in email marketing.

What is an email layout?

An email layout is the arrangement of images, content, CTA buttons, etc., in an email.in order to guide the viewer through the email and show them what they should see in order.

Let's take the email below as an example: all the information in the email is placed in a readable way, and the call-to-action is clear. This orderly placement of information in an email is known as the email layout.

Zig-zag email layout

Why is an email layout important?

Email layout is extremely important to improve your email user experience. There are various reasons why using a layout in your email design will always be beneficial:

✅ Organizes content

The layout of your email helps the readers consume the content of your email with ease and in the correct order. A well-structured email layout helps grab user attention and maintains readability.

✅ Segregates content

Email layout helps to break up space and helps organize the email with nuggets of content. Breaking up space between email content makes emails visually appealing.

✅ Improves readability

A good email layout design helps people simply scan the email and get an idea about it from the headlines and images used. It maintains user attention and leads them to the CTA.

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What are some commonly used email layouts?

Here, we have broken down the different layouts used, how they work for different types of emails, and their end goals.

1. Single-column email layout

Single-column emails have the email content laid out in one column stacked one after another. They are straightforward emails designed to help readers navigate the email without overwhelming them.

The single-column emails usually contain only one visual content like an image or illustration followed by the content, and the layout makes it clear what information is fundamental and what the reader has to do next.

Single-column email layout

An example of single column email layout:

A single-column email layout can be used for:

Pros:

  • It works great on desktop and mobile.
  • It has a clear hierarchy of information.

Cons:

  • It requires readers to scroll down the entire email to find information.
  • The text and buttons can look different based on which device it is viewed on.

💡Related guide: How to Create Responsive Email Design For Better User Experience

2. Multiple-column email layout

Multiple-column layout in emails is when images in the email are placed side by side next to each other in two or more columns, followed by the email copy. This email layout is often used by brands that focus mainly on using imagery in their emails.

Multiple-column email layout

Here's an example of multiple column email layout:

Multiple-column email layouts can be used for:

Pros

It is perfect for an email that showcases options to compare side by side or display multiple pieces of content at once.

Cons

It is not optimized for mobile devices because the columns get stacked one after another rather than side by side.

3. Hybrid email layout

The hybrid layout combines a broad, single-column header that features the main offer or product and several blocks underneath, split into two columns.

Hybrid email design layout

Here's an email template example for hybrid email layout:

Hybrid layouts can be used for:

  • Newsletters

  • Announcement emails

  • Weekly update emails

  • Promotional emails

Pros: It is perfect for showcasing the primary content with a call-to-action followed by additional information with multiple calls-to-action.

Cons: It might have limits regarding the maximum width of the elements in it as it has to work for both desktop and mobile devices.

4. Inverted pyramid email layout

The inverted pyramid layout structures the elements of the email campaigns to work together to lure people in, convey the campaign's key message, and make them click through. In this layout, every part of the email is meant to support the call-to-action and eliminate any distractions, so they have nothing to do but click the CTA button.

Inverted pyramid email layout

Here's what an inverted email layout looks like in a template.

The inverted pyramid layout can be used for:

Pros: It helps minimize distractions and maintain focus on the call to action.

Cons: It is not useful for emails without a call to action like newsletters.

💡Related guide: Designing Newsletter Layouts for Engaging Experiences

5. Zig-Zag email layout

The zigzag layout is an angular layout that uses angles to create an enticing email design that is also functional and easy to read while containing many important information and graphics. This type of email layout is perfect when you want to showcase your products and want to add multiple CTA buttons or blocks of text.

Zig-zag email layout

Here's an example of zigzag email layout:

The zigzag layout can be used for:

Pros:

  • It helps the eye flow through the email smoothly.

  • It helps break up the content into readable portions.

Cons:

  • It is not optimal for mobile devices and has to be optimized by the sender to be a responsive design.

  • It has limited application areas and can't be used to send different types of emails like welcome emails, newsletters, etc.

How to choose the right email layout?

Choosing your email layout is an art that can be mastered once you consider the purpose of your email and your user. If you are confused about what type of email layout would be perfect for you. Let us make it easy for you! Think about the type of marketing campaigns you are sending to your users, the email content, and on what device they are going to read it.

As an email marketer, you can always try and test various email layouts and understand which one works best for your audience.

Best practices for email layout

Here are some best practices to consider while designing your email layout:

  • Subject line: Make sure to make the subject line clear and compelling for the user to open the email.
  • Responsive email: The email design must be responsive, meaning it adapts well to various devices.
  • Colors: Use a color palette that follows accessibility guidelines for email.
  • Visual hierarchy: To make the emails easy to read, maintain a visual hierarchy in your textual and visual content.
  • Brand guidelines: Ensure you follow your brand identity throughout the email by consistently using the brand color scheme, fonts, and logos.
  • Page speed: Use high-quality visual and dynamic content in your emails and ensure they are optimized for fast loading time. Page sp
  • Fonts: The font size should be between 14-16px for body text in order to make it readable and visually compelling for the user.
  • Readability: Ensure the white space is used properly and there is a good contrast between the text and background for readability.
  • Alt text: Ensure using alt text in your emails to maintain accessibility for all types of users.
  • Email signature: Consider using a well-designed email signature in order to increase brand awareness.
  • Test and optimize: Always test and optimize your email newsletter design through A/B testing to see what works best for your target audience.

Create your email layout on Mailmodo

Now, all you’ve got to do is speculate what layout is best for the type of email you want to send and create a template with the layout; if you still need some more insights, it is highly recommended that you go through our well-researched e-book on an email design system. If you don't want to create your template from scratch, you can find great you can find great pre-made templates with drag and drop editor available on Mailmodo.

If you want to see how these email layouts are used in real life, check out our guide on email design examples.

Frequently asked questions

To design an email layout, first, you need a clear purpose. Then, choose a responsive template and engaging content with CTA. Moreover, you should personalize the content and test the email before sending it for readability and user experience.

Some of the best practices to consider for an email design layout are always to ensure the readability and user experience are good for the user, use fonts and colors that align with your brand aesthetic, and use responsive email templates.

To choose the best email template layout, consider the type of content you are sending, and the device your user is using to open the email and decide on the color palette that is accessible and makes the email readable.

A well-designed email template includes a header, preheader, logos and colors, images, footers, CTAs, and more.

To make your email layout design visually appealing, use the right color scheme that follows accessibility guidelines. The colors and fonts should align with your brand identity. There should also be a visual hierarchy in your emails to form differentiation.

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