Look up how to create an effective email, and most articles will focus on writing email copy.
Yes, you need solid email copywriting skills to drive sales. But there’s another element most of us forget about—email design.
Email design encourages readers to navigate your content with ease and enjoyment. Without it, emails are just plain boring.
On the flip side, design deepens your brand identity and style—all good things!
But email design can get tricky. Which templates should you use? What colors are trending? And how do you know if your audience likes your style?
We’ll answer these questions (and more!) as we explore the five latest email design trends. Let’s dive in!
1. Minimalistic emails
Minimalism has taken off in both our lifestyles and email designs—and for good reason.
The “less is more” approach saves room for your best content. It also gets rid of content overload—something we could all use these days. The average person bounces between seven different social media channels in one month!
Minimalistic emails look different across the board. But they all have three things in common: Less copy, vibrant images, and white space.
Doesn’t this email feel good to look at? The gradient color scheme is pleasing, and there’s just enough content to understand what the email is about.
This next email cuts through the noise and focuses on one collection.
The Giving Keys’ email draws attention to one product image. Just like Ashley & Co, this brand uses a simple color scheme and minimal copy.
Want to try this email design trend? Start by:
- Focusing on one product, event, or promo: Choose one topic and lead your user to one CTA button
- Putting your images to work: One large image can speak more than an essay. Choose a photo that represents your brand and email focus well.
- Choosing one color scheme: Think pastel colors or using light or dark mode
- Using white space: Avoid information overload and space out your content into digestible sections.
Following these tips will create a tranquil experience for your readers. It’ll also speed up your load time and increase responsiveness.
2. Responsive emails
Anyone who works online might check their email via desktop. But everyone else? You can count on a mobile or tablet. In one study, phones accounted for 41.9% of all opened emails!
So, how do you create beautiful emails across all devices?
One word: Responsive. Responsive emails display your emails on desktop and mobile perfectly using special code.
This email looks almost identical on a computer and phone screen. You can thank the famous “one-column layout,” which looks good on all devices.
Most email software can code responsive emails for you. But there are a few tricks to mastering this email design trend:
- Stick to a one-column layout: Using one column keeps your content in a designated spot.
- Use a clean font: Creative font isn’t mobile-friendly. Stick to something readable, like Ubuntu or Sora.
- Upload smaller images: Ever read a mobile email with a crazy-large photo? That’s because the image is too big for phone screens. Stick to a smaller size and resolution.
Sticking to the responsive guidelines doesn’t have to be boring. You can still incorporate funky designs, like a retro email.
3. Retro emails
The younger generations are into old school, and so are the latest email design trends! Tattly brings back the 90s with geometric shapes, bright colors, and 3D font.
Great Jones goes even further and brings back a staple of the 1950s—vintage cookware.
The curvy font, pastel color scheme, and cooking pot take you back to “I Love Lucy,” doesn’t it?
The best retro emails evoke nostalgia. Bring your readers back to the good ol’ days with appropriate designs and images.
These days, most retro emails target the 80s and 90s by:
- Adding bright colors
- Using geometric shapes
- Adding “block” font
- Incorporating nostalgic icons like Polaroid photos
This email design trend is loud, so your readers might love or hate this design. Track your email metrics with Sendlane and see how your users react to the old-school trend. Then, decide if it’s worth continuing or trying something else, like interactive emails!
4. Interactive emails
Want to keep your audience engaged longer? Try interactive emails. Interactive emails bump up the entertainment with anything from a video to a quiz.
Harry’s integrates a “skincare quiz” to its email and helps users find their perfect match. This feels way more memorable than a static ad, doesn’t it?
Quizzes aren’t just entertaining but convert-worthy. They eliminate the browsing and take visitors straight to your products. And they reveal more audience insights for you!
Another way to practice this email design trend is by adding animated images.
Animation is eye-catching and takes up less space. The email above fits “Black Friday Starts Now” into one section. This fits well with the minimal email design trend, wouldn’t you say?
Animated images are fun, but use them sparingly. Too much movement and flashy lights can hurt your readers’ eyes!
Below are three more ways to spruce up your campaign with this email design trend:
- Videos: Film a video of people sporting’ your products, or of your brand story.
- GIFs: Relate to your audience with popular GIFs and memes.
- Image slideshow: Fitting your images into a carousel slideshow shortens your email content.
Interestingly enough, social proof may count as interactive, too!
5. Social proof emails
Testimonials and positive reviews drive users from browsing to buying. 32.1% of people agree reviews are the most important part of their buying decision!
If buyers love online reviews this much, you might as well send them straight to their inbox!
Social proof emails don’t need extra web copy. Opt for a minimalistic design to keep the focus on three to five reviews. Or use interactive marketing and post a video testimonial.
The best part about this email design trend is that you can pull reviews from your site or social media channels. No need to create new content!
So, which email design trend will you try first?
Hint: You don’t have to just choose one email design. Many campaigns incorporate various trends into one—like a responsive/minimalist design or a retro/interactive template—get creative here!
What do all these email design templates have in common?
No matter which design caught your eye, every email should follow these rough guidelines:
1. Create a catchy email subject line: Subject lines determine if someone will open your email or toss it in spam.
Some quick tips for writing a punchy email subject line:
- Use no more than 45 characters
- Add emojis (but don’t overdo it!)
- Test your work using Sendlane’s multivariate testing tool
2. Add brand-related images: Branded images remind readers of who the email is from. Support brand awareness and add your brand colors, products, and “vibe” to your images.
3. Write concise email copy: Cutting out the fluff engages users and cleans up your emails. One easy tip? Use an active voice.
- The discount should be used… vs. Use the discount by…
- Products can be bought… vs. Buy your products…
4. Personalize your efforts: Customization drives readers to products and events they’re actually interested in. Think more email opens, clicks, and sales!
But personalization gets tricky without a robust platform in place. This is where Sendlane comes into play.
Using customer data, segmentation, and automation, we’ll drive more readers to your shop with personable messaging.
But hey, don’t just take our word for it. Try us out for a 14-day free trial and see how Sendlane can customize the user experience and support your email design needs.