What are the Visual Hierarchy elements in email design?

Visual hierarchy elements help a subscriber focus on the more important aspects of your email. You only have a few seconds to grab your subscriber’s attention and get them to take action, so the visual presentation of your content is important.

Use these elements as a guide when considering design decisions and select a few of them to apply to your design to start. After time, you will get a good idea about how the different design concepts can work best for your brand. Be mindful about trying to use all the design elements in an email at the same time as it could create an overwhelming visual experience for your subscriber.

Also look at emails from other brands you admire to see how they use these design elements. Many top brands have expert design teams, so seeing how they apply these elements may help you make design decisions for your brand.

Elements of Visual Hierarchy

  • Size — Larger elements attract a subscriber’s attention and have visual dominance.
  • Color — Vibrant and bright colors catch eyes much more than muted and darker colors.
  • Contrast — Obvious differences between elements utilizing color and brightness draw eyes to the brighter, more vibrant element.
  • Alignment — Users expect to see similar items grouped together when they scan an email quickly.
  • Repetition — A repeated color, section of text, image pattern (etc.) attracts a subscriber's attention.
  • Proximity — Placing related elements like headline, supporting text and call-to-action close together lets a subscriber know that these elements are related to each other.
  • Whitespace — Including whitespace between elements disassociates the elements from each other, allowing the subscriber to more easily digest the new group of elements as they scan your email.

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