Welcome to 2019, where the emails are brighter, bolder, and more beautiful! Right?! We are always impressed with the innovative email design trends we find in our inbox, and we’re looking forward to what 2019 will bring. We know all you email geeks (us included) are continually working hard to make sending email more efficient, effective, and beautiful. We’re inspired. And we’re especially excited to see these email marketing design trends unfold this year:
#1. Gorgeous gradients
Yes, the ’90s are back, from neon colors to fanny packs. And that means we’ve been seeing more gradients in email design. Gradients add depth and a sense of movement. They’re kind of mesmerizing, kind of retro, and all around a lot of fun. As 99U recently pointed out, gradients can be pretty irresistible: “The energy of these stunningly vibrant color transitions makes them stand out and helps to elevate any design.” Here are some recent gradient examples from our inbox.
Subject: 25% OFF EVERYTHING STARTS NOW 😱
This one from American Eagle almost has a watercolor vibe, doesn’t it? We’re into it!
Subject: Look who popped back up 🍊🍦
From the illustrations to the puffy fonts, these Taco Bell gradients are ultra playful.
Subject: >>> It’s been confirmed: You’re getting an exclusive heads up about our upcoming event!
The super bold colors in this Shea Moisture email are divine!!
#2. More marvelous minimalism
In case you missed it, with the release of the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, everyone is talking about the KonMari method lately. That means people are getting rid of clutter and cleaning up. And who says we can’t KonMari our emails, too?! If this design element doesn’t spark joy, buh bye!
Seriously though, we’ve long been fans of email design simplicity. We’re glad to see this trend isn’t expected to slow down in 2019. And even with the use of more bold, vibrant colors (and gradients!), or with a lot of content, emails can still take a minimalistic approach when it comes to design. Let’s have a look at some examples—
Did you notice how even the subject line of this email is minimalistic? And the subject matter as well? In 2019, less is more. We love the concise text segments, white space, and black-and-white color choices in this email. It’s a breeze to read and scroll through.
Subject: Where’s the calcium?
This email from Ritual is deliciously simple and beautiful. Isn’t that CTA button perfect?
Subject: What is Concise Writing?
Here’s another meta example: a minimalist email about concise (minimalist) writing. Like Ritual, Grammarly uses bold colors, to-the-point messaging, and a super tappable CTA button to cut through the noise.
#3. Living Coral, Pantone’s color of the year
Ever since Pantone announced Living Coral as 2019’s color of the year back in December, the internet has been going ga-ga for the bright, uplifting shade of pink-orange. (It’s not so different from millennial pink, is it?) Even the name—Living Coral—is optimistic and vibrant. And the image below, from Pantone, demonstrates that sentiment perfectly.
We’re excited to see more of this fantastic color in 2019. Here are a few early examples we’ve spotted—
Subject: You have 24 hours left
ClassPass adds texture and layers to this coral colored email. It’s another beautiful example of simplicity, too—though we’d suggest going with live text and a bulletproof button instead of an image 🙂
Subject: 19 / Wireless battery packs and a ‘listen-to-it-later’ app
Dense Discovery always sends stunning newsletters, and this one with a bold HTML background color header (coral!) is no exception.
Subject: Wear the shade of the year… on your nails!
Nail polish brand OPI wants you to wear Living Coral on your nails, and we can’t say that’s a bad idea.
If you want to build your own Living Coral email, BEE has a bright and vibrant template that you can customize to your needs:
#4. Typographic designs, especially with bold serif fonts
We adore a good font-forward email, especially when a designer has harnessed the power of email safe fonts to create something truly beautiful. (It doesn’t have to be hard!) When your fonts and colors are spot-on, you can whip up a stunning email without images or artwork. One trend we’ve been tracking in particular is the use of large, old serif fonts. The look is simultaneously elegant, classy, and modern. Here are a few recent examples.
Subject: An update on feel better
The bold header—FEEL BETTER—is a great example of a striking serif in this email from ban.do. This one is an image, but a similar look can be achieved with plain text (just choose Georgia or a similar serif, make it bold, and amp up the size).
Subject: “One application of this amazing elixir…”
Lots of serif headers here in this easy-to-read email from Supergoop!, including bold, all-caps styling in the intro modules.
#5. Better and better accessibility
In 2017, we talked to Email on Acid’s CEO John Thies about the incredible importance of email design accessibility. Since then, email accessibility has increasingly become part of the email design world lexicon. We’re truly hoping to see more emails become more accessible in 2019, so all readers can enjoy what we designers make. Be sure to read up on accessibility if you’re unfamiliar with the concept. Our post is a good starting point, and here are some quick tips:
- Be mindful of your contrast ratio. Designers can test contrast ratios using tools like WebAIM.
- Keep fonts legible. Thies suggests a minimum font size of 14px for regular fonts and 16px for light ones.
- Underline links!
- Include a language attribute. Set your HTML language attribute in the head of the email, i.e., lang=”en”. It ensures screen readers pronounce words correctly so that your email is comprehensible.
- Avoid light text. Lighter colors (especially against a light background) are harder to detect.
- Left-align text. It’s easier to read than center-adjusted.
- Maintain a logical reading structure. Use headers and don’t skip heading levels (e.g., H1, H2, H3).
- Stick to semantic layouts (i.e., modular design). Your content should unfold in an expected order. Think main header, section header, body text, then footer.
- Don’t forget ALT text. Descriptive, accurate ALT text means screen readers can describe images.
- Include captions in videos!
Tip: Need help getting started? Check out BEE’s library of free email marketing templates for quick, easy designing.
What 2019 design trends are you looking forward to seeing in the year ahead? Let us know in the comments!