The Anatomy of Email #3: Banner and Header

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There’s a lot to think about when building an email; from name, footers, testing and of course the all important content itself.  Here’s Part 3 in the ‘Email Anatomy’ series, where Andy Thorpe of Pure360 takes a look at Banners and Headers of an email.


It’s popular to have a bit of a banner near the top of an email, normally an image holding your logo.

  • Size
    If your logo image is too big it will take over and whilst the images are blocked, recipients will not be able to see what your email is about when they first open it. Also image sizes trump table widths so if your image is wider than the table it will push the table wider.
  • Weight
    Every image has a certain amount of memory it takes up depending on its size and quality. For instance a 640px by 480px 1600dpi jpeg will be gigantic where a 45 x 30px 96dpi gif will be tiny.

If your logo image is really big you will need to change the width and length in your Wysiwyg (What you see is what you get) the image will still be the same weight. If you don’t do this, when someone loads the images it will take ages to load and you could lose their interest.

Most monitors only need images of 96dpi. So when you get your logo url from your designer make sure it is the size you need it in email, this way you haven’t got to resize it.

  • Relevance
    Ask yourself ‘Is the banner relevant to the point of the email?’ Is it just your logo or are you making the content personal to this email and even the recipient?
  • Position
    The banner does not have to be at the top, in the middle or take up the entire width of the page. People read from top left to bottom right, so you could have a smaller logo on the left and put your header text on the right, or the other way round? Why not test it to find out which way looks best?


The header is the popular larger text used to announce what the email is all about. This is not a required section and is often put in alongside the logo banner or merged into one image.

The header is often also known as the headline of the email, for example the main story in a newsletter or call to action in the message. So it can introduce the email properly, elaborate on the subject line and preheader description line, or add another call to action with a bit more context than one in the preheader.

  • Size
    If it’s too big it’ll be a bit too aggressive, if it’s too small it won’t have the desired effect.  If you use an image it’ll need to be loaded and if you use too large text it’ll get a spam warning.
  • Appearance
    Ask yourself ‘Does it stand out enough but still blend into the theme of the message?’ Many emails have a consistent template where the logo and header is always the same but this doesn’t always work, it depends on the tone and the content of that particular email.
  • Relevance
    Does it say what it needs to? Is it delivering that first main message to the recipient that you need it to?   If not, you might not need it at all and you can plough straight into the content…

…which is what I will talk about in my next blog.

Look out for the next blog in the Email Anatomy series which will be all about content and footers.  If you are on twitter you can even follow the #emailanatomy hashtag.

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