July 31, 2023

Improve newsletter readability with Content Dividers.

👋 Hello newsletter enthusiasts,

Brand recognition in a newsletter goes beyond just words and tone.

It's embedded in (sometimes) subtle elements like color choice, font selection and overall design layout.

One simple, but key element that can get overlooked, but be found in nearly every newsletter and is key to readability is Content Dividers.

These little gems offer a unique opportunity to showcase your creativity and enhance your branding.

🐾 As always, thank you for reading. Stay pawsome.

🔑 Key observations

  • Content Dividers are crucial elements in newsletters. They not only enhance readability and organization, but also guide the reader through the content, making it easier to digest. Additionally, they can contribute to the newsletter's overall aesthetics.
  • The design of Content Dividers should reflect a brand's identity and be consistent with the overall theme of the newsletter. The choice between minimalist lines or more elaborate graphics can subtly set the tone and feel of the content. Examples, shared below, like The Neuron and The Morning from The New York Times show the range of styles that can be used.
  • Though often overlooked, Content Dividers play a vital role in the reader's experience. They can transform a cluttered newsletter into a well-structured, engaging piece of content. As such, investing time and thought into their design can significantly enhance the overall quality of a newsletter.

Why are Content Dividers important?

Content Dividers are key structural elements in newsletters. They guide readers through different sections and topics while enhancing readability and visual appeal.

Without Content Dividers or sections, newsletters can become a challenging wall of text to navigate. A well-placed content divider provides visual cues, differentiates between long pieces of content, and gives readers a breather, making information easier to digest.

To illustrate, let's look at an example of the same section with a Content Divider (left) and no Content Divider (right).

The Newsletter Newsletter

The subtle distinction helps give each section attention and makes the newsletter easier to navigate as you scroll.

Design choices and examples

Content Dividers can range from minimalistic horizontal lines to more elaborate designs. The choice of Content Dividers can subtly affect the tone and feel of the newsletter and how it reflects the brand’s personality.

Here are some examples to illustrate the range and creative potential of Content Dividers:

Example 1: The Neuron

The Neuron, a newsletter with over 100,000 subscribers, focuses on "AI trends and tools you need to know".

They've incorporated their unique branding into their Content Dividers, featuring their iconic cat logo in a playful and visually delightful way.

We’re big fans of animals, especially dogs (see our logo).

The Neuron

These clever dividers add a little “surprise and delight” to each section and edition of the newsletter. They may seem like a small detail, but their consistent use throughout the newsletter underscores the thought and care that go into the design.

In this case, the Content Dividers act as an extension of The Neuron's unique branding and contribute to a memorable reader experience.

Example 2: The Morning from The New York Times

The Morning, a newsletter from The New York Times with the goal to “Make sense of the day’s news and ideas” and is sent to over 17 million subscribers, according to Campaign Monitor.

The newsletter employs a consistent theme that mirrors the aesthetic of The New York Times, creating an immediate visual link between the two. This association helps reinforce the brand's image and adds credibility to the newsletter.

The use of simple fonts and a black-and-white color scheme evokes the look and feel of a traditional newspaper. This not only offers familiarity and readability to the readers, but it also provides a sense of continuity, bridging the gap between the physical paper and digital media.

The New York Times - The Morning

A crucial element of The Morning's design is its use of thick black horizontal lines as Content Dividers. These lines are highly effective in distinguishing different sections within the newsletter.

The positioning of the section topic label just beneath the line further accentuates the clear distinction between sections. This design choice ensures seamless navigation, making it easier for readers to scan through the content and focus on the topics that interest them the most.

The Morning is also fairly long. The Content Dividers play an instrumental role in organizing the vast amount of information, enhancing the overall reader experience. It is a prime example of how simplicity and clarity in design can effectively enhance the usability and readability of a newsletter.

Example 3: Miss Excel

Miss Excel, known for their engaging and informative courses on Excel, extends its educational reach through a newsletter that imparts useful knowledge about Excel and other digital tools. Even though the exact subscriber count isn't specified, the website states that more than a million students are part of their course programs, indicating a substantial potential audience for their newsletter.

The Miss Excel newsletter employs a blend of traditional and creative elements in its design, effectively engaging its reader base. It uses horizontal lines as a Content Divider, a common practice in newsletters, but these are customized to align with the brand's visual identity, helping maintain a consistent brand image.

What sets the Miss Excel newsletter apart is its playful use of an “Excel Function” header as a section divider. This clever integration of their core subject matter into the design helps set the tone of the newsletter and caters to the interests of the target audience. It subtly showcases the focus on Excel, without overwhelming or distracting from the content itself.

Miss Excel

The newsletter’s theme complements the Miss Excel website and brand colors, ensuring brand coherence across different platforms. The recurrence of the color pencil-esque underline, which is also present on their website, further ties the newsletter to the overall brand aesthetic. This consistent use of visual elements is key to reinforcing brand recognition among its readers.

Miss Excel

Example 4: The GIST

The GIST is a “fan-first sports media brand”. They offer various newsletters, and mention that their “fun, digestible content is for all types of fans”. With a growing community of over a million "GISTers", their newsletters, podcasts and other content reach a wide audience.

Check out our deep dive on The GIST here to learn more.

The GIST's branding is instantly recognizable and is seamlessly carried through from their website to their newsletters. This branding continuity helps to reinforce their brand image.

One distinct feature in The GIST's newsletter is their Content Divider – a horizontal line with an overlay of a vibrantly colored label. It’s somewhat “button-esque”. Each button carries the label for the subsequent section, making it both a noticeable design element and a functional content divider.


Unlike traditional newsletters where the Content Divider and section header are separate elements, The GIST integrates these two elements into a single piece.

The usage of vibrant color blocks for different sections further adds to the newsletter's visual appeal, differentiating each section while adding a touch of playfulness that aligns with their brand personality.

Example 5: Morning Brew

Morning Brew, “the daily email that makes reading the news enjoyable”, is sent to over four million subscribers according to CNBC article in 2022.

One noticeable feature of Morning Brew's newsletters is their use of outlines and brand colors to distinguish different sections. Each content section is enclosed within a light outline, which provides delineation between various topics. Furthermore, the section title is presented in an all-caps, Morning Brew-blue font, which aligns with the brand's color scheme and stands out against the page.

For example, sections like "ENTERTAINMENT" or "TOGETHER WITH " are highlighted in this way, providing clear navigation for the reader. This consistent styling also makes Sponsored Content blend more seamlessly into the newsletter, as it follows the same format as the other sections.

Morning Brew

Morning Brew also uses distinct headers for specific sections, such as the TO-DO LIST in the RECS section. They list a variety of topics with green checkmarks, giving it a unique and easily recognizable look. This section also includes a piece of Sponsored Content, which is neatly integrated into the layout.

The consistent formatting of both regular and Sponsored Content allows for a smooth reader experience, ensuring that Sponsored Content neither disrupts the flow nor stands out excessively, even though readers might be getting more savvy with identifying Sponsored Content.

Example 6: TLDR

TLDR is a “free daily newsletter with links and TLDRs of the most interesting stories in startups, tech, and programming” and is sent to over 1,250,000 subscribers.

Rather than using horizontal lines or logos, TLDR opts for a unique and straightforward approach to content division. They effectively use alignment and emojis to distinguish between different sections of their newsletter.


In TLDR's newsletter, each new section header is center-aligned and is accompanied by an emoji. This arrangement creates a clean and engaging Content Divider that is easily recognizable, fun and offers a visual cue, helping readers quickly identify different sections.

This strategy helps keep the content organized and easy to navigate, while also infusing a bit of character into the newsletter.

Personalizing Content Dividers

Personalizing Content Dividers allows you to add a unique flair to your newsletter.

Whether you opt for a minimalist approach or prefer something more elaborate, the key is to choose a design that mirrors your brand's identity and enhances the reading experience.

Let's delve into some thought starters:

  • 🎨 Colorful and subtle: You can maintain simplicity with a subtle line divider while infusing it with your brand color. This approach not only differentiates the various sections but also serves as a subtle reminder of your brand throughout the newsletter. This method effectively contributes to maintaining brand consistency.
  • 🖼️ Logo and imagery: If you wish to add a bit of fun or sophistication into your newsletter, consider integrating your logo or relevant images into your Content Dividers. Superhuman, for instance, cleverly incorporates their logo into their divider line, adding a unique spin to their brand representation.
Superhuman Content Divider example

  • 📝 Typography: Different typography can also be used to create engaging Content Dividers. You could use distinct H1's or H2's to delineate different sections. For example, Who Sponsors Stuff utilizes unique section headers paired with emojis, resulting in unique Content Dividers. However, it's essential to ensure that your choice of typography aligns with your overall design language and does not interfere with readability.
Who Sponsors Stuff Content Divider example

An interesting example of personalized Content Dividers can be seen in Morning Brew's newsletter. Although they mostly stick to a straightforward approach for most sections, they go the extra mile with a custom image for their "To-Do List" section, making it stand out with unique design elements.

Morning Brew To-Do List example

Remember, the key is flexibility and creativity. Whether you decide to personalize all your Content Dividers or reserve the special ones for key sections, the end goal should always be to enhance your newsletter's visual appeal and the reading experience.

How to get started with Content Dividers

Designing effective Content Dividers is as much an art as it is a science.

Here are some thought starters to guide you in designing your Content Dividers:

  • ⚖️ Balance creativity and readability: While it's great to infuse your creativity into your Content Dividers, always keep in mind their core function – to guide readers through your content smoothly. Avoid going overboard with intricate designs that might distract the reader from the actual content. It's crucial to keep your dividers visually appealing, yet straightforward and easy to comprehend.
  • Maintain consistency: Uniformity in your Content Dividers lends to a harmonious look and feel and assists readers in navigating through your newsletter. Consistency doesn't imply that every divider should look identical, but they should all adhere to a common design language.
  • 🖌️ Align with your brand: Ensure that your Content Dividers harmonize with your overall branding and design aesthetic. Whether it's through your choice of colors, style, or imagery, your dividers should feel like an integral component of your brand's identity.
  • 📐 Use Content Dividers as structural guides: Content Dividers can serve as effective tools for structuring your content. They help break down your content into logical sections, facilitating a better organization of thoughts and ideas. For instance, The GIST frequently uses consistent sections in their newsletters, which aids in maintaining a standard template and simplifies the writing process.

To sum it up, successful Content Dividers are those that seamlessly fulfill their function of guiding the reader through your content without overshadowing it. They are a critical design element that, when used effectively, can significantly boost the readability and visual appeal of your newsletter.


The Newsletter Newsletter

Content Dividers may appear as a minor design element, but they wield significant power in shaping the reader's experience.

By segmenting your newsletter into digestible sections, you not only increase readability but also present an opportunity to further express your brand identity.

Unleash your creativity with these elements!

Experiment with a variety of designs to find one that embodies your brand and connects with your readers.

So, as you sit down to draft your next newsletter, give some thought to your Content Dividers. A little attention to detail can go a long way in creating a captivating reader experience.

Until next week, happy designing!

Want us to deep dive on a newsletter? Or maybe feature your newsletter in an upcoming newsletter? Email us.

🎾 Fetchworthy Finds

🐶 Pawsitive vibes

💌 Thanks for joining the pack of newsletter enthusiasts! Keep on reading, writing and sharing your newsletters with the world.

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🎉 Have a great week!

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