Spotted 02: Email 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

New year, new email design trends! Let’s take a look at the latest things we’re seeing in the email space in Q1 2023.

#1 – Breaking the Grid

One of the email design trends we’re seeing utilized lately is a playfulness with overlapping elements and breaking the grid.

It’s easy to feel limited to working within boxy sections and containers in email. I’ve seen some great designs lately that utilize overlapping text and images to create some really eye-catching compositions that stand out from the crowd.

I especially love the combination of static foreground text overlapping a GIF background. It’s a great way to elevate what could have been a pretty dull product callout to something much more dynamic!

#2 – Gif Inlays

You likely won’t catch one of these Spotted Design Roundups without at least one GIF technique on the list!

This time it’s GIF inlays — or GIFs placed inside an otherwise static design element. There is something about this trend that makes these layouts come alive without overwhelming the viewer!

These visuals are very simple to produce, and they keep movement to a minimum while creating a great sense of balance and focus within a composition.

#3 – Retro Monotone/Duotone

As a 90’s kid, this trend has me feeling some serious nostalgia! We’re seeing some email designs really lean into a grunge-style approach to their graphics that seems to take us back a few decades — in a good way!

This trend utilizes minimal color (usually only 1-3) and lots of gritty texture that harkens back to cheap xerox prints and old-school tech branding.

I’m seeing emails utilize entirely one or two-color designs, as we see here with Texture Supply. Floyd is a brand that has been really leaning into halftone/duotone graphics to create a very similar throwback vibe.

#4 – Studio Backdrop As Background

This is probably my favorite trend, and it’s something I’ve been doing in my own designs lately.

This design trend requires that you’ve got quality, studio-grade photography to work with. If you do, though, you can easily blend backdrop colors into solid section colors in your email designs to create a seamless above-the-fold header composition.

I love how these emails pop with such vibrant, clean colors that perfectly spotlight the product!

#5 – GIF Ribbons

Alright, indulge me here with one more GIF trend — This one is incredibly simple.

GIF ribbons create a sense of endless looping and can introduce just enough motion to a static layout without overwhelming the viewer. This is a great way to take a boring call to action or headline and bring it to life as a key visual element in your designs in a really dynamic way.

Honorable Mentions

grainy color blocking example. Email design trends

Grainy Color Blocking

What’s better than a nice color block? A color block with a touch of grain or texture. The tactile contrast of texture backgrounds with flat foreground elements gives a pleasant sense of dimension to a design.

Bold Background Colors. Fresh email design trends.

Bold Background Colors

Bright background colors are not dead yet. I am seeing many bright greens and yellows used for full sections of emails or even entire email designs.

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

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