So, you know that you want to create an email newsletter for your business, but have no idea how to format it.

Surprisingly, this is a pretty common situation. Email marketers spend a lot of time thinking about what goes into their newsletters, but they often feel stumped when it comes to their formatting and design.

The easiest way to create a perfectly formatted newsletter every time is by using a template like the gorgeous ones we have at Flodesk. However, there are also some simple steps and best practices you can follow to make your own email design from scratch.

Keep reading for a breakdown of what they are below. If you’re already feeling confident about your email newsletter formatting and are craving some design inspiration, you can also check out our curation of excellent email newsletter examples.

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

Our top 8 newsletter formatting tips

We’ve broken down how you can put together a fantastically formatted newsletter that your email subscribers will love to read into eight easy steps:

  1. Prioritize the mobile device
  2. Bookend your email newsletter with a header and a footer
  3. Design with your target audience in mind
  4. Integrate principles of visual hierarchy
  5. Find balance between images and text
  6. Use standard fonts
  7. Opt for a tidy design with lots of white space
  8. Use an email newsletter template

If you want more in-depth information about newsletter design, you can also move onto our article about newsletter layout design ideas.

Prioritize the mobile device

One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re formatting an email marketing newsletter is the mobile phone. This is because of the overwhelming number of people who check their emails on their phone every day. 

In fact, a Super Office study recently estimated that as many as 81% of all emails were opened and read on mobile devices as of 2021.

If your email newsletter format isn’t mobile-friendly, it doesn’t matter how beautiful it is. As soon as one of your interested readers opens it and sees its poor formatting, they’ll delete it right away. Don’t skip this step.

All email newsletters should begin with a header and conclude with a footer. Not only are headers and footers useful design elements because they give you the opportunity to showcase your logo, company name, branding, color palette, and fonts, but they also ‘frame’ emails nicely.

If you’re looking for more specific advice on designing your email header, consult our guide on email newsletter headers.

Design newsletters with your target audience in mind

Although there are some common best practices out there, what makes for a perfectly formatted email newsletter is subjective to some extent. In order to determine what will resonate best with your customers, it’s important to reflect on who your target audience is.

Ask yourself questions like:

Are my customers mainly from an older demographic or a younger demographic?

What kind of feedback have I received about previous email campaigns?

Has anyone complained about my email newsletter formatting in the past?

The answers to these questions will help inform the kind of targeted newsletter format you should go with. For instance, younger demographics tend to have more patience for different kinds of media (like images, videos, and GIFs) and a ‘busier’ overall look.

On the other hand, older demographics tend to prefer more minimalist, easy-to-read formats.

Integrate principles of visual hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is a design strategy that arranges visuals to show their importance. This is a great approach to use in any newsletter template because it helps the viewer visually digest the information they’re seeing.

Here are some basic principles of visual hierarchy:

  • Larger elements attract more attention than small elements. If you want to emphasize or focus on something, make it bigger.
  • Bright colors or stark color contrasts catch the eye than more muted and/or subtle palettes.
  • Don’t limit yourself to one font size. Different font sizes show the reader what’s important and bring order to your newsletter.
  • Use negative space to focus on a specific element. Negative space, also known as white space, creates a clean look and directs the eye to whatever’s found within it.
  • Repetition fosters unity. If you want a visually cohesive design, it’s important to repeat some elements, whether that’s font, color or shapes.

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

Find balance between images and text

A perfect email template needs a perfect mix of images and text. 

Even though email marketers often talk about the vitality of images and how much easier they are for readers to process than text, you can’t rely on them alone.

Your email newsletter should ideally be about 50% images and 50% text. Dedicate the text portion to your message’s most important information, keep it concise, and be mindful of font size.

The images you choose should be high quality, consistent with your brand, and reflect what you’re talking about in the article text.

Use standard email fonts

Even though there are tons of options for custom fonts nowadays, it’s best to use standard and/or email-friendly fonts for an ideal newsletter format. 

First, standard email fonts are typically neutral and easy-to-read. That means as many people as possible will be able to read them regardless of their own preferences.

It’s also important to consider that different email providers like Gmail and Outlook display fonts differently. If you use a custom font, they might default it into something else altogether. So, it’s safest to go with one of the following old faithful fonts:

  • Arial
  • Verdana
  • Helvetica
  • Georgia
  • Tahoma
  • Lucida
  • Trebuchet
  • Times

It’s also worth noting that you shouldn’t mix more than two different fonts in one newsletter template.

Opt for a tidy newsletter design with lots of white space

As a general rule, the more design elements you have going on in your email newsletter, the harder it will be to format well. Owing to this, less is often more and it’s best to opt for a tidy, minimal design that embraces the use of white space. Just check out the Food La La example above and how visually pleasing it is.

Be cautious if you want to use vibrant background images or background colors. You’ll need to ensure that your email newsletter is still easy to read and doesn’t come off as too “busy.” The Moodelier example below is a great example of using color effectively:

In terms of general best practices, you shouldn’t use more than a few different colors at a time in your email newsletter. You should also always be mindful of how colors complement each other by using a color wheel.

Use email newsletter templates

If you really want to make sure you create beautifully-formatted email newsletters with minimal effort, the best thing you can do is use an email marketing software that has a gorgeous email newsletter template library that’s ready for you to dive into.

Flodesk is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized businesses create stunning emails in no time, and perfect formatting is always a given with our newsletter templates.

Try our 30 day free trial with no strings attached.

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

How to format different types of newsletters

Different kinds of email newsletters call for slightly different formatting and layout. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular kinds.

eCommerce

If you’re sending out an eCommerce or typical email marketing newsletter, you’ll probably want to focus on one specific product or deal. Be sure to announce it right at the top of your email (under your header) before the reader even has to scroll down.

The best examples of ecommerce newsletter email marketing also do the following:

  • Convey urgency to drive sales
  • Include high-quality photos that showcase the product they’re featuring and appeal to potential customers’ senses
  • Choose their own images and show their products in different contexts
  • Reinforce their email’s focus in their subject line
  • Use a consistent color palette

Non-profit

If you work for a non-profit or charitable organization, you’re probably on the lookout for a perfect monthly newsletter template. This is because non-profits often send out monthly newsletters outlining all their most important information and updates to their donors.

Here are a few more formatting tips for those sending out non-profit newsletters:

  • Go with a minimal, sophisticated design and color palette so your nonprofit newsletter comes off as professional
  • Make an impact with powerful, welcoming subject lines and headers
  • Highlight important links with buttons (but not more than a couple)
  • Draw your reader in to your article text with sub-headers

Blogger

As a blogger, most of the time the most important element of your brand is yourself. That means it’s essential that a great photo of you is one of the first things your readers see when they open one of your emails in your inbox.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Keep your email design consistent with your blog design for visual consistency
  • Choose visuals that have performed well on your social media pages or website
  • Use buttons to add visual intrigue and link back to your website
  • Make your email introduction, headers, and subheaders friendly and approachable

Start creating a perfectly-formatted newsletter template

Now you know exactly how to format a newsletter that your subscribers will love to receive in their inboxes, so why not get started right away? 

Flodesk has a comprehensive library of beautiful email newsletter templates that will make sure you get your formatting right every time. Of course, you can also start from scratch and make your own newsletter template to use again and again.

Best of all, you can try our 30-day free trial with no strings attached.

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing