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HTML email design


Junior Member
Hi guys,

I'm looking for advice on best practice for HTML email design, esp concerning images.

I'm currently designing using nestled tables, generally with three or four large images in the design.

I noticed a few companies that send really nicely designed emails (eg. Hotel Chocolat) use images that are cut into lots of really small sections and re-assembled in the code.

Firstly, is there a good reason for cutting images into lots of tiny pieces (rather than one image that spreads the width of the email).

Secondly, if there is a good reason, does anyone know an easy way to do this? I currently use GIMP or Paint.net to cut up images, which is fine for a few divides, but would be a nightmare for chopping images into more than five or six pieces.

Any advice would be appreciated!



(Sorry if my use of terminology is a bit off - I'm new to the design world!)


Senior Member
Hi Keith,

The best way to do HTML emails is just in the name. Complete HTML stay away from any CSS, and just have everything in plain HTML. As for the images, slice them how you need them. Just make sure the images are small in file size and at a decent quality. This months .net magazine has a little book on building them if you buy it?


Junior Member
Thanks Glen.

Is it better to have several small images rather than one large-ish one (around 25KB)?

Cheers for the magazine advice. I'll check that out.
There are lots of great tips and advice on the Mailchimp.com and CampaignMonitor.com website.

Not only will they give you advice on embedded CSS and tags etc, but you can also download pre-designed HTML templates which have been tried and tested (you just need to modify the templates to suit your own layout).


Junior Member
Thanks guys.

Greg, thanks for link. I try to keep a good balance between images and text, to avoid spam filters. Some of the images are logos, etc but some will contain text as well. Try to design so the message comes through with images off. The Hotel Chocolat emails are a really good example of this.

How do others approach designing emails - do you design in image software first, and then cut images to size for coding?