You would always like your emails to appear right in all situations. Especially these days, when almost all emails are opened on mobile devices. This is where responsive designs come in. Responsive design is vital to most commercial email senders. Keep reading to learn the basic principles of building responsive layout emails, using different software like the CSS Media Queries.

The primary structure of each HTML email constitutes a head, a body, and a doctype declaration. Within the head of the email, you should define the width of the device and the character set. When planning to create a responsive email, you need to apply a meta viewpoint. Using a meta viewpoint sends a message to your email client that they should assume that the email is as similarly wide as the width of the device screen in which the email is being displayed.

First, designing responsive emails is essential, according to the following statistical reasons:

1. Email is opened about 51% of the time on mobile devices.

2. Apple iPhone at 28% is the most remarkable email client.

3. According to MailChimp, the unique clicks amongst most mobile users relating to campaigns for responsive emails increased from 2.7% to over 3%, almost a 15% increase.

4. $48 is the average return for every $1 that is spent or invested in email marketing.

How to structure your email layout

You will notice on your email layout that there are two boxes carefully placed together. These boxes should be placed within some tables. In an email, all boxes need to occupy a table. Else, the content of your email will break part in different patterns.

Begin with a table in the background, and then make a wrapper which you will center. Finally, make a table to align with your content. To achieve this, apply two ‘td’ concepts that are typically displayed side by side. You may only change this pattern if the screen is smaller. You can use media queries to do this.

How to use the CSS media queries

To determine whether to include a block of CSS elements or not, media queries apply an @media rule. The @media rule consists of three segments: the type of media, the styles you should use, and a condition. Media queries are usually marked in the head section of your email document. They work when you embed them in your HTML. Without doing so, you cannot use inline styles for media queries.

Also, there are various possible rules used in media queries. The most common of these rules is the “max-width” 600px rule. This means that if the email layout on the screen is less than 600px in width, then you should use other CSS media queries except the inline. In the case where the screen is 600px and above wide, using inline styles is proper then.

How to use the declaration to build your email template

You should note that it is a common practice to apply “declaration” when designing your HTML email template within the media queries. Using the declaration, you may override every inline style. However, some email clients reject style sheets that are embedded so you may want to stick with the inline styles.

Most times, inline CSS may be challenging to write, so you need good software to be inline with the CSS automatically. Make a precise organization of groups in the document: it does not only make your email layout look more structured, but it also allows for easy writing of media queries and style sheets. Other suitable methods to adopt in designing a responsive layout email are:

  • Separate elements

A responsive email is characterized by concepts being displayed under one another, instead of being side by side with each other. This is especially seen on smaller screens. For you to get this, you should consider creating separate elements. For instance, you may create your content in two columns. In your regular document, creating a table using two cell columns is a great idea.

On the other hand, if it is a responsive email document, then you should make two different elements, having one aligned on the right side and other on the left side of the document. If you fail to do this, the two-columned table you made will shrink as your screen becomes smaller and illegible.

  • Test for email clients

Although most email clients prefer media queries, it is not everyone that uses them always. Sometimes the providers make them change their decision on them. Hence, doing tests of your emails on many clients before sending is very important. Using a reliable email template builder will help you know which client and what devices your audience so that you can understand what to emphasize on while designing and testing.

  • Properly situate your call to action

The proper place for you to place your essential information or urgent call to action is “Above the fold,” which is at the top of your email folder. The term is borrowed from journalism (print). It means that you want the content that you deem most important to be readily available even without your audience having to scroll before finding it.

  • Avoid using hyperlinks

Refrain from making several hyperlinks cluster together, or you may do without using hyperlinks at all. If they are clustered together, your audience may try to tap a link in the email and accidentally choose another which is very closely situated with the original link. Use prominent and tappable buttons instead.


In what way can you select which email design style is perfect for you, your audience, and your business? Begin by taking your users’ email habits into consideration. Do you often send your email newsletters out? What devices do your users prefer using when viewing the emails you send to them?

The answer to these questions is to keep testing. Try fluid, scalable, or responsive designs and compare the results. Once you align with a format that gets responses, all that is left for you to do is keep producing excellent email content.