The Emails I Actually Read

May 5, 2022

Collage of the email at symbol with some funky shapes.

I subscribe to a lot of newsletters. Hell, I even wrote a post about how you should subscribe to everything—and another about how you should unsubscribe often. But few email newsletters actually stick out in my unreads. So I thought it’d be a fun exercise to look through Apple Mail and share the emails that I actually spend time on every time they hit my inbox.

Tattly Tattoos

An example of a Tattly email.

Tattly sends an awesome newsletter (sign up in their website footer). On top of showcasing their cool products and designs, they alway include a “Fun Links to Click On” section with—exactly as advertised—fun links to click on. And, as a designer, I appreciate their colorful, fun aesthetic. It always brightens up my day as soon as I open it up.

The Async Newsletter

Technically, this is a new one, but it’s the spiritual successor to Ambition & Balance, the exceptional newsletter from the Todoist crew. For years, they’ve delivered thoughtful articles on work, productivity, and life in a well-designed, beautifully illustrated email. I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves now that they’re focusing on async and how work’s changing.

Poem-A-Day

I’ve been signed up for Poets.org’s Poem-A-Day for years, and it never fails to deliver. I’ll admit that I don’t read every poem that comes my way, but I’ve been exposed to some truly wonderful work that’d I’d otherwise never know about over the years. It’s also nicely designed and includes some great touches, like the audio recordings of the poems and information about the poet and the poem itself.

Bandcamp Daily

If you subscribe to my newsletter, Regular Communication, you know I’m a nut for music and finding new stuff to listen to. That’s the main reason I love Bandcamp Daily’s weekly roundup (scroll down to sign up), delivered every Friday. It’s always full of new music recommendations spanning a wide range of genres. A great way to wrap up the week and kick off the weekend.

She Shreds

An example of a She Shreds email.

I love She Shreds. It’s a publication devoted to women guitarists and bassists, but has wide appeal to anyone interested in music. Their content is always so well-written and educational, and they have an amazing aesthetic that always comes through. I sometimes miss their stuff on social, so I’m thrilled anytime one of their emails hits my inbox. Sign up down near the footer.

Ulysses News

I’m a big fan of Ulysses and have used it on-and-off for years. I’m typing this up right now in Ulysses. So it’s no surprise that I love their emails, too. Ulysses News is a great example of a brand balancing product updates and promotional content with practical, educational articles that’ll improve the lives of their subscribers. The design is top notch, too.

Dracula Daily

I just started getting these this week but what a perfect idea. Matt Kirkland is taking the classic epistolary novel, Dracula, and sending it out in real time. Started on May 3rd with Jonathan Harker’s first diary entry and wraps up in November with Mina’s final journal entry. Brilliant use of email.

Really Good Emails

For email marketing folks (or anyone who loves quirky, funny copywriting with a heart), Really Good Emails’ weekly send (you’ll get a popup to subscribe) should be on your list of must-reads. Fun writing, killer GIFs, and plenty of links to great articles from the email marketing industry.

#EmailWeekly

Another one for email nerds. The long-running #EmailWeekly from the Action Rocket crew brings a roundup of news and articles from around the email world. It also frequently experiments with the code and design powering the email, helping to push the boundaries of what’s possible in email design.

Harry’s Marketing Examples Newsletter

I’m not in love with the design of Harry’s Marketing Examples Newsletter (although it has a certain naive charm to it) but the content so far has been on point. It’s exactly what it says: a bunch of marketing examples broken down into extraordinarily practical tips which you can take into your own work.

Dense Discovery

An example of a Dense Discovery email.

And finally, my favorite newsletter of all time: Dense Discovery from Kai Brach. Kai describes it as, “a thoughtful weekly newsletter helping you feel inspired, be productive & think critically.” That’s the perfect description. Each issue includes a truly thoughtful intro that could be about anything from work-life balance to how we can tackle climate change as individuals. It’s followed by some of the best links to products, articles, books, and aesthetic goodness you’ll find in an email. It’s truly an inspiration and one of the most welcome parts of my week.


Have any emails you can’t wait to open? Email me and let me know, I’m always looking for new reads.