The Email Design Guide (excerpt)
Your email layout should help the viewer know what they should check out first, and where they can go from there. They should be able to scan the email quickly using a logical hierarchy with large headlines and images focusing the attention. Use layout to break up space and help create chunks of content.
We’re big fans of the inverted pyramid model. It’s essentially a framework for structuring the elements of your email campaigns (headers, imagery, buttons, etc) so they work together to draw people in, deliver the key messages of your campaign and get them to click-through.
By guiding a subscriber’s eye down the page to your CTA, you’ll encourage them to click through to explore more of what you have to offer, resulting in better brand awareness, more web traffic, and ultimately more sales.
Another effective design grid is an angular one with a zig-zag layout.
According to the graphic designer, Mary Stribley, an “angular layout is both enticing to look at as well as functional to order lots of information and imagery.”
You can create these angles through using imagery or color blocking in order to guide the reader through each step of the email. This not only creates a visually pleasing layout, it also helps to simplify each section of the email so that it is easy to read.
One column emails work great on desktop and mobile. These mobile first emails usually adapt to desktop and scale images. It helps consumers navigate the email without overwhelming them. The one column design makes it obvious what information is important and what you want a consumer to do next.