The 4 Email Design Trends to Look for in 2017

Alex Gorton

Towards the end of each year, we keep an eye out for email design trends that appear to be “the in thing” for the upcoming year. Shifts can occur due to popularity of specific art styles or collective thoughts on the best way to grab an end user’s attention. We find that a lot of the trend shifts over the years can also happen in an effort just to “shake things up” and get away from previous trends that become drab and overdone. Either way, it is always good practice to review your own emails and see what you can do to freshen them up and be on the “cutting-edge” of design.  Let’s look at some of the top email design trends for 2017:

Images as Eye-Candy

If you can catch a subscriber’s attention in the first few seconds of them opening your email, you have a good chance of being able to direct them through the content you want. What that equates to is vivid hero banners correlating to your content. The use of images in your emails is no longer “taboo” and when used effectively can make them really stand out. All things in moderation of course (read: don’t craft an all image email either.) What’s more, you could try blending the background up to incorporate your main headline, reminiscent of a magazine article cover for some added flair.

Email Design Trends

A pop of color

Color has always been a driving factor in design. It plays on emotions, makes us think or feel a certain way and can take a single piece of content and change its interpretation. For instance, let’s say you insert two CTA buttons next to each other. One is colored gray and the other a bright red. In most cases, a user’s eye is going to be drawn to that red CTA, not the gray one.

Colors can be used in a multitude of ways, and while not a new concept at all, using bright colors with neutral content helps to direct the subscriber to your content. If you tend to rely on images for every article blurb, why not leave the photos in color and keep your text monochrome? Or perhaps use different colored backgrounds in order to distinguish between sections of your email? Colors are a very powerful tool for you to harness.

Think Mobile-Responsive

It’s an exciting time for mobile viewership. With Gmail’s decision to support media queries (the gears of responsive design) in their mobile app, it is time to double down on responsive email designs to provide the best viewing experience for your subscribers consuming content on a mobile device. Does that mean everyone will be able to see your responsive version on a mobile device? No, it does not. However, with the majority of those mobile users opting for the Gmail app or the native iOS mail app, the majority will.

Consider how your content will scale down. Is that text in your image going to still be legible at 300px wide? Will that skyscraper ad cause finger-fatigue as the user tries to find your next bit of content? Think about minimizing your content to lead elsewhere, using horizontal ad spaces instead of skyscrapers. Think mobile first and then work backward to desktop consumption.

Email Design Trends: Responsive design

Lead your flock

We tend to find, and advocate, that the best content is the kind that drives traffic back to your website or blog. Keep the article text in your emails to a couple of lines with CTAs that lead your subscribers to the rest of the content that you host on your website or blog. Entice them, give them a little taste so they are wanting more. Consider the previous topic of designing for the best mobile experience in that if a subscriber has to scroll through a wall of text to reach the content they want to read, will they proceed?

Ready for more email design trends? Check out the 2016 Digital Marketing Lookbook to see examples of great design.

Email Design Trends Lookbook

About the Author
Alex Gorton

As a Digital Marketing Designer, Alex is tasked with the creation of client templates, educating clients on design best-practices and assisting with internal marketing needs. Out of the office, Alex is an self-proclaimed adventurer, snowboarder and tinkers on his custom-built computer.