Top 10 Email Design Trends for 2022 to Help You Stand Out

With more than 4 billion email users worldwide, it’s clear that email marketing remains 1 of the leading digital marketing channels even today. 

However, due to the sheer volume of emails being sent out every day, competition is steep, and businesses need to make sure their emails stand out if they want consumers to choose them over their competitors. 

This is where email design trends come into play—get them right, and you can grab the reader’s attention and entice them to take action.

In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of good email design and give you a list of the top 10 email design trends for 2022 that you can implement to stay ahead of the competition. 

Table of Contents

What is good email design?

Good email design refers to the use of different design elements to make an email unique to your brand, attractive to your readers, and, most importantly, easy to engage with. 

By using several different design elements, you’ll be able to create emails that your audience won’t only enjoy reading but will also entice them to act—buy your products, read your blog posts, book a call with your sales team, etc. 

Benefits of good email design

Here are some of the top benefits of good email design. 

Responsive design

Mobile browsing far exceeds desktop browsing. That said, both are still popular, which is why responsive design is more important than ever. 

By making your emails responsive, more people will be able to open and engage with them.

Marketers worldwide know this, which is why 66% of them created responsive email templates in 2019. 

graph showing optimization efforts for email marketing among worldwide marketers
Devices to optimize for in your email marketing

By getting your responsive design right, you’ll be able to present your products and services to all of your potential customers without worrying that they can’t access them at any given time.

Easier analysis of audience behavior

Email design will help you observe your audience’s behaviors. By knowing how your audience responds to specific design elements, you’ll learn how to refine your approach for the best results. 

Taking the time to look at your audience’s actual metrics and behaviors will enable you to make the necessary adjustments and tweaks that will lead to higher click-through rates. 

Additionally, you’ll also know how to approach other marketing strategies (aside from email marketing) in the best way possible because you’ll know your audience and what they like. 

Higher engagement

Email remains 1 of the marketing methods with the highest return on investment. In fact, in 2020, for every $1 spent on email marketing, brands earned $36. 

Of course, this isn’t true for all emails. Emails that perform the best are the ones that engage readers and convince them to act. 

By implementing better email design, your emails will be far more engaging, leading to your prospects reading them from start to finish and taking action afterward. 

Engaging emails = higher levels of engagement = more sales.  

Craft emails that open hearts, minds, and wallets with our FREE email copywriting templates!

Here’s a list of the 10 email design trends you should implement this year. 

1. More interactive elements

Every year, email trends are embracing interactive elements more and more. 

With improved support for interactive email features in Android, iOS, and Apple Mail, as well as Google popularizing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) emails, it’s important to include interactive elements in your emails if you want to stay ahead of the competition. 

Not only will this improve the overall user experience, but it’ll also make your emails far more likely to engage and convert. 

Here are some ideas for interactive elements you can include in your emails: 

  • Carousels
  • Videos
  • Shopping carts
  • Gamification elements
  • CSS animated buttons
  • Embedded forms
  • Product pages directly within the email

2. Hyper-personalized experience

With the mass of emails being sent to consumers every day, they’re getting smarter and more demanding regarding personalized marketing

Your prospects want to feel valued. The best way to achieve this is to send them emails that are relevant to them—their interests, actions, and needs. 

This is where conditional content comes in. By using custom fields and tags in your email marketing (both of which ActiveCampaign provides), you can target your customers based on their interests, geographical data, actions, and more. 

image showing custom fields and tags on ActiveCampaign
Custom fields and tags on ActiveCampaign

As a result, your audience will only get emails that apply to them. 

In 2020, 40% of U.S. marketers said that “clicks” are 1 of the key criteria they use when targeting for personalization. Furthermore, 39% said they looked at previously purchased products. 

image showing the percentage of marketers who use clicks when targeting for personalization
Personalization targeting data

There are many other ways you can personalize your emails. The approach you choose will depend on your audience. 

Here’s how you can use tags and custom fields in ActiveCampaign to create hyper-personalized experiences for your customers. 

3. Dark mode

Dark mode has taken the online world by storm. In a 2020 survey conducted by Android Authority, 81.9% of people said that they use dark mode on their phones, in apps, and anywhere else that it’s available. 

This is mainly because dark mode: 

  • Saves battery life
  • Looks more aesthetically pleasing
  • Is easier on the eyes

As such, it’s easy to understand why more people are demanding emails that are compliant with their email application’s dark mode. 

But, what is a dark mode email? 

An email designed for dark mode only displays the dark background if the subscriber has enabled it on their browser or email application. Similarly, if the subscriber has enabled the light mode, your email will appear to them as light instead of dark. 

image showing the same email in light and dark mode
Dark mode vs. light mode email (Source)

By designing your email to be compliant with both dark and light modes, you’ll give your readers a far better user experience and come across as more authoritative since you’re on top of technological advancements.  

4. Increased privacy and protection

Apple established a new standard for digital newsletters in September 2021. As a result, important information about subscribers, such as open and deliverability rates, will be hidden—making it much more difficult for brands to measure results. 

Additionally, consumers will be encouraged to be more protective of their data and won’t share their preferences as easily as they have in the past. 

The only way to overcome a consumer’s reluctance to share their information and preferences is to show your subscribers that you respect their privacy and that they’re welcome to leave whenever they want.   

The best way to do this is to have a distinctive footnote with an unsubscribe button, a link to manage preferences, quick access to your customer support team, and a link to the user’s account. 

You can design your footnote to suit your brand while also giving your email clients everything they need to feel free in their relationship with your business. 

5. F-pattern and compartmentalized layouts

The f-pattern email layout helps your recipients read emails faster and easier. Because of the “F” shape design, recipients can read the email left to right, creating a free-flowing email that’s highly scannable and saves a lot of time. 

image showing the f-pattern email design layout
F pattern email design layout

Though the f-pattern layout is great for emails that cover a single topic, the compartmentalized layout works better if you’re covering several topics within 1 email. 

By compartmentalizing your text into fixed boxes or grid lines, all your topics have their own space, making it far less confusing and crowded. 

6. Use of data

While emotions are 1 of the driving factors behind customer purchase decisions, logic is also. 

Consumers today are more aware of marketing tactics than ever before. They can identify false promises almost immediately. Therefore, they need a lot more hard facts to be convinced that a product or service will benefit them or their business. 

This is where data comes in. 

Including data in your email design (either in image or text format) will give your readers the data they need to make an informed decision. 

For example, if you own a social media advertising agency and your email claims that Facebook advertising is the single best way to grow brand awareness, make sure to include a hard fact from a study that supports your claim. 

Creative ways to include this type of data include: 

  • Making the numbers bold and colorful to draw attention to them
  • Representing the data in a GIF
  • Creating a small infographic

7. Social proof

Consumers expect to see a lot of reviews when looking at products online. This is even more true for younger audiences as, according to Statista, audiences between the ages of 18 to 44 need more reviews than those between the ages of 45 to 65 and up.  

graph showing the number of reviews expected by consumers in different age groups
Review expectations

Therefore, it’s imperative for all businesses—especially those with younger audiences—to include social proof in all their marketing emails. 

There are many creative ways to include social proof in your emails, including: 

  • Star rating reviews
  • Avatar or photograph of a client next to their review
  • Testimonial videos
  • And many more

Your reviews and testimonials can be as inventive and unique to your brand as you like. When it comes to social proof, there’s no “one-size-fits-all.” The best way to determine what type of social proof your audience responds to is through A/B testing

8. More animation

Since we’re all attracted to motion, sending emails with animated elements is a sure way to grab your audience’s attention. 

However, adding too many elements can make your email heavy in size, resulting in slower loading times or even leading to the email being unsupported by your client’s email provider. 

One way to avoid this is to add subtle animations instead of full picture animations (i.e., instead of making the entire image animated, only animate a singular element of the image). Learn how to add GIFs to emails

9. Bold typography and color

While minimalist emails have been all the rage for multiple years, many modern-day email marketers have turned to maximalist emails where bold color, typography, and striking images attract and keep the reader’s attention. 

image showing an email that has bold typography and colors
Bold typography with color (Source)

By pushing the creative boundaries of typography, a single word can tell an entire story and be worth a thousand pictures. 

If you combine typography with bright colors, eye-catching images, and white space, your email will stand out amongst the billions of emails sent and received daily. 

10. Inclusivity and diversity

In today’s day and age, consumers expect brands to be more inclusive and diverse in their marketing—and they aren’t scared of raising their voices against brands that aren’t. 

You’ll build trust with your audience by making your emails inclusive and diverse. In fact, in 2020, 69% of consumers saw brands that represented diversity in their marketing as more authentic—making them far more likely to purchase from them. 

image showing the percentage of consumers who see diversity in marketing as important
Diversity is important

You can make your emails more inclusive and diverse by: 

  • Adding images representing diversity (different appearances, ethnicity, abilities, etc.)
  • Making your emails accessible to people with varying abilities. For example, include a plain text version of your email for visually impaired people who use special screen reading devices to read your emails
  • Avoiding generalizations within your images and content

FAQs

What is an email design system? 

An email design system is a set of tools, resources, documentation, and other components that teams use to guide them in creating error-free, on-brand emails easier and faster. This usually includes brand colors and assets, email templates, and email modules. 

What are modular emails?

Modular emails are divided into independent parts, or “modules.” These modules can be reused and put into different combinations to create new emails or a range of templates to use for different email campaigns. An easy way to visualize this is to think of email modules as LEGO blocks that can be assembled, disassembled, and reused to create something new. 

How do I make an attractive email template? 

The easiest way to create attractive email templates is to create custom templates from scratch. Or you can build a campaign template library that email software such as ActiveCampaign provides. By including different design elements in your templates, you’ll be able to stay true to your brand in all your emails and won’t have to build new designs from scratch for every single campaign. 

Start implementing this year’s email design trends

By implementing these email design trends into your strategy, your emails will attract, engage, and convert more customers. 
Don’t have an email marketing strategy yet but want to create one? Follow these 10 simple steps to create a winning email marketing strategy to help your business grow.

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