How to Design Beautiful Emails in Canva & Mailchimp

Posted by Janna Hagan on

how to design email templates in canva and mailchimp


High-quality email design is an extremely effective way of building rapport and loyalty, helping keep your brand front of mind. Well-designed emails help reach your customers with the information they need (wand want), exactly when they need it.

This guide will give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to create beautiful email campaigns using Canva and Mailchimp. 

Why is email marketing important?

Communicating with your customers through email is one of the most efficient ways to engage and convert your audience. It is truly one of the only marketing avenues that you own.

Direct-to-inbox marketing is highly-effective and many surveys have shown that businesses receive an ROI of $40 for every $1 they spend on email marketing. It's also been shown that people can spend close to 30% of their workday in their inbox!

A well-designed email strategy can help your business:

    • Build stronger, direct relationships with your customers
    • Boost open rates
    • Drive traffic and convert sales (at a higher rate than social media!)
    • Targeted and personalized content

So, let's get to it! 

Getting started with Canva

Canva is a free online design tool. It allows you to easily make images and designs for multiple formats, such as email. I love Canva because of how intuitive it is – even for users with little design experience.

Step #1. Open Canva and create an account

To get started, create a Canva account (for free) and login.

From here, you basically have two options. You can create an email design from scratch from a blank document or you can opt to start with a pre-made email template. Even though these templates may need to be tweaked to reflect your branding, these templates can save you a lot of time and are a really helpful starting point (especially for beginners).

For the sake of this walk-through, I’m going to be using one of our pre-made email templates. You can download this template for free by entering your email below:

sign up to get this free email template

If you prefer to make a template from scratch, you can click on the "Create a design" button.

create a new design with canva

Step #2. Open your template

Unlike Photoshop or InDesign, there’s barely any learning curve to getting started with Canva. Even though it's a tool that is super easy to jump into, I’m going to walk through some of the basics so you have an idea of where everything is.

When you open the link to your Canva template, you will see a screen like this. Click on “Use template.”

use this template in canva

Making edits to your email template

Step #1. Edit text

To edit text in Canva, simple click on the copy you wish to edit. Once you have the text selected, you can edit font, size, color, spacing, and more from the text toolbar at the top.

how to edit text in canva

Canva Pro Tip: If you are a Pro Canva member, you can access an extended font library (premium fonts) to select from and upload your own font files to match your branding.

Step #2. Changing colors

To change colors of any elements, simply select it and click on the color swatch that appears. This gives you the ability to select a new color or an existing color from the document presets.

how to change colors in canva

Step #3. Replacing images

To replace the placeholder images in the email template with your own, click on the “Uploads” tab on the left hand side of the screen. Click on “Upload an image or video.” Select the image(s) you want to feature in your email. Once they have uploaded, you can drag and drop them overtop of the image where you want it to appear. It’s seriously that easy!

how to upload images into canva

Step #4. Tweaking layout

If you need to add more content, you can easily duplicate pages by clicking on the “Page” icon (see below). You can also add additional blank pages, if needed. If you make any mistakes, you can undo any changes by using Command + Z. To copy and paste any elements onto another page, you can use Command + C to copy, and Command + V to paste.

how to duplicate pages in canva

Exporting your email

Now that your email is ready to go and you’ve made all your edits, we need to export and upload your designs so you can start sending it to your subscribers.

Step #1. Syncing with Mailchimp

For this tutorial, we will be showcasing how to sync your designs between Canva and Mailchimp. If you use a different email software, you can always export your images and upload them manually.

To begin, click on the “Publish” button in the top right corner. A dropdown menu will appear. Click on “Show more.” Scroll down and click on “Mailchimp.” Enter your Mailchimp account details so you are able to sync any images.

Once that’s done, your image will be loaded into your Content Manager (under Brand > Content Studio) in your Mailchimp account.

mailchimp sync

(Optional) Step #2. Exporting manually

If you prefer to export your images onto your Desktop and upload them manually, you can follow these instructions. Click on the down arrow (download) button in the top right corner. Select the settings you would like, including file type and what pages you want to export. Click “Download.”

Once you’ve exported all your images, you can create a new email campaign in Mailchimp. From there, drag and drop an image block into your email. Upload your image.

how to download images in canva

Step #3. Creating your email campaign in Mailchimp

If you opted to sync your images automatically, you’ll need to create a new email campaign. Once you’re in editing mode, drag and drop an image block into your email. Click on “Upload image.” The images you synced from Canva should appear under “My files.” Select the image you want and insert.

upload an image into mailchimp

To fill your image to fit the entire image block, click on “Settings.” Under settings, make sure that the box “Edge to edge” and “Constrain image dimensions by 50% for higher-resolution displays” are checked off.

image settings in mailchimp

Step #4. Add links and send!

Make sure you link all images to the appropriate URL on your website. Once you’re done, you are ready to send! Make sure you edit your email subject, recipients, and schedule when you want to send your email campaign before you hit send. Congrats – you are done!

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how to design emails in canva and mailchimp

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