When I need to come up with an email design from scratch for ourselves or for a client, I sit down and dive deep into what's already available:

  • Email content - In most cases I start with email copywriting, and that's what I advise for all businesses. Lorem ipsum should only be used if you are designing for general purpose and not for a specific need.
  • Brand identity - Email templates have to harmonize with the visual style of your business.
  • Email design inspirations - I'm not a web designer. I'm an online marketer, and as such I was not taught design principles during my studies. But I keep my eye on email design trends continuously and have collected several websites over the years where I can look for email design inspiration.

"Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal."

Pablo Picasso

You should never copy others' email design, but definitely should learn and get ideas from great email designs. You can come up with a mood board for your email design which will surely help you with ideation.

It isn’t always easy to continuously produce exceptional email designs that stand out, so it’s understandable that we all need some guidance at some point.

Where can you turn for email design inspiration when you are in need?

I compiled a list of the most helpful sites on the web to run to and explore when you’re in need of some inspiration for your next email design. Check out the following top sites we recommend for email design inspiration.

This article is part of our Email Design Basics for Email Marketers series, which helps non-technical email marketers to understand the ins-and-outs of email design. Check other articles in the series below.

Chamaileon's top email design inspiration sites:

1. Really Good Emails

My favorite one is Really Good Emails. It is a website full of stylish email template designs, organized into many categories to catch your interest.

The categories range from emails related to card abandonment, to customer appreciation, even examples of transactional emails.

You are bound to find something here to catch your interest! In the following picture, the resulting emails are narrowed down to account related emails.

One cool feature that makes Really Good Emails stand out is their search engine - so if you have a specific type of email in mind (i.e. mobile friendly or seasonal newsletters), you can use the engine to narrow your search for a specific type of email that isn't already listed in the categories.

2. Pinterest

Simply typing “email design” into Pinterest generates plenty of valuable resources. There are several relevant boards that have already been compiled for you to peruse.

You'll find boards that range from mobile friendly emails, to email newsletters for retail products, and holiday email newsletters. With your own designs and favorite email copies, you can make your own boards for others to use too!

Check out the following board from Canva, another popular resource for designers that we'll mention next.

You can use more specific keywords to find exactly what you're looking for and follow users with similar interests. On top of that, Pinterest is a great resource for general design inspiration too, not only for emails!

3. Canva’s Design School

Canva’s Design School is a daily source of design inspiration, complete with design tutorials and tips for better design practices. At Canva’s Design School, you'll find useful resources for email marketers, such as a list of their favorite emails here.

Their blog also features a lot of resources for understanding design, branding, and how to incorporate your designs into your marketing campaigns. Whether it's basic color, image, or pattern design inspiration you're in need of, Canva's Design School is a one stop shop. Plus, if you're still new to design or interested to learn better practices, check out their tutorials here. Look at all of the categories to choose from below!

Do you like this article so far? We have many others in our content calendar about email design, copywriting and startup growth. Subscribe below and we'll send you an email once we publish a new post.

 

4. Themeforest

Themeforest is a useful resource that brings developers and web designers together, and not only for email designs!

Themeforest provides HTML templates that range from WordPress, to email, blogs, and even website templates. While many of them require payment, there are plenty of resources on Themeforest that are available at no charge. They even feature a new, and free template each month. You can search by category, popularity, rating, collections, top contributors, and various tags.

With Themeforest, you can search by your preferred category - like in the image below. Besides searching for the latest releases from their global community, be sure to also search by the most popular themes and contributors.

5. Behance

Behance places users at the forefront of design inspiration. With Behance, users can search through thousands of outstanding online portfolios that are organized into various categories.

Perhaps graphic design portfolios will catch your interest, or maybe branding portfolios suit your interests.

You can find what you're looking for by searching with tags, colors, and even which tools were used to create the artwork. With so many outstanding pieces available to you, it won't be hard to find something you like.

This is what Behance's interface looks like to users. Notice that you can narrow down results by certain projects or contributors, categories like branding, and even by country. How interesting to find country specific projects - this feature really helps Behance stand out!

6. Beetle

Beetle is a unique resource for email marketers because it has a realtime feed of all the emails they receive, which guarantees that you'll never get bored with the same designs. This site is constantly updating, with new emails being submitted nearly every minute!

There are a lot of other cool features in Beetle, including a search engine that you narrow down results with your own keywords and within a certain time period.

You can also search by industry, by sender, or even by site. Once you select an email you're interested in, you have the ability to see what the email looks like in different screen sizes, such as desktop and Apple devices. This is sure to spark your imagination for designing mobile optimized emails!

In Beetle, you can even create a collection of your favorite emails for you to refer back to. And we can't forget to mention Beetle's analytical software which can help you understand the world of email marketing by industry a little more.

7. HTML Email Gallery

HTML Email Gallery is a great resource for finding new ideas for your email designs. With this website, you can search for specific types of email using the list of categories.

For example, you can narrow down your results by season, different kinds of events, type of product, and by color. In the following picture, the results are narrowed down to emails related to health products.

Their website is also updated with the latest trends in the industry, so there's plenty of things to explore on HTML Email Gallery.

Our team at Chamaileon spent months to bring you world class email templates, with royalty free (CC0) images. We have over 200 email templates and 1000s of email building blocks predesigned.

We are still working on the UX of the software and as such are looking for beta testers, who are open to shape the product with us. Will you join our beta testers?

 

8. Beautiful Email Newsletters

This is another cool resource to search for email designs by category. Beautiful Email Newsletters has over 60 categories of email designs to choose from, ensuring that you will find something helpful to use in your next email copy. You can search through categories like environment, jewelry, finance, and even for nice emails with images that are disabled by default. Subscribe to their newsletter for a daily dose of inspiring email newsletters.

9. Email Gallery

Email Gallery was created with email marketers in mind. This resource collects email newsletters from a variety of sources to provide much needed inspiration for you. This gallery stands out because you can also search by certain features in the email, including the number of columns, industries, and colors.

The following image shows a search done for emails that are organized into two columns, and there are over 27 pages of results. Have fun exploring great emails on Email Gallery!

10. Email on Acid

With Email on Acid, you can find great resources for email development and email marketing in their blog. Their blog is even updated with the latest industry news to keep everyone in the world of email marketing in the know. They even have a compilation of over 600 free email templates for you!

The image below features some of the recent blog posts from Email on Acid.

Email on Acid's services also provide resources for testing your emails in different email service providers. Check out their website for more information on their resources.

11. Style Campaign

Style Campaign's blog features several articles and tutorials over email marketing and responsive email design.

In one particular comparison article, they examined how different companies and industries implement responsive email navigation in their newsletters. For example, the article reveals how some companies will reduce the navigation bar in their responsive emails, some will simply reposition the buttons, and some navigation buttons will be separated in two columns for mobile users. Besides the helpful comparisons, the article is full of email designs to peak your interest. This may offer you some inspiration for your future designs!

Explore their website for more guidance in email design and marketing.

12. The Best of Email

The Best of Email has everything you need to inspire your next great email design. Go check out their Inspiration Gallery, which is full of several great email copies. They have over 20 categories to explore for inspiration, and they range from welcome emails, emails with GIFs, segmentation, and emails that are optimized for mobile. If you're still looking for inspiration, you can go to their blog for email design and marketing tips. Although the website is not updated as frequently anymore, it is still full of plenty awesome resources to be used at your disposal - you just have to look!

13. HTML Email Designs

HTML Email Designs provides an online collection of emails to users that are separated by the sending company. Although there is no search feature in this resource, you can explore the many email designs that are on the website to see if you find anything to catch your eye. Search the front page (as seen in the image below) for a wide assortment of great email designs, or submit some of your favorite designs to their gallery.

14. CreativeMornings

CreativeMornings provides resources for the creative community, such as talks, lectures, and a useful weekly newsletter. They have a special webpage that specifically shares unique email newsletters with their audience. All of these newsletters have stood out to the team at CreativeMornings because they're visually appealing, out of the ordinary, and discuss some kind of creative project. Check them out and sign up to receive their newsletter.

If you liked this blog post, just type your email below and get notified when we release another piece.

 

I'm sure that this list of sites is incomplete and there are many other resources online where email marketers can find inspirations for their next email design.

Do you know about any other site? Please add your tip as a comment in Disqus below!

Author
Roland Pokornyik

Roland Pokornyik

CEO / Co-founder @ Chamaileon.io & EDMdesigner.com