I’ve recently been working on a project to design a daily email newsletter that will be powered by MailChimp’s RSS to Email option. In some ways using RSS limits the design, however by automating the email campaign the site owner can focus on creating content rather than delivering content.
The challenge for this email campaign is to create a template that can accommodate between 4 and 8 articles with photos and summaries, a spot for advertising, branding options and of course space for all the “required” information to be can-spam compliant. Oh yeah, the content all needs to fit together elegantly and encourage users to take action by visiting the site, bookmarking an article, etc. What’s the best way to fit that much information in an email and keep it organized?
I went looking for inspiration on Emailium, and found a collection of content-heavy email designs proving that it is indeed possible to fit a mountain of information into a document no more than 600 pixels wide. Want to be inspired, too? Check out this list of email designs for content-heavy newsletters and publishing sites.
Email Design Ideas for Publishing Websites
I think what I found most amazing about these email designs is that, for the most part, they look like mini-sites—complete with top-level navigation. It’s great for branding and also gives the user more opportunities to click-through to the website.
Email Looks Like Its Website
The Bang repeats the same trendy look from the website in the email newsletters they send to subscribers. This is a good example of carrying branding through all aspects of a site design. It’s also a way to re-use resources which is good for site owners on a budget as it usually takes less time (ie: billable hours) to resize a design that to create something new from scratch.
Email Design With Layers of Content
Sky News establishes a hierarchy of information by arranging stories in layers with featured content on top. Again, this email layout is one often favored by content-heavy websites and online magazines.
News Layout With a Dark Background
ShowBiz (another sky.com property) features something rarely seen in email campaigns with lots of content—a dark background. Although not recommended for text-heavy webpages or email layouts, it works for this template because the email relies on photos with very little text.
Email Design With Room for Ads
MotocycleUSA created an email template using two columns with space for featured content and advertisements.
A Two-Column Email Layout for Featured Content
MOMA’s email layout features a large feature photo to let users know which content is most important. The secondary column in this design is narrow enough not to be distracting, but wide enough to keep the text legible.
Email Design Lets Photos Tell the Story
With a focus on entertainment and shopping, it’s no wonder that InStyle lets photos do most of the work. What really works well in this design is the extra white space which gives the layout a magazine feel so that the content doesn’t appear cramped.
Email Design Puts the Focus on Text
Trading Market knows their audience. By putting the focus on the text, they’ved designed an email that will be easy to read across most browsers, email programs and on smart phones—great for business people on the go.
Simple Email Design That’s Easy on the Eyes
Wolfgang’s Vault is easy on the eyes, as my dad used to say. One-column designs run the danger of feeling static, but this layout ads interest with square photos, reminiscent of album covers and perfect for a concert-themed website.
Traditional Email Newsletter That Still Looks Fresh
The Edenews eNewsletter uses the same layout as many email templates that come “free” from your email service provider. It’s a predictable two-column layout with articles on one side and short blurbs on the other. Yet, it doesn’t look stale or outdated. With a strong header and eye-catching navigation, Edenews has managed to keep the look fresh while including lots of content to tantalize their readers.