Designing for email

What to watch out for

Georgina Doyle avatar
Written by Georgina Doyle
Updated over a week ago

Airship allows you to send responsive HTML emails with its Email Builder tool. Our templates have been designed to balance features, quality and support a range of email clients. 

When designing for email, it is important to bear in mind what does and doesn’t work when viewing your email in an email client such as Gmail or Outlook.

Keep your email’s maximum width to 600px

All Airship templates are set to a maximum width of 600px, this is because emails that are wider than this are not widely supported by email clients. This means that all your assets should be 600px width.

Email clients differ in how they display your email content

Be prepared to expect slight design differences between email clients. Our templates are tested in a number of clients and have been designed to help you cater for the mass market. For this reason, we don’t support older clients such as Outlook 2003, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013.

Don’t rely on images to convey your message

Missing images can ruin an email. Some email clients, such as Outlook, AOL, Yahoo disable images by default so it is important to bear this in mind and ensure you have a good amount of text in your email.

Apple Mail, iOS, Gmail have images turned on. 

Web Fonts

Fonts cannot be changed in Airship’s email builder, instead they are defined in your templates, to keep your emails consistent and to ensure that only email-safe fonts are used. This also ensures that fonts display correctly in Outlook, because without the use of a font compatible with Outlook, it defaults to Times New Roman!

Below is a list of supported email-safe fonts:


Courier New


Lucida Sans Unicode


Times New Roman

Trebuchet MS


The below list are fonts included in our email builder and will work in most browsers and email clients:

Andale Mono

Arial Black

Book Antiqua


Comic sans MS

Crimson Text




Lobster two


Old Standard TT

Open Sans


Playfair Display



Source Sans Pro



What about customising the look of my emails?

There are some nice features you can add to an email’s design to make it stand out, such as background images or rounded call-to-actions. However, the downside of using these as the basis for your design is that they don’t work in all email clients. Outlook, for example, doesn’t support background images or rounded call to actions.

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