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Email Design Trends for 2019



email marketing

May 1, 2019

Email Design Trends for 2019

Extra! Extra! Email campaigns remain the marketing tool with the highest return on investment. But their graphic design, form, and content are changing with the digital landscape and the market. Updating your email marketing strategy for 2019 can keep you relevant and your customers engaged.

Elements of an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

Return on investment, click-throughs, unsubscribes: these elements are ways to measure the success or failure of campaigns, not the goals themselves. A primary goal for email marketing campaigns is to generate a conversion, a sale or to improve customer engagement.

We’re going to focus on several email design trends that can directly improve engagement.

Optimize for Mobile Devices

Email campaigns need to be optimized for mobile devices. Text-heavy content, in paragraph form, is more difficult to read on mobile devices. On small screens, readers tend to skim, with attention caught by bold text, outlines or bullet lists. Click-through links for more detailed information on specific topics keeps an email from becoming cluttered and difficult to navigate.

Snack-Sized Ads

The use of video and tiny bits of animation are becoming more common. They need to be short, and quick to load… cue the GIFs. The common term for these short videos is snack-sized.


New design trends allow emails to serve double-duty. The ability to gather information allows for personalization. Personalized emails lead directly to better open and engagement rates. Some emails can link to a preference quiz, or allow a new subscriber to choose from a number of topics of interest. This will allow for lists to be segmented for detailed targeting.

An email design that incorporates feedback, such as a feedback quiz or a simple click-link if a customer likes this ad or doesn’t like this visual image, can also help tailor content.

Get Subscribers with Freebies

free tool or gift, such as a downloadable garden planning tool for a seed company, can encourage new subscribers. People’s email inboxes are valuable pieces of marketing real estate, and you need to give something to get something. Discounts and coupons are also great ways to get people to subscribe to your list. If they want the coupon, they’ll need to subscribe!


Brand consistency with email marketing can lead to a brand becoming more recognizable in the market and improving market share. This brand consistency is in both design elements, such as colour and typography, as well as voice and tone. It is important in most cases to stay on brand.

Take Action

As always, the message remains actionable, personal, and relevant. Limited time offers are standard for encouraging action.

Many companies with a strong social responsibility or environmental stewardship value will incorporate that value as part of their identity by including valuale calls-to-action in emails.

Campaigns, such as social action campaigns, can bring multiple elements together. Many such campaigns offer a percentage donation based on purchase price to a particular cause associated with the brand. These campaigns are actionable, time-limited, associated with brand and company identity, and can bring in new customers and re-engage old customers.

Encourage Customer Participation

Customer participation is a trend that is growing in popularity, and many of these campaigns involve customer experience through video or still pictures.


Have you ever seen those emails where a picture is in the email with your name scribed on a static element of the photo? This is becoming a popular way to capture limited attention spans in today’s media environment. There a ton of great apps out there that you can integrate with your email marketing software to get this stuff done.

A Personal Pitch

A pitch, including letters, company news, exciting developments, should take on the tone and format of a personal letter.  Sharing news of the company, directions, successes, and challenges with customers can improve engagement.

In addition, not all emails should be all sales or discount offers. The volume of these is growing with e-commerce. In marketing cycles, a planned letter from the president or news from the research front, friendly and personal in tone, is effective in developing customer loyalty and engagement. This may be an effective format for a double duty email that enlists personal preference, or offers a quiz about styles or images.

Data Privacy

Personal privacy remains a concern with the public, and emails should include a link to your privacy policy on your website or landing page. It’s also important to make sure that you are complying with Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) with all your email marketing efforts.

Graphic Design Trends in Email Marketing for 2019

Design changes rapidly, but email design can change even more rapidly! Some of the new design trends for emails and webpages for 2019 include

New Brights in Colour Choice

Minimalism, with bright, bold colour: this allows for easy optimization for mobile devices while remaining eye-catching.

New on-trend colours are those several steps from the primary, such as clear brights in coral, aqua, and leaf green. Neutrals are both warmer and richer than in previous years, with pewter gray, brushed silver, and cafe au lait adding luxe tones and rich colour.

Grid Layout Becomes Borderless and Asymmetrical

Asymmetrical grid design: The typical grid layout is giving way to asymmetrical and open space designs. Diagonal elements suggest energy and movement, and borderless and open designs suggest calm and space. Both new asymmetrical designs suggest professional design, rather than an inexpensive DIY page. The borderless and open designs have minimal text, an overall image or short video running through the background, and a simple call to action.

Incorporating Video

Snack-ad video: Short video designs for emails need to be quick and easy to download, easily visible on small screens, and contain a time-limited call to action.

To avoid some of the problems with overstimulation, many short snack-ads do not contain any audio component. Instead, email campaigns are focusing on GIFs, animated countdowns and video embeds where you click to watch the full video.

Motion Graphics

Some marketers are using movement in images to bring the energy and excitement of video to a static message. Called motion graphics, these fluid or floating effects can add the modern movement desired, without the more expensive and busy video. These fluid effects are part of the new design trend toward the futuristic, abstract, and surreal.

An example would be a single email page or landing page with the image of a beach in the Caribbean, with colours in sea blues, sand, and sky; the image can have the water moving in an organic wind or wave pattern with everything else static.

These images may be particularly effective for reporting on results of a social responsibility or environmental stewardship campaign. As an example, a campaign to raise funds for a water project can show results by having a glass or a test tube filling with water to the level of current contributions.

3-D Typography

3-D design in both typography and image: the depth and richness of 3-D images and typography are increasingly popular. The complexity of a three dimensional image can appear sophisticated, mature, and luxe. 3-D imagery pairs well with the new asymmetrical, borderless, and open designs. 

Handmade and Alternative Art

Alternative art: illustrations that suggest the handmade are popular in the increasingly digital world. Woodblock prints, line drawings, and other traditional art forms as illustrations suggest care, attention to detail, originality, and creativity. While retro and nostalgia are trending away, and designers are looking toward the futuristic and abstract, design elements of Art Deco and Mid Century Modern are pairing with the futuristic to give some forward-thinking design.

Where Email Marketing is Going

Graphic designers are already working on design trends for 2020, and considering how new virtual reality technology with change email marketing styles and messaging.

If you’re ready to take your email marketing game up a notch,We would love to work with you on a fabulous email marketing campaign!

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