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Transactional Email Design: Best Practices, Cool Tips and Inspiring Examples

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This article was last updated on January 29, 2019

Feeling stuck with your transactional email design and need some inspiration to unleash your creativity?

Today’s post is all about transactional emails and how to get the best out of them. Before we dive into the sea of transactional email design examples and valuable tips, let’s clear up any vagueness about what type of email this is.

What do we mean by “transactional emails”?

It’s a common misconception that transactional emails have something to do with purchases. That’s not always the case. Since it’s true that you can and will most likely receive such kind of emails prior, during or after your purchase, you are probably receiving various transactional email kinds, such as:

  • Welcome emails;
  • Thank You emails;
  • Abandoned cart or abandoned browsing emails;
  • Confirmation emails;
  • Emails regarding your activity or inactivity (reactivation emails);
  • Emails summarizing profile activity or changes;
  • Notifications;
  • Password reset;
  • Post-purchase emails, such as invitation to rate a product, etc.


In other words, transactional emails are automated emails triggered by a particular event.

Why are transactional emails important?

First of all, they inform your audience about something. So, this means these emails are often expected (a welcome email) or even requested (when you need a password reset). Therefore, they generate an extremely high open rate.

Moreover, the transactional emails ensure more frequent interaction with your brand. This, for its part, strengthens the customer-brand bond which is a goal of every brand. They also increase the chances that your audience will pay attention to your marketing emails. Convinced? Good, let’s move on.


What are the transactional email design best practices?

Most transactional emails are purposed to inform the recipients about a particular event. Therefore, you should build the transactional email design complementing the content and not vice versa.

As most transactional emails have pretty straightforward design structure (or sometimes no design, at all), this doesn’t mean you have to limit your creativity. The more creative you are, the better your chances to leave a lasting impression.

Welcome emails, for example, are the kind of transactional email design where you can get the most creative for sure. We’ve prepared some pretty good transactional email examples for you, as well as abandonment cart emails and other creative ideas. Let’s start!

1. Desk top view design

Used by vente-privee for their Welcome email, this type of design easily breaks the ice, as it gives a familiar feeling of looking at your workspace.


The treats and beverages enhance the coziness and convey pleasurable feelings. The tone of the letter is also very friendly. A great transactional email design example that puts the foundation of a strong customer-brand relationship.

2. Minimalist transactional email design

Minimalist transactional email design with a powerful copy can sometimes be enough to nail your recipient’s attention. This Uncovet subscription email is the real example. In addition, the call-to-action button is the only colored element which automatically draws the eye.

3. Symmetric transactional email design

Eye-pleasing and satisfying, this type of transactional email design puts a frame around the text.  It makes makes you feel comfortable and safe in the same time.


4. Transactional email design with simple illustrations.

Illustrations can easily convey a feeling, and even a concept. They make the text way more digestable and convey your message better. This is what Warby Parker used in their “Thanks for signing up” transactional email design.


Here is another example. Typeform also uses a simple vector illustration to convey excitement and happy feelings.

In the following example Harry’s have used simple outline icons to depicture each block of text.


5. Design focusing on the call-to-action button

Tattly designed their “Thanks for signing up” completely focusing on the call-to-action button colored in red. They also enhanced it with a picture and copy both conveying excitement.


Here is another straightforward transactional email design leading the recipient’s eye right to the call-to-action button.

Another example of such a design is the abandoned cart email campaign by Evans. They also used a sharp picture of a model but still focused on the call-to-action button.

Want to see more Abandoned cart email examples?

6. Design with blocks each including a call-to-action button

Pretty straightforward and widely used transactional email design style, giving the newly subscribed various options to start browsing. Crisp images, happy faces and consistent design of all sections make this kind of transactional email design a winner.


Here are a few more examples of transactional email designs depicting blocks or sections with their own call-to-action buttons.

What you just saw, was a transactional email design example by BLDG 25. And the next one is by Warby Parker.


7. Text only transactional email design

This kind of design may seem too simple but there is a lot of thought put into it regarding the choice of font, colors, and background. All of these elements need to work in favor of boosting the copy message.

Here is an example by tarte playing with beautiful gradients for the background.

And just a pinch of more inspiration…

A beautiful collection of Zuzily transactional email design series triggered when the user invites friends to their service. Putting pictures of children always taps into the emotions, doesn’t it? Also, it makes the process seem easy like a child could do it.

Well, that’s it! We hope we’ve managed to clear it up for you what transactional emails are. Hopefully, we also inspired you with the collection of transactional email design examples. If you have anything you want to add to this collection, go ahead and share it in the Comments’ section below.

Want to fuel your creativity even more with Email Design Inspiration: Top 10 Sources for Top Inspiration?