Captivate your audience with simple, stunning newsletter designs.

Learn how to cut through the noise of crowded inboxes with efficient and effective email newsletters that connect by offering real value to your customers.

Close-up of a couple of business newsletters next to each other

Connection drives digital newsletter success.

Their name may sound old school, but newsletters are one of the best ways to directly connect with your audience and are frequently cited as a digital marketing communication with the best return on investment. Digital newsletters are crucial parts of marketing strategies, and designing a creative, useful newsletter will help you foster brand loyalty with your customers.

“[Email is] still the best way to connect with a community. There’s more engagement than on social media, and for a lot of folks it drives the bulk of revenue,” says The Sunday Dispatches creator and former web designer Paul Jarvis.

Flashy design ideas may look fun, but always keep function at the top of your design checklist. White space that puts a focus on your content can be better than a distracting background image. “Some of my most successful messages have been plain-text email blasts that look like they’re straight from me because they actually are. They feel much more personal,” says Owen Williams, whose weekly Charged newsletter and podcast reach over 30,000 readers.

The best newsletters are read, shared, and referenced again and again. Some showcase new product images while others communicate their founders’ voices, values, and ideas. But the best share one common theme: No one’s looking for the unsubscribe button while they are engrossed in the useful content. How can your emails stand out and foster dialogue with your audience in an era of flooded inboxes? Engaging content and functional email design are the one-two punch of effective newsletters — and these tips will help you use both to your advantage.

Define your target audience and deliver consistently.

You can’t please all the people all the time. Make your message specific to the unique audience you want to reach. With more content than ever gobbling up the limited time of every potential customer, and modern attention spans sitting at 8 seconds, you need to say something meaningful — and say it fast. Deliver helpful, applicable information and readers will pay attention.

Swipe File founder Jimmy Daly’s strategy revolves around supplying thoughts, articles, and other content that helps his audience get the most from their work. It connects because he provides value to his audience. “I get emails from people telling me how much they enjoyed a link or tool I shared.”

But even with great content, it’s stability that helps the best newsletters grow massive followings. Daly almost called it quits when his readership dropped, but he stayed the course and his message eventually reached a broader audience when Swipe File was featured in a major publication. Keeping your newsletter consistent can take it from being viewed as a helpful one-time read to a necessary staple with soaring open rates.

Two newsletter designs side by side

Different newsletters for different needs.

There’s no one way to write or design a newsletter, and the approach you take will vary depending on your industry and brand. Explore the range of newsletters available, and see which one fits the best for you.

Business updates

Companies and brands use email newsletters to foster relationships, increase consumer awareness, and promote new services. Business newsletters can include everything from industry updates to surveys, company news, and so much more. A regularly scheduled, well-crafted newsletter can also grow your credibility and establish your business as an industry expert.

Retail news

With retail brands specifically, newsletters can help you promote sales, build interest around new products, and increase customer engagement. Be sure to keep your promotional emails to a weekly or monthly cadence so you don’t overwhelm your audience. This is also an opportunity to design and craft your newsletters so the visuals resonate with your target market to encourage them to click through to your website.

Real estate info

Real estate agents can generate leads, connect with past clients, and maintain relationships with a little help from email newsletters. From house listings to local neighborhood info and home buying tips, real estate emails can inform and inspire potential buyers — all while keeping the agent top of mind.

School updates

From colleges to preschools, educational institutions can connect with their community and spread important updates with newsletters. These updates can include a schedule of school activities, stories about staff, students, or alumni, and even a regular column from the administration.

Fashion trends

Both designers and clothing brands use fashion newsletters for promoting seasonal collections, increasing sales, and highlighting promotions. Make sure to use high-quality photos, and keep your text brief so the focus stays on the clothing.

Newsletters are versatile, and they can help you connect and communicate with your audience in a whole new way. Whatever industry you’re in, and whatever content you want to promote, just remember to keep your audience in mind while you create.

A vision board made up of different photos, font types, patterns, designs, and colors

Design your newsletter with style that amplifies.

Much like relevant content is crucial for your newsletter, so too is appropriate design. Crafting a memorable look will help readers associate your branding with useful content.

“The information is presented in easy-to-read, black-and-white text with accent pictures in the main stories,” The Hustle cofounder John Havel explains. “Even if you don’t read the newspapers every day, we give you enough information to make you feel smart.”

“Simple is always best,” Jarvis agrees when it comes to design elements. “My newsletter has to be 100 percent on point in terms of brand — color palette, fonts, and feel. People tell me it’s great because it’s so readable. The design puts the writing front and center.”

Testing your email newsletter design is part of the process, Jarvis says. “Test first. Don’t guess. Your subscribers will let you know what works. We spent years testing variations of the style, and the winner is always what’s easiest to read or click on.” Make sure any design elements you use work well on mobile devices — at least 55 percent of email opens now happen on mobile.

Flashy design ideas may look fun, but always keep function at the top of your design checklist. White space that puts a focus on your content can be better than a distracting background image. “Some of my most successful messages have been plain-text email blasts that look like they’re straight from me because they actually are. They feel much more personal,” says Owen Williams, whose weekly Charged newsletter and podcast reach over 30,000 readers.

Need design inspiration? Check out email newsletter examples on Behance. It’s a great place to find compelling newsletter layouts from stunning email campaigns.

A platform that allows you to manage newsletter assets, like Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, will help you bring consistency and efficiency to your newsletter design when you have more than one person involved in producing newsletters.

A custom design for the top part of a newsletter

Write content that connects, and make it quick.

Effective newsletters deliver content in digestible chunks. Every reader is busy, so don’t waste their time. The best email newsletters get straight to the point. Valuing your reader’s time will make them value your newsletter more. Adding estimated read times like “two-minute read” or “five-minute read” can boost click-through rates and adds helpful accessibility to your newsletter. Writing in a light, readable tone helps your case even more. Effective newsletters have short paragraphs, snappy sentences, and commonly used words — no dictionary needed.

“What people love about our email is not what we talk about, it’s how we talk about it,” Havel says. “The biggest differentiators between your newsletter and someone else’s are your opinions and taste. If something is awesome, get excited about it. If something sucks, call it out. Don’t be afraid to play up your quirks. Make it sound like a conversation between friends.”

That connection is important. Personality in your writing is a plus. Don’t forget to bring that memorable tone to your subject lines and call-to-action buttons. Every bit of copy is part of the experience, and keeping a unified voice across those elements will get you more opens and landing page click-throughs.

Let your audience share your work.

Once you’ve put in the work to hone your newsletter design, let it start working for you. Adding clear sharing buttons is a must, but if you deliver content people want and need, they’ll do the work sharing it for you.

“We want people to share our emails and talk about them with their friends,” Havel says. “That means finding the right balance of deep dives and light water cooler talk. We play with subtle hints versus in-your-face ‘share me now’ buttons.”

Set up your team with the best creative tools.

Once your creative direction is set, it’s time to set your team loose. With Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, they’ll have access to all the tools needed to efficiently create beautiful, effective newsletters. And with access to instructional videos and tutorials, plus professionally designed newsletter templates that can be customized and published online with one click, they’ll be able to work better and faster, saving you time, stress, and money. Take that workflow efficiency one step further with Creative Cloud Libraries and keep brand assets and email templates consistent and quickly accessible to your whole team.

From curating and crafting your content to seamlessly sharing and collaborating on your work, Adobe Creative Cloud for teams is the perfect platform to deliver a digital newsletter that will delight readers and build brand loyalty with your audience.

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