Email Design Trends: Taking Stock of the Past and Anticipating the Future

Email Design Trends: Taking Stock of the Past and Anticipating the Future

In this article, we have compiled a list of the top email design trends to get your creative juices flowing this year.

Email design is a vital component of email marketing. No matter how compelling your words are and insightful your content is, your email campaigns will never gain the visibility and traffic they deserve if their design is not up to the standards. At the end of the day, good content makes its way to a wider audience only when it is presented neatly. And no one’s to be blamed for this, really; it’s just how we’re wired! As visual beings, we intuitively respond better to information when it is accompanied by images, colors, GIFs, illustrations, videos, and other visual elements than when it is fed to us using plain text. 

The same holds true in the world of email marketing as well. Email campaigns that are thoughtfully designed generate far more ROI than their shabbily put-up counterparts. So, how can you nail your email design? By following all the best practices? Of course. But, that’s not all; along with abiding by the best practices, you also need to ensure that your campaigns have been crafted to the tune of the latest email design trends as well. And email design trends are incredibly dynamic in nature- each new year brings forth with it a different set of trends. So, you can’t use a trend that was in vogue a couple of years ago and expect it to generate the same level of interest. 

During the last throes of 2020, the team at Email Uplers had gotten together to forecast the most sought-after email design trends for 2021. And they were pretty much on the money! Taking heart from that, they decided to do the same for 2022 as well. But before we get to that, let’s take a walk down memory lane and see how brands made use of the email design trends Email Uplers had predicted for 2021.

Bold Typography

From making important announcements to providing brands with a feasible alternative for hero images, bold typography as a design trend gained immense popularity in 2021. By using big and bold headlines in their emails, brands were able to successfully capture the attention of their audience and drive greater engagement and higher conversions in the process.

Imagine opening an email and being greeted by a gorgeous typeface spelling out an arresting message. Hard to peel your eyes off something like that, isn’t it? However, there is one caveat that is associated with the usage of bold typography. Make sure your copies are short and crisp, otherwise the final outcome will look extremely cluttered. 

Take a look at these examples to understand how brands went about wielding bold typography in their emails.

bold typography in emails

Source: https://reallygoodemails.com/emails/hi-hello-coop-here-rhymes-with-loop

font in emails

Source: https://reallygoodemails.com/emails/a-free-font-just-for-you

Dark Mode

Look around you- everyone is either browsing in dark mode on their devices or talking to their uninitiated friends and acquaintances about how great it is. It is no surprise, thus, that dark mode was one of the leading email design trends of the previous year. According to an Android Authority survey, 91.8% of people use dark mode in one form or the other on their devices. Now, that’s some number, you would agree! Besides enhancing the visual appeal of your emails, dark mode fosters greater accessibility too. While light mode caters well to users with normal and corrected vision, dark mode has proven to be highly helpful to low vision readers, particularly those having cataracts and other similar afflictions.

Additionally, in some cases, prolonged reading in lighter environments has been linked to the development of myopia or nearsightedness. 

Here’s how the best in the business went about using dark mode in 2021.

darkmode in emails

Source: https://reallygoodemails.com/emails/create-tools-and-integrations-with-the-marvel-api

macbook pro ads through email marketing

Source: https://reallygoodemails.com/emails/the-most-powerful-macbook-pro-is-here


If there is something that was common across all email backgrounds in 2021, it was the generous use of gradients. There are many reasons why email marketers fell in love with gradients- they let you create an absorbing texture for your background, they accentuate your photos, illustrations, and other visual elements, and they add a certain degree of depth and dimension to your templates.

Gradients are a surefire technique of conjuring sentiments of intrigue and wonder in the minds of your subscribers. 

Want to use gradients in your emails? These examples from the year before will give you just the inspiration you need.

use gradients in your emails

Source: https://reallygoodemails.com/emails/today-were-giving-you-5

email templates

Source: https://reallygoodemails.com/emails/this-email-couldve-been-a-meeting

Emotional Design

Designing your emails is not just about elevating their visual appeal, it’s also about establishing an emotional connection with your readers. So, how do you go about it? Well, for starters, pay attention to your choice of colors. Each color in the spectrum evokes a different sentiment from within us- blue denotes peace and tranquility, yellow denotes energy and enthusiasm, orange denotes creativity and freshness, red denotes passion (and danger), green denotes optimism, and the like.

Depending on the message you want to send to your audience, choose an appropriate color scheme to further amplify its impact. Images can go a long way towards heightening the emotional appeal of your emails. For instance, if the message is about an upcoming sale, the accompanying picture could be of a cheerful-looking person. Similarly, if it's regarding a new product or service you’ve launched, the complementing picture could be of a person expressing wonder and amusement.

Cracking the emotional design code can be pretty tricky. Take a look at these examples to get your creative juices flowing.

emotional email design

Source: https://reallygoodemails.com/emails/welcome-heres-your-discount-code-2

grateful messages through emails

Source: https://reallygoodemails.com/emails/sending-grateful-vibez-your-way

3-Dimensional Images

What’s a better way of catching your audience’s attention than by making your emails come to life? Email marketers certainly made large on this philosophy in 2021 as the year saw a vast number of brands incorporating 3-dimensional images in their email templates. While creating a 3D image does involve a lot of hard yards, the returns it fetches you makes the investment absolutely worth it.

Take a look at these examples.

3-Dimensional Images in emails

Source: https://reallygoodemails.com/emails/friday-front-end-issue-217-has-responsive-design-failed-also-image-optimization-dark-mode-the-dominos-accessibility-lawsuit-and-more

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion, and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.

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