5 Email Design Trends For 2021

In 2020 email marketing remained one of the most overlooked marketing channels, despite it being one of the most efficient channels. Despite its unpopularity amongst marketers, email remains a powerful tool to reach your target audience. In 2020, 99% of email users checked their email at least once a day, and for 58% of us, it’s the first thing we check in the morning.

When email marketing is an important instrument in your marketing strategy, and it should be, design plays a major role. Despite challenges in email delivery, there are plenty of ways to make your email design stand out in your audience’s inboxes. In this article, we’ll take a look at five of the most important email design trends for the new year!

Get personal

As email marketing relies on getting consent from your audience to use their data to at least some extent, it’s a magnificent channel for deep personalization. Personalisation can do wonders for the ROI of your email marketing efforts, increasing open rates by up to 26%, and increasing revenue driven by email by up to 5.7.

There are a multitude of ways to make sure you send the right email at the right time. Have you thought about the following ways to personalize your email?

  • Make the sender a human, for example peter@yourcompany.com, instead of info@yourcompany.com, or even worse donotreply@yourcompany.com.
  • Address your audience, if you know their name, why not use it in a subject line or the content of your email?
  • Their name is just a starting point, any data collected from your audience can be put to use; preferred product categories, gender, historic purchases, you name it!
  • Once you start segmenting your audience based on their behaviours, you could consider dynamic content based on their persona, sending out offers tailored to their specific needs.


Interactive email

Email is very much a conversational channel, not a one-way-street. In 2021, you can consider using email marketing to interact with your audience in a meaningful way. Figure out what makes them tick, what they think of you, or even play interactive games with your audience.

Through various tools such as Customer Thermometer and Delighted, you can incorporate dynamic elements like customer satisfaction surveys or NPS questionnaires in the content of your emails.

Increase engagement with video

Video is hot in marketing, and it’s a matter of time before it starts playing a bigger role in email marketing too. Video in email can boost open rates by 19%, click through by 65%, whilst reducing unsubscribe rate by 26%.

Not only is video a great way to increase engagement whilst entertaining your audience, it does a way better job getting your message across than just plain text. Studies have shown that viewers recall your message by up to 95%, whereas with text it’s just 10%.

Unfortunately, there’s currently no standard solution that works for all email providers to actually embed video in your emails, so we’ll have to get creative here, you can either use a PNG thumbnail with a play button, or use an animated GIF, and then hyperlink to your video.

Now, in 2021, there are ways to embed HTML5 in your emails, but keep in mind that this is not supported on all email clients.

Design for dark mode

Dark mode has been added to Apple Mail in 2018, it’s a darker color palette that’s very well suited for the nighttime and other low-light environments. It’s easier on the eyes, it saves battery life by reducing screen brightness, and it can improve content legibility.

Since Apple introduced dark mode to Apple Mail, Gmail and Outlook have followed suit, and it’s likely more will follow. With this increase in reach of dark mode, it starts to make sense to take this into account when designing your emails. Litmus has written a great guide on how to optimize your emails for dark mode, which can be read here.