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Denise Keller

Possibilities and Drawbacks of Designing HTML Email from Scratch

May 26 2011, 05:28 PM by

HTML is a flexible programming language capable of working its magic both on the web and in the inbox. When used correctly, it can truly help you bring out the best in your marketing message. The do-it-yourself route always seems like a good idea in the beginning, but this is really a method that has endless possibilities as well as a few drawbacks. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of designing your HTML emails from scratch.
The Pros:
You Save

Taking the DIY route is almost guaranteed to save you money. There is no need to hire a third-party designer or purchase templates to bring your message to life. However, this is usually only the case when you possess the knowledge to get the job done.

Complete Control

Another huge plus lies in the fact that you have complete control over your design. Whenever changes need to be made, you can make them just like that. No need to run something by your designer or deal with restricting templates. You call the shots.

Scale when You Want

The great thing about building your HTML email from the ground up is that you can easily expand when you want. This means you have the luxury to scale your design to support new products, social media features or whatever is needed at the time. The best part of all is that this can be done without having to consult with a designer when it comes time to expand.
The Cons:
Precious Time Lost

Designing your HTML emails from scratch can be a time consuming endeavor. This is true for when you have a designer onboard but even more so when it is you doing the work. All the time you put into the design is time that could be spent on other important aspects of your email marketing.


A solid email is far more than presentation. When HTML is factored into the mix, functionality is just as important. Making sure your message looks and functions well across multiple platforms can be challenging enough to warrant outsourcing the job to someone else or going with a pre-made template.


If you are an expert designer proficient in HTML coding, designing your email from scratch shouldn’t be much of a problem. If you’re not, then you could have your hands full. While learning HTML is much easier than languages like PHP and Python, it is a process, and one that could be complicated for those with just general computing skills.
What Will It Be?
In the end, whether or not you should design your HTML emails from scratch boils down to these two factors: the level of experience you have on your side, and time. There is no right or wrong, but it is a tough decision and one that only you can make.

Posted in Email Design & Templates

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