The new year is in full swing and it is time to make some
updates to your marketing strategy. You might have already heard about the year’s
latest color or fashion trends, but what about 2019’s email design trends?
Yes, even emails are out with the old and in the with new each
year. This is because technology just keeps on advancing and improving, which
leads to more changes and even better design options for emails. Each year, you
get to choose from more and more options to personalize your email. This comes
in handy when sending marketing emails as you want to stand out to your
The design of your email is actually very important. The way your email appears says a lot about your business. Luckily, you have a very wide option of email design styles to choose from. It is important to do your homework and find out what colors, fonts, photos and layouts are most liked by consumers. With so many different design options to choose from you, there is the opportunity for you to mess around with your email and find the best design for your marketing plan. Don’t be afraid to make changes as more improvements come out!
Every year, digital marketers are introduced to new
technologies and methods of engaging with their customers. From postal
mail to social media, marketers have had to adapt to these new
strategies for different mediums.
But even with these new methods, email continues to show no
signs of slowing down. In fact, the number of email users grows every
year. According to Statista, there will be more than 251 million people using email in 2019.
With so many people reading and sending emails, you will
need to do something to make sure your messages stand out from the
This article will go over the need-to-know design
guidelines for 2019 and include examples of ways to successfully
implement them. We’ll also provide a few examples that you can use for
email design inspiration.
Why your 2019 email marketing strategy should include design
Email marketing is one of the most profitable tools for engaging your leads and customers. Email campaigns return an average of $44 for every dollar you spend. That’s the best ROI compared to all other marketing activities.
To receive the best return on investment with your email
campaigns, it’s important to include visual elements in your email
design. The human brain is simply better and faster at processing images
than text. Studies show two-thirds (67%) of people understand information better when communicated visually.
What does this really mean for email creation? Our brains
are psychologically better at identifying and reacting to images. So,
marketers should try to create an optimized visual experience in their
email campaigns to encourage engagement and increase conversions.
Your top email design guidelines for 2019
Your emails could reach thousands, or even millions, of
your customers. If you really want your email campaign to impress, you
need to consider some of the HTML email design best practices that will
be popular in 2019.
Follow this email design checklist to create visually appealing emails that will delight your customers and improve engagement.
1. Create responsive email templates.
This isn’t a new trend unique to this year, but it continues to grow in importance.
Mobile device use continues to increase each year. Just
look around next time you’re out on a lunch break or waiting for a
train. Unless there is a group together, the majority of people probably
have their phones out checking social media, texting, or reading
In fact, 54% of emails
are now being opened on a mobile device. It’s more important now than
ever to create responsive email templates that look good in mobile—or
even designing for mobile first.
Consider this email example from MLS Store that was opened in Gmail on desktop:
Image Source: MLS Store
Now look at the same email opened on an iPhone:
The email design looks almost identical on both platforms.
However, you could argue that the formatting looks even better on
mobile. This email delivers a good user experience for readers.
This is one important thing to remember about building
responsive templates. If you’re coding the emails yourself, you need to
make sure you inline your CSS code. Otherwise, you might have formatting issues in your mobile versions. Most email design software will do this for you.
It’s important to get the responsive formatting correct. The majority of emails that are formatted incorrectly are deleted in less than three seconds.
2. Optimize your image sizes and placement.
One way to ensure your emails are formatted properly is to follow email width best practices when building your messages.
Our design team recommends using header graphics
that are between 600 and 700 pixels wide. The height should also be
proportional. You should keep graphics in the body of your email smaller
than 480 x 480 pixels.
Formatting this way will create natural white space on the
sides of your email. This makes your content easier to read and is more
visually pleasing. In fact, some readers prefer emails with fewer
graphics in general. Take a look at this email from Squarespace that
adapts a more minimalistic style.
Image Source: Really Good Emails
Your email design template should also be built so the most
important images or information generally appears in the upper left side
of the email. An eye-tracking study by the Nielsen Norman Group found that people consume digital and web content in an F-shaped pattern.
The findings make sense because, in English, people read
from top to bottom and left to right. So, our eyes are trained to
immediately jump to this part of the email. Interestingly, this trend
was similar for both desktop and mobile. Make sure you put your most
important content and images in this area.
While email automation is great for scheduling emails to be
sent at the right time, more advanced machine learning and AI is
necessary to ensure proper personalization.
Right now, most marketers are segmenting their contacts and
sending relevant content to those specific groups. But consider how you
can utilize dynamic content or images that could provide a unique email
for each individual customer.
Think about city images that can be changed based on
geolocation. Retailers can also create modules that add recommended
products based on purchase trends, similar to what you’d see when you’re
shopping on Amazon.
In addition, email marketers can personalize experiences by
offering interactive content. This tactic allows readers to engage with
specific elements in your email that interest them. Consider this
example for glow-in-the-dark shoes from Toms:
The email features a switch that readers can activate by
scrolling over it. This would then show what the shoes look like in the
In addition to looking great and offering a fun experience, emails
like this can also help make your campaigns more successful. Interactive
content is proven to generate two times more conversions compared to passive content.
4. Incorporate user-generated content into your email.
Using user-generated content is a simple and effective
design strategy to improve engagement. You’re basically just taking
images or content submitted by customers and using them as part of your
Black Milk Clothing recently did an exceptional job with
this strategy. The retailer ran a campaign asking users to hashtag
themselves wearing specific products. The company then used some of
those photos in an email campaign.
This strategy created excitement for customers eager to
engage and see if their images appeared in the next email. The hardest
part is just trying to determine which images make the cut.
5. Use trendy and popular colors.
Your email colors should reflect your brand. However, if
you have some wiggle room, consider implementing one of 2019’s trending
Pantone recently announced Living Coral
as its color of the year for 2019. Pantone says the color would work
well in digital mediums because Living Coral evokes an inspirational
feeling that’s similar to our natural surroundings. Laurie Pressman,
Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute, says this about Living
“Color enhances and influences the way we experience life.
As a shade that affirms life through a dual role of energizing and
nourishing, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral reinforces how colors can
embody our collective experience and reflect what is taking place in our
global culture at a moment in time.”
Pantone even provides these helpful color codes for designers hoping to use Living Coral in their digital and print campaigns.
It’s worth noting that Pantone isn’t the only brand that is
suggesting a popular color for 2019. Paint industry giants Sherwin and
Williams, Behr, and Benjamin Moore have also released their top colors for this year. These palettes can also be looked to for inspiration and include shades of gray, blue, and terracotta.
Consider using these colors for an email or seeing if there’s a way to complement your current design style.
A picture says a thousand words, and the same can be said
for your emails. If you have beautifully designed emails, your customers
are more likely to engage. Alternatively, your email design is subpar,
your metrics might suffer as a result.
Be sure to follow our email design guidelines, including
building responsive templates, optimizing your image sizes and
placements, creating interactive and personalized content, and
experimenting with trending colors.
Finally, it’s important to remember to A/B test any template changes you make. Just because email design best practices say something should be done in a specific way, that doesn’t always mean it will work for your brand. Constantly run tests and optimize your email design based on your audience’s engagement.