Email Header and Footer Design: Dos and Don’ts

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The header and footer are two inevitable elements of the email. They are applied to every outgoing email campaign and play a key role in setting the right tone for branding. But campaign managers and designers focus so much on perfect business email template, content, and design that they often overlook the header and footer. This article describes the importance of these elements in an email and the things businesses need to consider while creating them.

Email header: The email header is the first thing that a viewer notices and can be used to promote essential branding or marketing information. The header includes the company’s logo, name and important links. It is a great space to highlight the key message. 

Here are a few dos and don’ts for email headers that designers and marketers need to take care of.

Do: Include your business name and logo

The information on your email header must match the “from” name and address and make it easy for the subscribers to recognize your brand in a single look. Add your business name and logo at the top along with any important information that you want to project and capture attention with, such as “free shipping” or a coupon code.

Here’s an example from the brand Packlane.

Source: Really Good Emails

Do: Make it simple and elegant 

Your header should be easy to read and understand. It is therefore important to make sure there’s no crammed information and text or images that make it look cluttered. Avoid hard-to-read prints and use a basic font to display only essential information. Make sure you include a “View in Browser” option to allow users to access the email in case the email client fails to display it.

Do: Use a consistent header across campaigns

When you send marketing and promotional emails, the header design must be consistent across all emails. When the design is consistent, it will help your subscribers in easily identifying your brand’s emails. Use the same font style, design elements, navigation links, etc. in each of your emails to make it stand out from the rest.

Don’t: Make the navigation complex

It is recommended for eCommerce brands to include a menu or navigation bar in the header to make it easy for the subscribers to browse through your shop. However, adding too many links and choices in the navigation bar can be overwhelming. Hence, avoid making the navigation too complex and cluttered. Keep it clear and concise by adding only relevant links that will help users reach the promotional pages easily.

Check out this email from the brand Outer that has a simple navigation bar in the header.

Source: Really Good Emails

Don’t: Make the header too big

Your header should not take up too much space in your email. Although the header can be used to flash your key message, the ideal size of the header must be less than 70px without a menu, and less than 200px with a menu.

Don’t: Experiment with colors and design elements

The colors in your header must go well with your brand’s image and personality. Only pick the colors that comply with your brand’s visual identity and avoid using too extravagant and bright imagery. Keep it in tandem with the overall message and email theme.

Check out this professional email example from Yoco. The brand is promoting their Black Friday deals and it is mentioned in the header along with the logo and a link to view the email in a browser in case it fails to load. The email is designed using the brand colors and the theme is consistent across the email.

Source: Really Good Emails

Here’s another email example from the brand Coastal. It has a well-designed navigation bar, the main message, and coupon code right at the top.

Source: Really Good Emails

Email Footer: The email footer is often ignored but it is an important space to give out a few important details such as the social sharing links, disclaimer, privacy policy, copyright details, unsubscribe option, the physical address and contact details, etc. It gives your email closure and leaves a good impression of your brand. 

Let us go through a few dos and don’ts to design the email footer.

Do: Add the disclaimer and unsubscribe option

The disclaimer needs to be mandatorily added to the email to meet regulations and pass the spam trap. The unsubscribe option that allows subscribers to opt out or manage their preferences anytime they want is also an unavoidable element. These details can be included in a smaller font at the end of the email.

Do: Include alternate contact details

The footer is a great space to promote alternate communication channels. Adding the physical address of your brand contact details such as a link back to your website, blog, service pages or online shop can make it easy for the subscribers to find more information about your brand.

Take a look at the footer of the below email from Pitch. It includes the physical address and links to social media pages, along with an unsubscribe option.

Source: Really Good Emails

Do: Stack your footer navigation for mobile

While including links in the footer, use navigation that stacks in mobile view to give it a clean look. Since it becomes too hard to tap on links on smaller screens, it is necessary to include large tappable links or buttons for the mobile view.

Don’t: Forget social sharing options

We live in a digital world, and adding links to social media pages is a great way to engage with users. It gives the subscribers an option to share the email on social media and also connect with their brand on these channels. 

Don’t: Ignore spam regulations

The CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR are important in deciding the reputation of an email sender. As per these regulations, the disclaimer, privacy policy, and physical address are mandatory details to be added to the email. Hence, it is important to religiously add these details at the bottom of the email.

Here are a couple of professional email examples that have footers with all the useful, yet bare minimum information. Check them out.

Source: Really Good Emails

Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap Up

Well-designed emails have all the above-mentioned elements in the header and footer, yet look simple and crisp. It is essential to focus on the consistency of the design, font, and color across all your emails to improve brand identity and retention. 

Author: Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free HTML email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.


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