← Customize 1200+ templates for your next newsletter

Design Inspiration

Litmus Live 2018: 10 Must-Read Email Design Insights

Litmus Live 2018: 10 Must-Read Email Design Insights

Email geeks, did you attend Litmus Live 2018 in Boston? Over the two-day gathering, email pros talked all things strategy, process, design, and development. We never want you to miss out on the latest in great design insights, so we rounded up the best email tips from #LitmusLive and gathered them here. Read on to get the scoop and join the conversation!

Tip #1: Undesign your design.

How do you feel about un-designed emails? Is there a valid case to be made for ultra design simplicity? We’re intrigued by this conversation!

The idea of an undesigned email is that it’s more personal. It feels like it’s from a friend, not a big company. And establishing those close connections with your audience is critical.

A text-based template is super easy to assemble and definitely something that every brand should have on hand.

Tip #2: Keep it to 50 words or fewer.

We are always talking about readers’ short attention spans—and for good reason! The average reading time for an email is a mere 11 seconds. That’s quick. And it means you might want to consider saying what you need to in 50 words or fewer.

One trick to test if your email is short enough is the “one breath test.”

Another recommendation is using a three-sentence formula. Simplicity is a beautiful thing!

Tip #3: Design for aging eyes.

At #LitmusLive, designer, illustrator, and director Mike Hill talked about the importance of designing email for an aging population.

The stats are seriously powerful.

But remember, we’re all aging, folks. And we all want to be treated with dignity. Mike makes an important point:

What can you do? Get familiar with how vision changes with age. Make sure you’re paying attention to sizes (text, images, buttons), color, contrast, and – of course – amount of text.

Tip #4: Stick to one CTA.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves…

We love all arguments for simplification, and this one is a favorite! As we all know by now, emails are not websites. So keep your message direct, succinct and on-point with a single call-to-action.

Tip #5: Get personal, but not too personal.

Emails that personalize can be super powerful, especially when executed creatively.

That means not simply plugging in first names. This slide has great ideas for email personalization:

But, don’t overdo it! Do all your emails address your audience members by name? Multiple times throughout the text? While incorporating your knowledge of their recent shopping history or location? Then there’s a chance you might want to dial it back…

One way to gauge if you’re personalizing your campaigns too much or not enough? Check out the next tip…

Tip #6: A/B testing is your friend.

The best way to know for certain if your design moves are working is to test!

Why? Because email geeks aren’t mind readers. No one is! At Indeed, product manager Lindsay Brothers wisely encourages everyone to test their hypotheses. They’ve found 70% of theirs aren’t quite on the mark. That’s something we can all learn from.

Tip 7: In 2018, your emails must be accessible.

Email accessibility is critical. Last year, we talked to Email on Acid CEO John Thies about why it matters and how to do it. And this year at Litmus, the accessibility conversation took center stage.

The real driver of email accessibility is empathy. As email designers and marketers, we must empathize with our audience.

That means understanding all readers’ experiences. This slide is a great visualization.

Tip #8: Don’t overlook the importance of well formatted text.

If you’re only going to have 50 words in your email, those 50 words better read smoothly and look great. There was a lot of conversation about best practices for type formatting with some great takeaways, like…

And these slides from Libby Herskovitz are golden!

Please keep your text left-aligned!

And don’t forget alt text!

Tip #9: It’s worth having an email style guide and playbook.

Your brand likely has a set of visual brand guidelines, but do they have one specifically for email?

Your emails are an extension of your brand, and knowing exactly the visual parameters within which you’re working is critical in creating consistency and an elevated aesthetic. Plus…

You can create an email playbook, too. We love this definition of a hub for best practices, inspiration, case studies, and resources. Your email style guide can live within your email playbook!

Tip #10: If you haven’t tried background images yet, it’s time!

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves:

Background images are so easy to include with the BEE editor. No coding necessary! Check out our tutorial and have some background-image-fun in email.

Remember: No email is ever 100% perfect.

A perfect final reminder:


We want you to feel good about the next message you send. Try out these design tips with a free BEE Pro trial and get designing right away.

Our Reader Score:

Total: 0 - Average: 0

BEE Team