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11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

Transform Your Newsletter’s Design in Just 30 Minutes

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”


Since 2023, my perspective on design has completely changed…

Design is not just about aesthetics; functionality is what makes it count. To actually prove this point, here’s a newsletter that I want to share with you.

Big Desk Energy has been one of my favorite newsletters since the start of 2024 (that’s not just because it's Tyler’s newsletter, but I haven’t seen anything like it in a long time!).

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

Big Desk Energy is the perfect example of a highly interactive and beautifully designed newsletter (more on this later).

The question is: Where does email newsletter design inspiration come from?

This blog contains many examples of inspiring newsletters that will help you design your best newsletter, yet. :)

Here are 11 email newsletter template design guidelines along with examples to get you thinking about how to design an inspiring newsletter.

#1: Get creatively practical with your header.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

The very first thing your readers are going to see is your header.

One of the most important email newsletter design best practices is to include your logo prominently at the top of the newsletter, but you could think of the header as an extension of your logo.

Familiarity breeds positive feelings. If you have a simple, catchy image or GIF that can capture who you are and what your newsletter is about, work this into your header.

As readers get used to seeing it, your newsletter will become comfortingly familiar.

The goal is to make it recognizable and intriguing -- each edition of Big Desk Energy has a different header based on the topic it’s about.

#2: Keep the layout simple.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

Your email newsletter is competing with scores of other emails and hundreds of other distractions. This is why simplicity is so critical.

If your content is crowded with images or if it takes too much scrolling to get to the information, you can expect a lot of exhausted and distracted readers to lose interest. This should be obvious.

If you overcomplicate things, you may create loading issues or even trigger spam filters.

Simplicity should always be a major source of email newsletter design inspiration.

Here are some key design changes you can make to keep your newsletter’s layout simple, yet effective:

  1. Leverage line breaks.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today
  1. Experiment with typography.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today
  1. Incorporate multimedia.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

#3: Design your newsletter for people who scan.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

The best email newsletter template design is going to make it easy for your readers to decide how they want to consume your content.

Many of your subscribers are likely to scan through an article first and then go back and read whatever seems interesting to them.

Fill your articles with headings and images to help the scanning process. An easily readable newsletter template is going to be more popular and more compelling.

#4: Include distinct sections in your email newsletter template design.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

If you have more than one article or a few regular features in your newsletter, divide your newsletter into sections that are easy to spot.

Adding sections to your newsletter is also another way to make it easier for people to scan through it.

For example, The Milk Road separates each section with a clear line showing their mascot/logo in the middle, followed by a large bold title for the new section.

#5: Use colored backgrounds to emphasize important information.

Whenever there’s a call to action, a key promotion, or other news that you want to stand out, putting it on a colored background will draw the eye and attract more attention.

It’s a good idea to make sure your Call to Action is always something “clickable,” such as a button or a picture.

These tend to get more clicks than a hyperlinked line of text.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

#6: Break up text to avoid the “endless scroll” on mobile.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

Even though most people read email on their phones, most newsletter creators are still writing and designing from a desktop or laptop.

This means that you’re probably looking at a wide screen when you write, but that five-line paragraph in your Word doc is going to be a 12-line column of uninterrupted text when your reader sees it on their phone. (Just look at this one if you’re using your phone. To us, it’s only four lines.)

Break up your text into short paragraphs. Use bullets or numbered lists when possible. It’s easier on the eyes.

#7: Research what your audience wants.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

The most important source of newsletter email design inspiration should be your audience. Use polls and surveys. Ask your readers questions. Split-test new sections and features to find out what’s popular.

The best-designed newsletter in the world won’t help you if you’re not offering the content that your readers want.

#8: Test mail every issue.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

We’ve discussed A/B testing in the past, but there’s a much simpler test that will save your bacon with just a few minutes of effort.

Send yourself or your team a test copy of every newsletter edition before you release it to your list. This gives you a chance to see it the way your audience will see it. 

You can check your graphics and test your links. It’s a quick and easy way to spot issues before your readers do and ensure that your design is flawless before delivery.

#9: Curate to build authority and value.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

When you know something important about your field, share the news.

Report on blogs, case studies, new products, and anything else that’s relevant to your subject and important to your readers. Review books, online courses, and software.

By curating, you save your readers the trouble of doing extra research on their own. This provides value and sets you up as an expert. 

The key here is to have a balance when it comes to curated and original content. You don’t just want your newsletter to be about the latest news updates. Sharing your opinions will add more value to your content. 

#10: Leverage varying sentence lengths.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

I usually see people on the internet divided on this writing style, but I believe that it's crucial to shake things up to grab attention.

Create a flow with your sentences and break that flow. Have a rhythm.

If you are looking for more inspiration on writing and storytelling, here’s a My First Million episode I loved that was about writing better:

Why Trust me: I have been a writer for six years and part of the beehiiv content team for a year now. This has given me a deep understanding of email marketing and how it can be optimized.

#11: Seek email newsletter design inspiration from other successful newsletters.

11 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Newsletter Design Today

Many email newsletter publishers have achieved rapid growth and high engagement using the many tools that beehiiv offers.

Here are a few popular examples:

  • Easy to scan

  • You know what you’re getting: Several very short sections are distinctively marked. And everything is summed up at the top, so you can scroll to whatever interests you.

  • Cool header with the same logo/character adapted to the current season, news, or topic

  • Clear format with images, bullets, and “our take” commentary

  • Laser-focused on their subject: residential real estate

  • Useful, up-to-date news

  • Scannable

  • A punchy use of emojis that doesn’t distract from the content

  • Fun, high-energy media that somehow manages to convey useful information

  • Interactive email design 

  • Curated content mixed with original perspectives

  • Well sectioned throughout

  • Comic-style newsletter that stands out from the crowd

  • Information is well blended with humor

  • Amazing welcome email onboarding

Ultimately, it’s up to you to apply all of these various sources of email newsletter design inspiration in your unique ways, but this gets easier when you have all the right tools.

Here are 14 ways that you can improve your newsletter design:

beehiiv offers many customization features on the platform like the drag-and-drop editor and custom newsletter templates that can save you time, as well as several unique tools for testing, tracking, and growing your subscriber base.

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