We love looking at email design trends. They’re like a catalog of fun, new toys that you can flip through and circle the ones you have to have. Staying up to date with email trends also helps you keep up with subscriber expectations, keep your skills sharp, and invest in proven strategies without a bunch of guessing and checking.
Based on what we’re seeing (and we see a lot of emails) plus research from The 2024 State of Email Trends Report, here’s what we think will be popular this year.
Read through them all or jump ahead to the latest design trends:
- Interactivity like polls, quizzes, carousel, and AMP for email
- Minimalism and micro-interactions
- Hyper-personalization and AI-powered recommendations
- Accessibility and usability for all
- Playful shapes, colors, and layouts
The ever-evolving inbox landscape
Email design trends make the most sense—and are the most actionable—when you consider the context of email marketing right now. These are the recent and upcoming changes in the inbox to keep in mind as you try new designs and strategies.
So long, third-party cookies. Google plans to phase out third-party cookies in the second half of 2024, so now is the time to plan how to use email marketing to collect first-party data instead.
New sender guidelines incoming. Gmail and Yahoo have new sender guidelines for bulk senders that you need to adhere to to maintain deliverability.
Call in the specialists. Our 2023 State of Email Design Report saw an industry-wide shift toward specialization for email skills like design, so you or your team might invest in learning about or hiring for specific expertise instead of do-it-all roles.
Interactivity email trends
Email marketing is a direct link to subscribers, but why not make it a two-way conversation? Trending interactive email elements like polls and quizzes give you more opportunities to hear from customers, while image carousels transform messages into experiences.
Polls asking for preferences and opinions
Harry’s uses a ‘skin-care goals’ poll that can direct customers to relevant products. This is also a perfect way to collect first-party customer data. Plus, the interactive poll makes it feel like Harry’s wants to help subscribers, like a skincare-obsessed friend.
Harry’s invites subscribers to respond to a one-question poll about how they’d describe their skin-care goals. Image via Really Good Emails.
Interactive questionnaires & quizzes
While you can build an interactive quiz in your email, there are ways to shortcut interactivity. Supergoop! Used a flowchart email design to walk subscribers through an entertaining quiz without having to code interactively.
Your design, content, or both can be interactive and engaging. Image via Really Good Emails.
You can put product carousels inside your email design or leverage Gmail’s new promotions tab updates. Gmail’s Product Carousel lets you add images, prices, and descriptions to catch attention before subscribers even open your message.
AMP for email
AMP for email is a framework for creating dynamic, efficient user experiences and engagement that’s been around for a few years, but how common is it? Oracle research for The State of Email Trends Report points to AMP for email being a pretty niche tool.
Five years after the release of AMP for email, only 7% of respondents report using it. The low adoption rate might be because only a small percentage of US email marketing audiences are addressable with it, since Apple Mail and Outlook don’t support it. That said, the small number of organizations using it seem to be quite pleased with the performance boost it produces, so more brands should test it out for themselves this year.
Minimalism & micro-interactions email trends
More isn’t always more. Minimalism and a focus on micro-interactions keep the focus on the most important parts of the message without sacrificing style or engagement.
Rounded corners and elements, like the design of this PARLA email, have been around for a few years. Still, we don’t see the design trend going away.
Rounded edges appear between different sections, on CTA buttons, and around text for extra emphasis. Image via Really Good Emails.
Isolated product shots
Isolated product shots are another email design trend we’ve seen in recent years, but we expect to see more in 2024, too. Close in on the details like Ray-ban does, or zoom out to show your items in their full glory.
Use high-contrast colors or white space behind isolated product shots to make them stand out. Image via Really Good Emails.
Subtle hover effects
We’re big fans of subtle hover effects to add interest and emphasis in emails, and it’s pretty straightforward to add a variety of effects.
Hyper-personalization & AI-powered design email trends
Hyper-personalization and AI-powered designs are an email design trend everyone should explore, since 80% of email marketers report at least some performance improvement when they use personalization. Luckily, 83% of customers are willing to share their data for personalized experiences.
Dynamic content based on user data
Dynamic content comes in all shapes and sizes, from ‘most viewed items’ to product recommendations, personalized images, and more. We can’t wait to see what email marketers come up with this year.
Adding a first name is personalization 101, but dynamic content lets you swap out data within images to feel really custom.
Right now, email marketers are most likely to use generative AI for copywriting, but tools like Litmus Personalize let designers include personalized product recommendations.
AI recommendations can suggest items to customers based on their weather and location.
Utilizing more live content
Live email content increases clicks by nearly 70%, so it’s an email trend that can have serious payoff. Customize content based on location, weather, or time opened and automatically update creative with live polling and social feeds.
Accessibility & usability email trends
Email accessibility and usability are always in, but creative email designers find new ways to design with style and conscientiousness.
Alt-text for Images
Adding descriptive alt-text to images is a must-have to ensure everybody enjoys your email, from the visually impaired to people with automatic image loading turned off. Patagonia does this well, with descriptions like ‘A line break that looks like the silhouette of a mountain range.’
But they take it a step further and add extra photo context at the bottom of the message. Text with stories and photo credits gives every photo more depth, and it’s in a design format that everyone can enjoy.
Clear calls to action
Clever CTA copy is fun but doesn’t work if it requires visual context. This year, opt for clear calls to action that make it easy to understand where a button leads. For example, Postable uses ‘Browse cards’ for its Valentine’s card CTA instead of something like ‘sending my love.’
You can use clever copy and headlines plus clear and actionable CTA buttons so everyone understands how to interact with your message. Image via Really Good Emails.
Shape play & bold colors email trends
We can’t talk about email design trends without exploring shape and color. Here’s what we think there will be more of this year.
Overlapping elements and collages
Variety is the spice of life, so there’s room for isolated product shots and overlapping elements on our 2024 email trends list. You can use layered graphics like Loisa does to show off your products with context, or embrace Gen-Z’s collage culture with designs that fit your brand vibe.
Putting product shots alongside lifestyle imagery helps customers visualize their use. Image via Really Good Emails.
Unexpected color combinations
Having consistent and centralized design guidelines for your brand makes your work easier and more consistent, but maybe you want to play around a little this year. We’ve been seeing email designers play around with unexpected combos and bright colors like lilac and forest green or stay down to earth with muted tones of typically bold colors like pink.
Embracing color trends is a fine line between experimentation and abandoning your brand identity. Image via Really Good Emails.
Implementing trending email design in your strategy
Email trends come and go; you can let them inspire and invigorate your team without overindulging in every new design option. Here are some tips for implementing trending email designs:
- Practice the foundations of email design to build a skills base for trendy experiments
- Don’t stray too far from your brand and audience for the sake of trying a new trend
- Prioritize email design trends for your goals, like interactive elements for engagement and clear calls to action for click-through rates
- Follow email design best practices that make your work easier, like modular design systems
- Create centralized brand guidelines for consistent color palettes and design elements
- Test every email before you send
Experiment with email design trends today
All of the 2024 email design trends revolve around creating an engaging, personal, and enjoyable inbox experience for everyone. Want to try the trends but need help figuring out where to start? We have free email templates with trending elements, like interactive elements and hover effects, built-in plus accessible, dark-mode, and modular designs. Check them out here!
Steph Knapp is a Freelance Content Writer for SaaS and B2B companies