Log in

Email design trends in 2022 (and common mistakes to avoid)

Topics
Mistakes to avoid with email design
Final thoughts

Well designed emails go beyond aesthetics. They combine art and science to provide information in a way that’s compelling enough to drive readers to take action.

As a marketing channel, email can provide a significant ROI given it’s a direct line to subscribers. Done right, it’s one of the best ways to promote, educate, engage and sell to your target audience.

In this article, we’ll look at some 2022 email design trends and why they work, plus mistakes to avoid when designing your emails.

Many email marketing trends we still see today date back several years, such as GIFs, emojis, bold typography and fonts, flat design and minimalist email templates.

More recently, we saw the rise of graphic design elements such as bright colors, playful shapes, interactivity and a continuation of minimalism. Here are some of the trends you’ll be seeing more of in the next year.



No matter how you personalize your emails, it’s likely it will improve the customer experience because your content will feel like it’s coming from a real person and it will be highly relevant to their journey.

2. Reviews, testimonials and user-generated content

Social proof helps you build and foster trust with your audience. With the rise of social media, online reviews and testimonials, especially in ecommerce, have exploded in popularity and importance.

According to a survey of 1,700 people across multiple countries and demographics, two-thirds said social proof increased their likelihood of buying a product.

This type of email content is not just effective but low cost too – a win-win. Consider incorporating a request for feedback at the optimal time in your email lifecycle (ideally after someone makes a purchase) to create a pool of social proof you can use in future email campaigns.


3. Dark mode optimization

Eye strain ease and battery life conservation are two of the reasons that 81.9% of people use dark mode (a device setting with light text on a dark background) on their phones.

As dark mode becomes more popular in both web and mobile design, creating your emails with this in mind can help improve usability, engagement and conversion. There are several ways to go about this, including simply changing the background elements if someone has dark mode settings applied or inverting the color palette of some of the sections in your emails.

However, keep in mind that email formats vary across devices and optimizing for multiple email clients is already complex. Adding this additional piece will require more design work and more testing to make sure your dark mode emails are appearing the way you want them to.


4. Even more animation

Animated GIFs have been around in email marketing for several years. This year, we’re seeing that businesses are taking interactive emails a step further with animated text, buttons and calls to action (CTAs).


Mistakes to avoid with email design

While new email trends can be both exciting and effective at converting email subscribers and growing your email list, be wary of straying from email design fundamentals. Here are some mistakes to avoid.

1. Using Javascript or Flash banners

Your website and email marketing serve different purposes and are built on different platforms. This means they’re going to require different tools.

Javascript and Adobe Flash are programming languages used for website development that inbox providers will usually block because they can be used to hide and install malware. To achieve animation effects in your emails, opt for a GIF or simply link to a website page that uses Javascript or Flash to show movement.

2. Going overboard with images

Beautiful imagery can add value to any marketing campaign. With email marketing, however, too many images can be distracting and may even prevent your emails from reaching the inbox.

There’s also a chance that your image won’t load properly.

When you do include images, make sure they aren’t too large as you don’t want your email to take a split second longer than necessary to load. It’s also important to ensure your content is within standard email size limits so you avoid the spam folder.

3. Overlooking plain text

Plain text emails are just that: monochrome emails with only text and no links or images. Some people prefer them over HTML versions, especially those who access their email on their smartwatch (as many HTML emails don’t look great on these devices).

One key benefit of plain text is that the format is consistent no matter if someone opens your email on an Apple iPhone Mail app or in Gmail on their HP desktop.

Many email marketing automation tools will “translate” the HTML version for you, but it’s still important to check the email CSS to ensure elements like spacing, line breaks and white space display as intended. It’s also easy to invert the text and background so it’s accessible in dark mode.

4. Failing to test for all devices

It’s crucial to optimize your emails for both desktop and mobile as different devices, inbox providers and breakpoints (i.e. screen sizes) display email differently. To avoid missing out on engagement and conversions due to poor formatting, test your email newsletter campaigns to ensure they are responsive and display properly across devices.


Final thoughts

Trends come and go but the basics of good email design will always remain. If your business isn’t already, consider investing in a strong brand identity and high-quality graphic design. This can drastically improve how people perceive your brand.

To make the most of your email marketing strategy, keep the user experience top of mind and make sure each decision has a purpose in terms of engagement and conversion when designing your emails.

Share your thoughts with our Community

Start or continue the conversation with like-minded sales and marketing professionals on our Community.

Join our Community