Email Marketing · Design

Best email design template sources?


December 11th, 2014

I’m trying to streamline email design for transactional and promotional emails. Curious to hear if people are having their designers design their emails or are you using templates from places like theme forest, mail chimp, etc? If you’re using templates where are you getting them from?

Alper Cakir

December 11th, 2014

Hi Firouzeh,

We use combination of all of the above at our design agency fakecrow;

We've built some templates inside MailChimp and we've repurposing them.

We've also used 3rd party templates especially when responsiveness is a big deal (we look for templates that will make our lives easier; it is easy to design a good looking template but harder to make it perform well on different devices, email clients, etc.)

And when/if there is a special need we design the newsletter (including how it should look depending on the client) and get it developed: We use HtmlBurger ( we've worked with them over a dozen projects so far and the code is always clean. They are also very reasonable in price, responsive and fast. (they can also deliver as a MailChimp template)

@thomas, we send html but give the option to view as text only (MailChimp has it built in).



Eva May Purposeful Program Developer and Marketing Professional

December 11th, 2014

I would recommend selecting your template design sources based on your database size and email marketing needs. For smaller databases or ones that you'll be customizing for different mailers, Constant Contact has a lot of template options that are easy to use. You can also ask designers to build you a template that you can easily update with new photos and content, if you like one format that you will use for a lot of different mailers. Good luck!

John Skelly Founder, CEO at GasAnywhere

December 11th, 2014

Email design is and likely forever will be based on tables. Templates available on ESP's like Mail Chimp and others are certainly the cheapest to work from. If you or your clients need custom templates, any HTML person can put these together for you, on the cheap. Cheers, John John Skelly v.971.400.5420 []   []  []  []

Richard Titus CEO/COO, senior executive and experienced board director

December 11th, 2014

WE are struggling with this as well. Love to hear better solutions. For now we're using Fiver to get designs (very unreliable) and then manually integrating.  We use Campaign monitor... 

Neville Franks

December 11th, 2014

 I've modified templates from mailgun. After reading about the endless issues trying to cater for all the different email clients, I've opted to keep the templates as plain and simple as possible while still looking modern and stylish.

I also looked closely at antwort  but decided that although they are clean and simple, they are a bit plain.

I use Mailchimp to send email's and do this from within Clibu as part of the workflow when people sign up. I couldn't see a way to accomplish what I needed using Mailchimp's automation.

Jeff Lougheed Next Gen Sales Leader l High-Performance Team Builder

December 11th, 2014

Hi, I've used templates from Mail Chimp and just used the designer in MC to create my own. There is a good amount of research out there saying the best emails are just plan text and very short. Finally, contents has some amazing courses (free) on the ABC's of design that I'd highly recommend if you have a couple hours and want to have the flexibility to design your own amazing templates. Good luck! J Please excuse the errors, I'm all thumbs on this thing!

Giorgos Yfantis Marketing & Strategy Executive

December 11th, 2014

Hi Firouzeh,

I think it has to be a 'successful combination' of all of them. Email campaigns, is about what you want to bring to readers. How you inspire them on your products and how you keen their willingness. You have also to consider what is the main aim of your campaign and who do you target. So, in most cases, you find something ready (from theme forest templates, or from mailchimp or any other email client that support email templates) and your designers has to transform it to make it suitable for the current purposes of your email campaign.

In every case, you have to run A/B tests. You have to learn each time from every past email campaign you have run, so to make your next campaign, better according to goals you set. A short example on this, is the following case. You have run a campaign and your Click To Action didn't reached from your recipients as you expected. You have to test, in which way (if you change the position of the banner for example) is reached in maximum  

I think it's not the design that makes the difference as is how you put your content and how you present it in an email to make the readers to want to learn more, to reach your products and how you guide them as well after reaching the email.

I believe that can help you if you study how some companies send their emails (ex. Apple's campaigns are light and simple enough, but keen you to see more, even if you already know what is about, and this is incredible). 

For templates, you can always find great ones in themeforest and if you have creative designers, you can transform them to great email campaigns.

Best regards,

Yazan Al-Sheikhly CEO at Right Servers Inc., Co-Founder at BitSent Inc.

December 11th, 2014

I've mainly sourced them from themeforest. We typically choose templates that can be used throughout the mail campaign with modular capabilities in case we want to send an email with or without a video, button, links, blogs, etc.. It helps with branding, some other items to look for are:
Text alternative (large mail providers like Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, etc. will check for that as a way to avoid SPAM)
3-4 layouts
lots of sales and updates (it shows that they adapt to changing needs and the template will continue to be relevant)

The main thing that you need to get is something that looks better on mobile, that is always #1 for us as we have noticed that the majority of our emails are opened on mobile devices - smartphones, then tablets and followed by desktops. This is our priority because most of our list will use mobile devices, it may not necessarily be the same for you.

I hope that helps!

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

December 11th, 2014

Does anyone have any ideas on theming for transactional emails - especially those that have repeating data (e.g., a list of events, products, etc.)? I've used templates from Themeforest and custom-developed templates (these guys do a good job:, but find that I have to tear them apart and reassemble them because I can't just do a simple value substitution.

Dara Moore Digital Channel Manager at Rairdon Auto Group

December 11th, 2014

I deal with mostly promotional emails and my staff and I design them in house. We have greater control over how the message is conveyed. I know people, and have in the past, that use These Forest for templates to send out in their own CRM with great success as well as using the templates available in Mail Chimp.

No matter who or how they are built what is important is that your brand is communicated the way you want it to be.