10 Email Design Resolutions for 2017

Have you thought about your email design resolutions for 2017?

As 2016 is now past us, we reached out to email marketing experts to get their resolutions for the new year. So here’s our round-up of what email gurus from across the industry shared. They weighed in on everything from improving design techniques for headers, GIFs, CTA buttons, and more. Read what they had to say, and then share your own resolutions!

email design resolutions


Increase Interactivity With Engaging Photography and Bold CTAs

“My email design resolution is to introduce more B2C design and interactive trends into B2B emails. Working exclusively in the B2B sector, design can sometimes fall by the wayside. Content definitely comes first in this industry, but design can aid in that! I want to encourage my fellow B2B designers (and myself!) to explore more by using interactivity, engaging photography, and bolder CTAs in 2017 designs.”

— Melanie Kinney, Digital Design Director at G3 Communications


Make Sure to A/B Test More Design Elements

“I am a fan of animated GIFs, so I would love to see more of that in 2017. I only see a few big brands using them now, but I think anyone can benefit if the content is relevant and there is a good fallback. Along those lines, I miss a good ol’ well-designed and thought-out email—one that blends imagery, live text, illustrations, knowledge of current recipients, etc., to create a good user experience that translates well from email to other digital properties. In 2017, my resolution is to A/B test more design elements to see what performs best with the user.”

— Shannon Crabill, Email Developer at T Rowe Price


Include Fun Animation (No Matter How Small)

“In 2017, I’m resolving to include more animation in my email design. Working in pharma, it can be difficult to embrace new trends because of the rigorous testing standards, and the degree to which all emails must be identical across browsers, devices, etc. GIFs are a great way for progressive enhancement in animation since they stay in the first frame when they’re not supported! Even a small animation—like a bouncing element or a changing color—could add some life and visual interest to emails without taking away any information. I’ve been looking into some of Val Head’s writings on web animation since I saw her speak at a conference earlier this year, and I’d like to try adapting and implementing some of those ideas in email.”

— Kathryn Grayson, Web Developer and Designer at Everyday Health


Rely on More Data-Driven Design Decisions

“I will design whatever makes the most sense for the clients’ subscribers. This means relying on data-driven design decisions, on-brand assets, and fallbacks for better accessibility.”

— Annett Forcier, Email Designer & Developer at Hootsuite


Experiment With GIFs for an Animated Email

“My email design resolution is to work more with GIFs. I was absolutely blown away by this infographic email from Litmus. I like how seamless the GIFs are integrated with the rest of the email so that it really feels like a live infographic. I’m inspired to create something similar in 2017!”

— Leo Thom, Freelance email/web designer and developer


Grab Attention With CTA buttons and Avoid Gimmicky GIFs

“As a multimedia designer, I actually have two resolutions: 1) I want to design more eye-popping and relative CTA buttons like this one from Birchbox; 2) Since I love to work with video, I want to create GIFs that really grab readers’ attention and aren’t gimmicky, like this GIF from J.Crew.”

— Kiandra Plummer, Freelance multimedia designer


Use Emoji to Encourage Emotional Impulses

“I believe true engagement comes when email designs inspire emotional impulses to drive customer actions and decisions. My goal for 2017 is to integrate what CMO.com calls ’emotional insights’ into email design. Emotional insights are derived from strong reactions which come from descriptive copy, provocative images, or even emojis. By using more fun, memorable emojis in subject lines, I can inject life into emails. Positive emojis can excite readers and convey a positive brand image, allowing readers to associate fun with a specific brand!”

— Nick Haby, Digital Marketing Manager at RevSquare

Via Wikimedia Commons


Add Cinemagraphs and Dive Deeper Into Geo-Targeting

“In the new year, I would love to see more cinematography in email designs. It brings the whole email to life on another level. Whether it’s water rippling slightly or steam coming from a cup of coffee/tea, [cinemagraphs] just add something extra to the whole email.

“I’d also like to optimize mobile versions more to display images that are location-appropriate and different from the desktop version. I haven’t seen this being done anywhere on a deeper targeting level. For example, a desktop version might show general women’s clothes, but the mobile version would show specific women’s clothes that are targeted to location-specific weather conditions. In 2017, I will definitely be a more holistic venture for me and the emails that I create: that not only are they segmented and targeted for each individual, but they are also geo-targeted along with social media inputs; that the emails are aligned across all digital channels; and that analyzing all channel metrics will ensure a better user experience and journey.”

— Priya Bransfield, Email Consultant


Improve Rendering Across Gmail, Outlook, and iPhone

“I will make every effort to have my emails look as good in Gmail and Outlook as they do on the iPhone! I’ll be using some tactics that I learned at the Litmus Email Design Conference, especially the techniques from Brian Dellaterra. I also hope that Outlook will improve their rendering through their partnership with Litmus.”

— Belinda Blakley, Web Designer at DeVry Medical International


Focus on Content-First Strategy Principles

“My design resolution is to build more content-first strategy principles into my existing design and development processes…and to spend less time responding to emails so I can spend more time designing them!”

— Courtney Prebble, Digital Designer at Bronto


What’s Your Resolution for 2017?

Let us know in the comments! Let’s strive for email design greatness!

And if you’re looking for more insights into email marketing overall, check out The Future of email marketing – 2017 edition, a great resource from email expert and friend Jordie van Rijn.

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