Email Design Trends for 2020

• 6 minutes READ

Ready to make 2020 the year of the email for your marketing campaigns? Crafting an amazing message with a trendy design is the perfect combination for sending an email that demands clicks in the inbox.

These email design trends for 2020 are the place to start. Not only will using these ideas help create a visually appealing message, but trendy elements can also help boost opens and conversion rates with content and elements users want to see.

Email Design Trends to Watch for in 2020

Emojis in Subject Lines

Email Design Trends for 2020

Penguin Random House

You’ve probably noticed plenty of grinning little icons in email subject lines lately. Emojis are a great way to communicate extra meaning and establish a vibe even before your email gets opened.

Using emojis in subject lines can also increase email open rates. According to SendPulse, an email and marketing resource, using email emojis in subject lines can result in 56% higher open rates.

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When it comes to using emojis, make sure the icon makes sense for the message and tone of your email. Not all messages should come with a ?.

Use emojis in place of other words to shorten subject lines, making them more mobile-friendly. But don’t overdo it. One or two emojis is plenty. (Don’t make users think too hard about what you are trying to say.)

Find just the right emoji, preview how it will look on different devices, and copy it to your subjet line using Emojipedia.

Video in Emails

Email Design Trends to Watch for in 2020

New York Times

Video content is making the leap to email.

Short videos can bump up clickthrough rates exponentially, making this one of the hottest email design trends of 2020. The reason for this is simple: Most popular email platforms don’t actually support embedded video. But you can include a video that can be clicked to watch.

Best practice is to create a video thumbnail (consider a screengrab) with a play button on it or insert a gif in email. That tells users to click to play. It can boost conversion rates and get subscribers from your email to your website in just a click.

Pro conversion tip: Make the play button large and easy to see to maximize click or tap actions.

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Email Animation

Email Animation


Videos aren’t the only moving images popping up in emails. Animations – particularly gifs – are a hot email design trend.

Animations in email can help grab attention in the inbox. (Just think of how an animated image grabs your attention in the preview pane.)

Animations work best with otherwise lightweight emails that don’t contain a lot of other heavy text or image elements because they have a larger loaded weight (the speed of download when a user open the message). Try to compress gifs for the best results.

3D Imagery

3D Imagery

Designmodo Black Friday Email

The same design elements that are popular in websites and apps also look great in emails. Creating depth of field with 3D imagery and isometric illustrations is a great way to incorporate modern design.

The best thing about this trend is that it can work for almost any brand or type of messaging.

It’s also pretty powerful when you think about it. Incorporating a touch of 3D doesn’t have to be a staged photo, it can also be created with text elements or using a scene creator. There are so many options when it comes to maximizing this trend for email designs in 2020.

One Column Email Design

One Column Email Design


It probably goes without saying, but for most email campaigns, the majority of opens will come on a mobile device.

Ditch those extra columns and build emails using a simple one-column format. (This is how emails will render for most users anyway.)

If you think about the design in this way, you can design something that works with the space, rather than against it.

Consider the full email as a single one column canvas with a theme that moves from top to bottom (such as including a matched header and footer).

Leave plenty of space around the margins for easy scrolling without clicking elements inadvertently and use text that’s highly readable in the one-column space.

When thinking about this same design for desktops, the one-column format is equally effective. If the design feels too stretched horizontally, just add padding on either side of the design. (Many people will read it in preview mode anyway.)

Vertical Elements

Vertical Elements in Email Design


Imagery and design elements can be vertical. And one might argue that they should be vertical.

Give users something that’s visually interesting and gives them a reason to scroll and engage with email content. The digital world is becoming increasingly vertical – from images to social media stories to live video without turning your phone.

The trick to vertical email elements is not to force the issue. If a photo or image works vertically, go for it. But you don’t have to.

Think about vertical elements that aren’t images as well. The text block might take on a more vertical shape if you have bulkier messaging or you could include an infographic with stacked elements.

Design for Dark Mode

Design Email for Dark Mode


Do you prefer reading on a light or dark background? Many email apps are giving users this choice and your emails need to render just as beautifully either way.

The major consideration as more email clients adopt dark mode is for logos and image elements. You may have to switch image formats from JPG to PNG or SVG with transparency so that you don’t end up with a lot of white boxed elements on a dark background.

It can impact the type of images you choose as well. Use call to action buttons in colors that contrast against white or dark backgrounds – orange or light blue tends to work well. The same goes for other graphic and image elements.

Conversely, you can design emails with a dark interface from the start. While some clients still don’t support backgrounds, it’s becoming more common and accepted to use a dark email background. It can also make your email stand out because it is different from so many others.

Amp for Emails

Amp for Emails


You’re going to see more emails in 2020 that include AMP components to create richer messages that function more like apps. The challenge with this email design trend is that only a few clients currently support it – Gmail,, and (not Outlook for desktop).

But the benefits of AMP emails can be visually stunning and remarkable. (And we expect more clients to adopt the technology.) With AMP email you can create more personalized experiences with interactive email features in a secure environment.

Do It All with an Email Builder

You can create each of these trends using Postcards, Designmodo’s intuitive email builder. It features a drag and drop editor with more than 100 customizable modules. The best part? You can create any of these email designs without writing a single line of code.

Do It All with an Email Builder


Postcards lets you design a trendy email and then send it using your favorite platform to any device.

Ready to use some of the hottest email design trends of 2020 in your campaigns? Postcards can help. It’s easy and free.

Carrie Cousins

Carrie Cousins has more than 20 years of experience in online media, web design, and content marketing. She has worked with a diverse range of clients, from small businesses to large corporations, helping them create engaging and effective digital strategies that drive results. Now, she serves as the Director of Digital Marketing and has been featured on Blue Ridge PBS (Roanoke) and VPM's Buzz4Good (Richmond), where she helps nonprofits get more from their design and marketing efforts.

Posts by Carrie Cousins