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Email Design Trends to Look For in 2021

Email Design Trends to Look For in 2021

New year, new email design tactics? That’s a yes from us! Many businesses leaned heavily on email marketing throughout 2020. And email design will only continue to be essential into 2021. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more brands are relying on digital channels such as email to communicate with their customers.

But the face of email marketing has changed. Email design trends are constantly evolving, and the pandemic has altered customer communications forever. By getting ahead of the biggest email design trends in 2021, you can effectively market your business via email. Email marketing is here to stay–but it’s your job to stay on top of the latest trends. Here are the email marketing trends for 2021 that can help increase your engagement. (Looking for more email marketing trends? Check out this post from Jordie at Email Monday: The Future of Email Marketing & Marketing Automation. We’re proud to be included!)

Email design trends are constantly evolving, and the pandemic has altered customer communications forever. Click To Tweet

Minimalist design

Keep things simple by designing minimalistic emails that are uncluttered, visually stunning and get the point across. Minimalistic emails have fewer design elements; they’re less distracting so your reader immediately knows what you want them to do.

White space, easily readable typography and muted colors are all components that can go into designing minimalistic emails. This message from Crate & Barrel is essentially just a header and one image. The color scheme is light and airy and it takes the reader just a few seconds to take in the email and CTA — Shop Now.

Subject line: it’s on: CYBER WKND SALE

Email design trends 2021

Customer experience

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many customers transitioned to purchasing online instead of in-store. For many shoppers, these online buys may be their first digital shopping experience with your brand. So it’s your job to help them through the process as much as possible. You can incorporate customer experience into your emails by:

  • Providing a direct link to open a support chat
  • Answering FAQ’s about buying your products online
  • Offering tips for navigating your website

That’s what VideoAsk does here by providing a link to its Help Center in the email footer. The link takes readers to a landing page where they can search tutorials and articles to find the answer to their question. When your customers have a good digital experience, they’ll return to buy from your site again and again.

Subject line: Camera shy? We’ve got the cure


Broken grid layout

Your email doesn’t have to use a traditional layout where all of your design elements are assembled in neat columns. One of the major email design trends for 2021 is a broken grid layout. Essentially, this type of layout makes it feel as if the email doesn’t have columns at all, switching up the structure for a different look. This BEE template is an example of an email with a broken grid.

Video in email

Video in email was a major email marketing trend we saw going into 2020, and videos will only increase in popularity in 2021. Videos can increase click rates by 65% and reduce unsubscribe rates by 26%! When you add videos to your emails, keep in mind that many big-name email platforms don’t allow video playback within an email (such as Outlook, Yahoo and Gmail). It’s best to embed a link to the video in your message (like GoPro does here) so your reader can open the video on your website, YouTube channel or a landing page.

Subject line: Best of 2019 video

email marketing trends 2021

Dark mode compatibility

It’s absolutely essential to add provisions for dark mode into your email marketing strategy for 2021. Every day, more people start using dark mode to view email, so optimizing your emails to be read with dark mode turned on ensures everyone will be able to read your messages. Using transparent images, outlining black text in white and testing your dark mode emails are a few ways to make sure your emails are dark mode compatible. This winter-themed message from Litmus showcases dark mode and light mode done right.

Subject line: Live Optimization comes to you, more stats than you can shake a stick at, and more

litmus email light and dark theme

Connection and empathy

2020 has changed many things forever. The way companies communicate with their customers is one of them. This year, brands have learned to connect with their customers on a new level, keeping them informed about everything that’s going on and reminding them we’re all in this together. And that email marketing trend should carry over into 2021 and beyond.

This empathetic message from Tuft & Needle’s CEO was sent in mid-March as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated in the U.S. It kept customers in the loop and encouraged them to take care of themselves. But you don’t have to wait for a global crisis to show empathy to your customers. Focus on putting your customers’ needs first at every time of year.

Subject line: An update from our CEO

email design 2021

Bold colors and text

One of the final email design trends in 2021 that we’re expecting to see is bold colors and text. Many brands are putting text across their hero image, like this stunning example from The North Face. This tactic is a good way to grab your reader’s attention and start the email off strong.

Subject line: Get 30% off gear (and gifts) before they’re gone

email design trends 2021

Wrap-up: BEE editor

Start off the New Year on the right foot by using the BEE email editor to design your marketing emails and email newsletters. With BEE’s simple drag-and-drop editor, it’s easy to stay on top of the email design trends for 2021 and create emails that will get more engagement. Start designing for free today!

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two email and email design trends for 2021

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BEE Team