You might have heard these misconceptions about Email Design Systems so frequently that you might think they’re true. But it’s time to bust some myths.

Over the last few years, Email Design Systems have grown to be one of the hottest topics in the email design world, and more and more brands are implementing them to streamline their email creation process.

But as the chatter around Email Design Systems has picked up, we’ve also heard a few statements being repeated over and over — even though they aren’t quite true. So we thought we’d set the record straight.

Here are 5 common misconceptions about Email Design Systems and why they’re simply not true.

Myth #1: Email Design Systems limit creativity

It’s easy to think that an Email Design System will limit your creative freedom.

Yes, if you have an Email Design System in place, your team can no longer adjust the email HTML on the fly as they create a new campaign. But is that really where your creative hours should have been spent in the first place? Email Design Systems provide a framework that sets the direction for your campaigns — and that channels your team’s creative powers to where it will make the biggest impact: Your email content.

As Jennifer Schmich puts it so beautifully:
Systems don’t kill creativity; they redirect it.

If your creatives no longer have to spend their time designing and hand-coding every single email, you just freed up hours of creative work to design beautiful imagery, work on custom illustrations, or experiment with those animations that you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time for. Whatever is on your creative wishlist, an Email Design System will give you the breathing room you need to finally tackle those.

Myth #2: With an Email Design System, every email will look the same

One of the biggest benefits of an Email Design System is that it creates brand consistency, making sure that each campaign that’s sent on your brand’s behalf has the same look and feel. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it will make all your campaigns look the same though.

Picture your Email Design System as your foundation that ensures that your subscribers will recognize your brand, no matter if they have a promotion or a password reset email in their inbox. It sets the direction for crucial brand elements including colors, typography, and key layout elements but then gives your team the flexibility and freedom they need to reach their unique campaign goals.

Email Design Systems that are well done put campaign-specific content — your imagery, your content, your call-to-action — in the spotlight while at the same time ensuring brand alignment. They make your campaigns look like they’re coming from the same team and create recognizability without creating sameness.

Plus, just because you have an Email Design System in place that doesn’t mean that you can’t deviate from it for special, one-off campaigns. An Email Design System will help you streamline your email workflow for routine emails that your brand is sending — and that means that you’ll have more resources available to design one-off campaigns from scratch should you ever want to design a campaign that’s truly different for a special occasion.

Myth #3: Email Design Systems will make your emails look blocky

While an Email Design System is a collection of building blocks — or email modules — that you can combine together to create your campaigns, that doesn’t mean that your final design will have a blocky feel to it. A well-designed Email Design System consists of modules that work together seamlessly to create bespoke layouts and great-looking emails.

You don’t believe us until you see it? Let’s look at an example. Here’s an Email Design System from luxury travel brand Belmond — and how it shapes emails that are stunning, not blocky.


Would you love to see more examples of Email Design Systems and how brands put them to work? Watch our webinar "An introduction to Email Design Systems".

Myth #4: Maintaining an Email Design System is more work than it's worth

While it’s true that setting up an Email Design System takes time and effort, the majority of brands see an increase in productivity and email quality that makes the initial investment more than worth it. That’s because Email Design Systems...

  • Help less technical teams create email. The team at Genesys, for example, was able to knock out 4 times the work because implementing an Email Design System with Taxi enabled the less technical teams to help with email production.
  • Make creating campaigns faster. Working with pre-designed email modules rather than creating each campaign from scratch can easily save hours of work for each campaign. The team at Global Radio, for example, cut their email production time by 80%, thanks to an Email Design System.
  • Cut down review and approval times. Email review and approval processes can be one of the biggest time drains in the email process. But when email modules and design elements are pre-approved, that means your team can focus on reviewing the campaign’s content. That saves time (and your sanity.)

Myth #5: My team won't use an Email Design System anyways

Yes, we’ve seen teams struggling to use their Email Design Systems. But if that happens, then that’s either because the available modules don’t match the team’s needs, the design system is outdated, or because using the Email Design System is complicated and not intuitive.

The key is to understand that an Email Design System is a living thing — it’s important to spend time with the people who use it, listen to their feedback, and help your design system evolve.

If you’re giving the people who will be using the Email Design System day in and day out a seat on the table when you’re creating your modules, you can truly design it to meet their needs and address their pain points. Plus, if you then make it easy for everyone to put the design system to work (with a tool like Taxi for Email, for example), your team will see the benefits of the Email Design System in no time — and adoption won’t be an issue.

For more tips on how to involve your team in the process of creating and maintaining an Email Design System, check out the EmailTalk Podcast episode 5 where Elliot Ross, CEO at Taxi, chats with Zillow’s Crystal Ledesma about what it takes to make an awesome Email Design System.

Taxi for Email: We bring your Email Design System to life

With Taxi, you’ll put your designers in full control of the brand experience—and make building great email a breeze for marketers. Say hello to the best tool to help you manage your Email Design System, make fewer mistakes, and scale your email production with Taxi. Learn more.

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