Spotted 01: Fresh Design Trends We’re Noticing

In the Spotted series, we take a look at great design tricks and trends across the email landscape and share our thoughts and insights on how the could work for you!

Jesse Godfrey
Updated on

Here are a few of the newest design ideas that we’re seeing brands harness to make their email content stand out and keep viewers attention.

#1 – Feature Visualization

What better way to sell a great product than simply highlighting what makes it great? If your product has a clear differentiator or unique feature set, don’t be afraid to put it on display by finding creative ways to visualize it!

Here we see Bombas plugging key materials and features of their socks and slippers, utilizing an infographic method of detailing them.

Peel uses an unnecessarily long scroll in their email as a clever way to visualize their charging cable length options.

#2 – Muted Tones

Blushes, creams, off-whites, Oh My!

A little color goes a long way. Using muted tones and off-whites in your layouts can help break up sections with a lot of white. This keeps your email design from overwhelming the viewer with lots of bright colors. We’re seeing this trend used a good bit lately, especially in background colors for sections of content, as you see here in the Chipotle Extras example above.

Creams and taupes can also communicate a sense of nostalgia or vintage vibes. This is working really well for Mike and Minnie’s 50th Anniversary email!

#3 – Perma-Dark Mode

Dark mode has made for an interesting challenge for email designers recently. With lots of users adopting dark mode as their default system scheme, some brands are using the strategy of simply making dark-mode emails work for light-mode users. Emails styled with dark backgrounds in light mode will not vary much in dark mode.

The idea here is to create a consistent experience for both sets of users. Defaulting to dark is a really effective way to achieve that outcome!

#4 – Scrolling GIFs

Sometimes as we’re designing emails, real estate is limited. Using GIFs as a means of “extending the canvas” beyond the bounds of the email allows you to say more with less room to say it.

This strategy can make for some really engaging and eye-catching visuals, creating a way for you to highlight your product more boldly or even scroll through some social proof or customer shout-outs!

#5 – Seamless Vertical Layout

Okay, fine, this isn’t really a *new* trend, but it is still a beautiful design technique for email — and brands are still doing it.

I always compared this process to that of a magician — that is, doing what you need to do for the trick to be successful without the viewer ever seeing it what you are actually up to.

Utilizing slicing and color-matching background colors can create a really seamless vertical design. If done well, the end viewer won’t know where anything starts or stops, and as a result, the email experience will flow naturally as well.

#6 – UI GIFs

Lots of brands are also using GIFs to create common UI transitions or animations. This technique can be used to create email components that simulate countdowns, cards, or responsive button elements.

These GIF elements create a feeling that the email content is dynamic and “alive” versus feeling static and set in stone

Honorable Mentions

Gradient Type

While not achievable through live text in emails, masking an eye-catching gradient with type in your graphics can really “wow” viewers!

Vertical Text Headers

Again, not achievable through live text in emails, but by utilizing slicing, you can set text vertically and create some really interesting compositions in your email layouts.

GIF Video

Don’t let great video content go to waste. With the right amount of compression, you can generate lightweight GIF versions of your product video content for email!

Thanks for reading our first-ever Spotted trends report. Make sure to come back and keep an eye out for the next one!

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