Email Design Trends for 2023
Some say following a trend is a choice that largely depends on the target audience’s preferences. However, one cannot argue with the fact that people are always eager to hop on board with what is popular. Like it or not, email design trends exist for a reason. Keeping up with them effectively increases trust, builds authority, raises credibility, improves reputation, and creates a solid ground for conversions and leads.
Consider recent studies that show staying on top of trends has proven to be successful for famous brands. Understanding trends allows them to create plans and strategies that find clarity amidst uncertainty and help the company grow and evolve. Email marketing ROI is an impressive $35 for every $1 spent, and there are 4 billion daily email users.
That means it is crucial for solopreneurs, startups, and mid-sized companies to be on top of things and know trends to play, benefit and even skirt around some of them to set businesses to successful trajectories, much like popular brands do.
Let us look at the latest email design trends to understand better what will work in 2023 so that you can map effective digital marketing plans and build effective email designs next year and beyond.
Read more about previous trends
Top Email Design Trends 2023
The first and most significant email design trend is interactive content. Like a touch of magic, it takes a simple piece of information and transforms it into a participatory experience that instantly draws attention, ignites interest, and resonates deeply with an audience.
Almost 90% of marketers agree that interactive content helps them differentiate their brand from others and lure more customers into the sales funnel. Therefore, it is no surprise that more and more companies will embrace this trend, making it a top trend for 2023.
Start by embracing basics and working them into the design, hover and rollover effects, accordions for a content-heavy part, dynamic call-to-action buttons, forms and testimonials, widgets for product display, and gamification.
Take one step at a time. Note interactive content comes with its challenges and obstacles. For instance, many email clients do not fully support interactive content; therefore, you need to provide this part of the digital newsletter with a fallback that works great across all clients and browsers.
Continuing on the topic of interactive content are animated gifs. It started as a fancy feature several years ago. Today, it is a large-scale trend everyone is trying to pick up.
When played right, they deliver the message, whatever complex and intricate, grab attention regardless of short attention span, point readers toward critical features in the sea of text and graphics, compel the audience to act faster, or inspire to stay a bit longer in the email, giving other content a chance to do its job. Recent studies showed that almost 70% of marketers use animated gifs in their emails to increase engagement and drive conversions.
Be ready to populate your next-year digital newsletter with dynamic images. Remember, they work perfectly well with call-to-action buttons, typography, and minimalistic layouts. Use them to stress out the prime message, display the offer or play psychological tricks. On top of that, follow these basic rules and practices:
- Use reliable instruments to create animated gifs. Adobe Animate and Photoshop are the most trustworthy in this niche.
- Compress the image to reduce the file size and decrease email load time, which is critical for readers.
- Limit the number of frames or create a looped animation.
- Make the first frame contain everything you need as a static fallback.
Last but not least, try APNG. This alternative provides better quality and resolution and works faster and more efficiently. Note it is still unsupported by Gmail and Outlook, so provide a gif version for this market segment.
Rule number one for 2023 is no generic pictures, images, and icons taken from royalty-free directories. Although it is seducing to use one of them and save yourself lots of precious time and money, as practice shows, they will not influence your audience as expected. Moreover, they may even hurt your brand identity and campaign.
Today generic images look cheap, whereas customized ones feel expensive and luxurious. Take time to create customized visuals or use premium packages to make email design feel exclusive and up-to-date.
Images with Faces
Do you know that the human brain is evolutionarily wired to detect faces? It is the first thing that we notice in pictures. Moreover, we follow the direction in which the person is looking. This is called social attention and will underlie trends in visuals in 2023.
The ongoing pandemic has forced us to isolate ourselves from friends and colleagues, so any friendly face that radiates warmth in email design is warmly welcome. It is what your target audience craves and what you need to give them in 2023 to show them that you understand their needs and expectations.
Hands in Action
Hands are another aspect of so-called social attention. People also naturally notice people’s hands and what they are doing in the picture. With dynamic emails and gifs staying popular in 2023, images with hands in action that highlight products will be increasingly in-demand among the industry leaders. Therefore, use animated gifs or cinemagraphs that show hands with products to stay in the lead.
Less Text, More Customized Visuals
The tendency to show rather than tell is still gaining momentum. And it will not stop any time soon. Recent studies show that people generally lose concentration after 8 seconds and prefer to scan rather than read. With such habits and preferences, the only way to catch their attention and hold it, at least for a while, is to use visuals.
The human brain processes visual content much more (60,000 times) faster than text. Images, illustrations, and graphics can get the user’s focus and, most importantly, ignite interest and deliver the right message within seconds. This fits our today’s realms and target audience’s preferences ideally.
With that being said, you should not ditch text altogether. Stick to short phrases and descriptions that bring value instantly. Prioritize visuals, but give content its place under the Sun.
As for what visuals to use, there are many trendy options; however, not everything is that simple. Industry leaders, aka trendsetters in their respective niches, are very smart with their email design decisions. Not only do they follow the best practices, but they also play psychological tricks.
Some of these tricks are increasingly popular nowadays, becoming a must-have for every small and mid-sized company in 2023. Let us list them.
Viva Magenta and Very Peri
Very Peri is the Pantone color of 2022, and a bold shade of pink, known as Viva Magenta, is the North Star for color decisions in 2023. Expect the first shade to pay occasional visits during the year’s first half and the second one to dominate the whole year.
Both these tones revolve around an optimistic attitude and positive energy – precisely what is needed for our World of unprecedented changes and turbulences in geopolitics and economy.
So, what does it mean for email designers? This means they are expected to embrace one of Pantone’s colors’ bright gamut of emotions and feelings: personal inventiveness, creativity, liveliness, trust, boldness, and energy. Use Viva Magenta and Very Peri as primary and secondary colors or fancy splashes scattered throughout the design.
Creative Product Display
More and more email marketers capitalize on product displays. According to stats, the organic click-through rate is drastically low – just 3%. Creative product display placed right above the scroll helps to seize every opportunity to catch an eye, ignite interest, and produce the powerful first impression that drives conversions, making the most out of this 3%. Therefore, the tendency to turn the promoted service or offer into a masterpiece is on.
Expect more and more creative solutions in this area. This trend is so powerful that it will undoubtedly generate sub-trends. Actually, it has already done that. 3D imagery, floating products, intricate compositions of images and typefaces, irregular shapes, and unique patterns are already hot trends in this area. Try out some of them to make the email design look ultra-modern.
On top of that, you may also introduce interactive elements like sliders, hovers or rollovers, APNG technology, and memes. They will also make your product display feel up-to-date.
Geometric Shapes and Lines
Traditional geometric shapes, abstract solutions, and of course, lines and frames – all these graphic elements have been reliable instruments of illustrators. This year, they will also excite the minds of email designers.
There are several reasons for that.
- Geometric shapes are simple yet powerful artistic features that are easy to manipulate and bring to life.
- The use of geometric shapes and lines has a solid ground for delivering the message successfully to the crowd. The deal is that they can catch the user’s attention and direct it toward the focal point. For example, a circle instantly focuses our attention at the center, while a curved line immediately invites us to follow its path that, as a rule, leads to a product.
- They add a fancy touch without much effort.
By following this trend, email marketers kill two birds with one stone: they create a stunning email design and simultaneously stress out the message. Therefore, this is a huge trend these days, and it can already be seen in digital newsletters sent by industry leaders.
Start with one of these options:
- Use intricate geometric shapes as centerpieces.
- Use organic and hand-drawn shapes to add a touch of the brand’s personality and charisma.
- Use simple lines as decorative backgrounds pointing towards the service, offer, or message.
- Use abstract or quirky shapes to add spice to the look of the email.
- Mix and match geometric shapes, lines, and pictures to create a powerful hero area.
- Use lines to lead the readers from top to bottom unobtrusively.
Exclusive and Bold Typography
Whether you focus on a minimalistic approach or not, your typography should be worth a thousand words. Today typography is an art, and this tendency shows no signs of stopping. Therefore, expect typography to get even bolder and more exclusive. Regardless of size, it will have its spotlight.
What can you do to follow this trend?
- Be exquisite and unique—ditch generic font face. Use letterforms to show the personality of your brand.
- Tie together visuals and typography, creating a perfect symbiosis. Note typeface should reflect the energy, nature, and vibe of the product, service, offer, or email topic.
- Use positive energy and an optimistic attitude.
- Do not overdo with colors. In 2023, it is all about bold forms, shapes, and curves. You may play with color, but be careful. Do not underestimate the power of the typeface’s charisma.
- Place it right at the top of the page. Hero area is one of the most viewed parts, so make sure your exclusive typeface does what it should: make the first impression count, leave a long-lasting impact, and deliver a message.
- Make it a part of the theme and give it enough space to show off and support the product.
- Keep the typeface in sync with what it is supposed to deliver. Make it an extension of the primary phrase.
- Go with the wind. The usage of typeface undergoes constant changes during the year. One day, neon typography is in charge, and the other overlapping lettering dominates. The fashion in this area is fleeting. Therefore, embrace changes, but remember that whatever the sub-trend is, it is crucial to stay true to the original purpose – creating bold, eye-catching artwork-worthy typography with excellent reading quality.
- Use one bold typeface at a time. Do not overwhelm visitors with too many decorative elements.
- Ensure it works great across all screen sizes, devices, and readers.
Getting Closer to Web Design Aesthetics
With email builders getting more sophisticated and email clients getting more flexible, the design of digital newsletters slowly but surely nears web design quality and aesthetics.
Do not expect digital newsletters to be as interactive and gamified as web platforms since email clients are increasingly limited; for instance, videos are still unsupported. Solutions borrowed from the web design sphere can be seen pretty much everywhere. We have already noticed like forms, sliders, accordions, and testimonials have found their rightful place in the email design universe.
This year, email design will see upgrades taken from big brother. For instance, call-to-action buttons will become fancier. We have already seen exciting border and shadow effects, so prepare for new upgrades. Hover effects will be applied not only to product displays but also to different design elements. In addition, the hero area will certainly bring us some more enjoyable and inspiring surprises.
This small, almost microscopic, trend is not evident at first glance; however, those with a keen eye for detail may have already noticed it. Used to highlight the offer’s benefits or organize and arrange vital information, lists are of massive importance for both marketers and readers. Business owners use them to reveal the potential of their products, prove to the target market the validity of their offers or support the topic. At the same time, consumers require them for their decision-making process.
The tendency of turning a regular unordered list into a fancy block where every feature or step is creatively highlighted has already started. Email designers adopt various approaches: they use illustrations, images, animated icons, and of course, color to support, clarify and even spotlight the item. However, they do not overdo them. They use lists as a logical extension of the email topic or as supporting material with a unique, stylish, and worthy of the user’s attention to design.
Some trends will migrate from 2022 to 2023. Dark mode is one of them. Starting as a necessity, this approach has turned into a modern feature that encourages email designers to exercise their creativity in a universe of reversed color schemes.
The ongoing popularity of dark mode is caused by the fact that it provides a comfortable and ipso facto productive environment for the audience by reducing eyestrain while they are reading emails on hand-held devices. Some studies show that it may even contribute to better sleep. These qualities encourage the target audience to stay longer and mull over email content without tension.
Moreover, dark mode also amplifies the efficiency of email campaigns. The deal is that it can set priorities in reading flow and direct users’ attention toward focal points. Paired with the minimalistic approach, it creates order out of chaos – that is what we strive for and what our target audience needs. Plus, it collaborates well with other trends like bold typography, neon coloring, and animated gifs.
Some tips to remember when adopting it in your next email design:
- Set whitespace as your top priority.
- Stay away from long text.
- Ensure sufficient contrast between the text and background.
- Be mindful of color psychology.
- Do not use pure black.
The single-column layout is another trend that has come from 2022. Much like dark mode, it has also started as a forced measure because multicolumn layouts crush email readers. Plus, tables are not the easiest HTML/CSS tool to handle. With no signs of email clients to support our beloved, super-handy flexbox and grids any time soon, multicolumn structures will stay aside for a while. Therefore, a single-column layout still will be a top choice in 2023.
Single-column layouts come with a list of benefits. For instance, it is deprived of clutter and multiple distractions. It also makes things easier to digest, produces less cognitive load, and improves reading flow and user experience. With a single column, it is much easier to lead readers from top to bottom and not miss any essential point. On top of that, the practice shows it is one of the best layout options for increasing conversions and driving engagement.
Here’s how to make a single-column layout look trendy:
- Divide your email design into three main parts (header, content, and footer), add the top navigation and stress out the CTA.
- Turn the header into the hero area. Present the most crucial information (promoted product, offer, or main message) right there.
- Use interactive content, animated gif, or bold typography.
- Stay away from oversimplified solutions.
Minimalism with Twist
The tendency to embrace minimalism became quite apparent last year. Obsessed with getting the user’s attention and delivering the vital message within the first eight seconds, email marketers bet everything on simple, sleek, and clean solutions deprived of clutter and unnecessary details. The minimalistic approach turned out to be a perfect fit for this job. It instantly brought value and, at the same time, left a long-lasting positive impression.
As a result, today, we can witness an upsurge in minimalistic email designs. However, do not be too minimal. To make it look up-to-date, ensure to introduce one of these features:
- Creative display of the product
- Interactive feature
- Animated gif
- Abstract illustration
- Bold typography
- Powerful image
Pick one solution and capitalize on it. Also, remember to add an impressive or prominent call-to-action and finish everything with a footer filled with helpful links and information.
Last but not least.
When using visuals, it is crucial not to overdo it. There are some good rules to remember while following this trend.
- Images may easily overload the brain. It is better to avoid cluttered pictures with too many focus points, objects, textures, colors, and motion.
- Images may easily break your email. Some email readers still do not support them, others may consider it spam, and some allow users to turn off this option, so your image may not reach the target audience. Ensure you have thought through these scenarios.
- Some visuals can be inappropriate for people with specific disabilities. Therefore, it is crucial to stay safe and not cross the line.
- Use just one bold or big image to stress the message.
Email Marketing Trends
The email channel is an integral element of the marketing landscape. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what is going on in the digital marketing universe before constructing newsletters. Let us consider several top trends in the global area.
The first trend to consider and focus on is AI-powered instruments and strategies. Although manual labor still brings a bunch of “fruits,” integrating AI into email marketing is a huge trend, especially among industry leaders. They fervently use AI-powered technology and automation to assist their marketing efforts. There is a good reason for that.
AI is one of the major technologies behind voice search, smart assistants, search results, and chatbots, which are popping up on websites here, there, and everywhere, setting new standards for client communications. On top of that, it performs many crucial tasks:
- It determines the digital newsletters your target audience is mainly engaged with.
- It takes the monotony out of marketing, letting the team concentrate on strategy.
- It analyzes big data in a short time to understand the needs and expectations of the subscribers better.
- It even produces predictive analytics.
When played right, it makes the whole difference in email marketing strategy. Therefore, include it in your next year’s list of resolutions. However, remember to exercise caution with this trend. Do not ditch the human aspect – it is still more crucial than ever. For the time being, AI technologies should be used to enhance marketing efforts and give people more time and accurate data to create email campaigns and strategies that resonate best with the target audience.
Automatization and Email Template Builders
Much like AI-powered technologies, automatization and email template builders like Postcards or Mailpost are getting momentum. And there are no signs of an end to this upward trend. Why should it be? These clever tools have drastically improved the lives of email marketing teams by performing tasks such as:
- Creating highly segmented mailing lists
- Building highly-engaged beautiful email templates with modern features
- Running successful nurturing campaigns
- Pushing customers to convert through the sales funnel effectively
- Optimizing the effectiveness of the messages in emails
- Improving the buyer cycle
- Increasing transactions
According to recent studies, over 70% of the most successful companies utilize marketing automation and clever tools. Email considers being the most frequently automated marketing channel. So, if you still do everything manually, 2023 is the year to make changes and benefit from automation and instruments created to lessen the burden of email marketers’ trivial tasks.
Along with accessibility in websites, the inclusivity of digital newsletters has become a top priority for companies. Although we cannot name it a trend, since it is a new standard, everyone should meet it in digital newsletters. However, we could not help but mention it because more and more companies place proactive diversity and equity at the heart of their email designs and campaigns.
Creating inclusive emails can be challenging because of a lack of awareness, personal biases, technical difficulties with personalization, and some other issues on micro and macro levels of the content, design, and template behavior.
However, it needs to be done. Not only does it help the organization comply with the standards and current expectations of the target audience, but it also brings numerous benefits. It differentiates the business from the competition, covers a large target audience, eliminates possible inconsistency in email display and message delivery, increases trust, raises credibility, and builds up an unrivaled reputation.
If you ask how you should start in this direction, the best advice will be to introduce it as an integral element of email marketing strategy and follow these best practices:
- Embracing gender-neutral terms
- Sticking to color-inclusive and body-positive images
- Thinking through segmentation
- Using a warm and friendly tone
- Conducting accessibility audits regularly
- Making email templates responsive and mobile-friendly
Read our article dedicated to Accessibility in Email Designs to get some more valuable hints.
Sustainability and Eco-Friendliness
Accessibility, inclusivity, diversity, and equity are not the only things the target audience expects from the company’s emails. Nowadays, they prioritize brands that practice social responsibility, sustainability, and eco-friendliness. According to studies, almost 70% of consumers agree that they are willing to pay more for goods from brands that demonstrate social commitment.
You may have already noticed how goliaths of the industry have played this card in their brick-and-mortar shops, advertising, and multiple digital distribution channels. Email marketing is no exception.
To keep up with this trend, you may highlight your company’s social responsibility efforts, run one-for-one campaigns to donate products, offer discounts for a noble cause, promote fair trade and celebrate picking up environmentally-conscious business practices.
Influencer marketing and email marketing are a powerful duet that is gaining momentum these days. According to statistics, 60% of consumers trust the product recommendations they get from influencers. Moreover, with young generations entering the market, this number will only grow in the following years. Therefore, do not miss jumping on this bandwagon.
Influencer email marketing comes with numerous benefits. It expands brand awareness, gains fans from the influencer’s audience, breaks through the noise with organic-seeming content, builds authority, drives purchase decisions, and reaches the target audience effectively. Moreover, it speaks with Generation Z in the same language, giving the company an excellent opportunity to meet this extensive and growing part of the target market on their terms.
So, what can you do? Research opportunities to integrate influencers into your email marketing strategy. Remember, influencer marketing is not only about stars and celebrities. It is also about micro-influencers, people with an audience of 10,000 to 100,000 followers. As practice shows, they reach the target audience more efficiently.
Apart from that, you may feature loyalists who are followers, fans of your brand, and employees as brand ambassadors in your emails.
Finally, yet importantly, examine your competitors to get some good insights and hints on what works and what does not, incorporate testimonials and reviews, exhibit products collaborating with influencers, and include share buttons and links to active social media channels in email content.
Rise of Retention and Appreciation Email Campaigns
It has been said that the traditional marketing funnel is slowly but surely losing its power. Why? The reason is simple: customer experience is the top priority nowadays. However, in the traditional approach, clients are an afterthought once they have bought the product or paid service. This contradicts new standards and expectations.
The good news is there is an alternative to this one-way direction. There are several theories, but the flywheel is the most popular one.
Presented by the Hubspot team, this marketing technique revolves around providing excellent customer experience during the entire customer’s lifecycle. It implies using the momentum of your happy clients to drive referrals and repeat sales and encourage business owners never to lose sight of converted customers, thereby keeping business running and spinning. This model perfectly fits today’s target audience’s needs, requirements, and expectations. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that it has already gained popularity.
The central pillar of this approach is capitalization on retention and appreciation campaigns. For businesses, this means working with such types of emails as:
- Welcome and Onboard emails. They establish powerful first impressions and lay solid foundations for strong relationships with subscribers.
- Appreciation emails. They show gratitude to your customers, celebrate milestones and anniversaries, and recognize customer value.
- Thank You Notes and other post-purchase email series. They appreciate customers and show them they matter beyond the sale.
- Cart abandonment. They continue the conversation with customers to keep them in the loop and potentially save lost revenue.
- Timely reminders. They notify about upcoming appointments, events, payments, and even discount and trial expirations, serving as loyal and reliable assistants for both sides.
- Referral and reward programs. They spread the word and get new clients on board.
- Win-back emails. They bring back those ultimately suffering inactivity.
- Social proof. They drive engagement and generate excitement around the brand.
- Reports, Feedback, and Reviews. They increase engagement and maintain interest in the brand alive.
Expect industry leaders to increase the number of all those types of emails. To be a part of this mainstream, you need to focus on retention and appreciation campaigns and keep an eye on your customers for the entire lifecycle.
If you plan to miss this year’s trends, then think again. Looking up-to-date is crucial for a brand in 2023 because it builds up a strong reputation, amplifies the company’s authority in the niche, increases trust, and helps stay ahead of the competition.
Customers expect specific standards across all distribution channels, whether you are a small company, a mid-sized organization, or a leader in your niche. Digital correspondence is no exception. Apart from being responsive, mobile-friendly, accessible, inclusive, and personified, email design has to look and feel up-to-date.
The good news is, you have plenty of choices. There is a trend for every taste, from animated gifs to static but unique geometric frames to fancy typefaces. On top of that, some reliable instruments, like Postcards, shape any idea with the help of modern styles and features to meet all standards without much effort, eliminating all obstacles for non-tech-savvy marketers to bring trends to life.
So, do not hesitate. Choose the trend that fits your brand’s personality the most, or resonates the best with your target audience, take one step at a time, do A/B tests, and improve the positions of your brand in the market by staying on top of things.