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3 Email Design Trends for Content Marketers To Use in 2022

Marketers expect another busy year with customers taking center stage. So naturally, email remains a primary engagement tool in their arsenal. But given 40% of marketers have reported budget cuts to their email strategy during the pandemic, it will be no easy feat.

This is precisely why an impeccable email design will contribute to a winning email engagement strategy in 2022. So, let’s check out three design trends that will rule this year.

1. Minimalistic email design

With inbox information overload, simple design strategies will rule the roost. Minimalistic emails work because they promise a sharp focus on the core communication task.

They don’t frustrate readers with cluttered messages. These simple designs provide clear, crisp copy that your audience can easily read – making them more likely to take an action, such as converting to a subscriber, making a purchase, etc.

Minimalistic #email designs don’t frustrate readers with cluttered messages, says @imkevin_monk via @CMIContent. Share on X

Here’s why minimalistic email design works:

  • Ensures the message is not lost in a gazillion distractions. Communicate one or two essential action items for best results.
  • Intelligently intrigues an audience constantly barraged with too much information in their lives.
  • Captures attention and communicates quickly and clearly.
  • Allows readers to quickly peruse the email. No one wants to read through convoluted messaging that takes time to understand, especially on mobile devices.
  • Provides a more comfortable brand experience than loud designs that may feel overwhelming.
  • Forces content marketers to focus on two to three key message elements necessary for readers to take action.

Some best practices for minimalistic email designs include:

  • Use a strong headline that acts as a hook.
  • Don’t use (or use sparingly) jargon or industry vernacular.
  • Make scannable content, particularly the call-to-action (CTA) buttons, and links.
  • Use colors wisely, lean on brand colors instead of standalone or contrasting color schemes.
  • Use negative space.
  • Create a visual hierarchy that is easy to follow and digest.
  • Use icons instead of text.

Let’s look at this email from G2, the peer-to-peer review company. Notice how it follows a minimalistic design philosophy. The negative space makes the email easy on the eyes and the design makes the information easier to digest.

Negative space makes the #email easy on the eyes, says @imkevin_monk via @CMIContent. Share on X

The CTA also is a simple button easily visible at the end of the email.

Image source

2. Dark mode email design

With the increased use of devices in dark mode, it is only natural that this trend makes its way to email design. Dark-mode emails are easy on the eyes, especially in low-light conditions. They also consume less battery power on the reader’s device since it doesn’t require backlighting.

With the increased use of devices in dark mode, it is only natural that this trend makes its way to #email design, says @imkevin_monk via @CMIContent. Share on X

From a psychological perspective, dark mode can signal that the email is important. It is also a great way to keep distractions at bay and encourage the reader to focus on the email at hand.

Here are some tips to follow when creating a dark-mode email:

  • Designing your light-mode email first, then convert it to a dark-mode version. It’s important to maintain consistency across all devices.
  • Use dark text on an off-white background to create contrast between content and background.
  • Don’t use colors that are too bright or jarring as they will make the content difficult to read.
  • Avoid red elements on the black background as it can be challenging to read for people with eye issues such as astigmatism.
Design dark-mode #emails by starting with the light-mode first, says @imkevin_monk via @CMIContent. Share on X

Here is a great example of a dark mode email we sent at my company Email Uplers. I’ve included the light version to show how the color palette and design are the same. The content is easy to consume in both modes and the CTAs are prominent.


Click to enlarge

­­­­­­­3. Micro-interaction email design

Designing emails with micro-interactions can boost engagement without putting the email load time under considerable stress. These tiny animations or interactions occur when the reader interacts with an element on the screen.

Micro-interactions can guide the reader through the email. They can also be used as a visual feedback mechanism. For example, when readers click a CTA button, it animates slightly to convey the action that occurred. This signal can prevent readers from dropping off or making errors.

A micro-interaction fulfills three important functions:

  • Provides feedback when the reader triggers an action and communicates the status visually.
  • Helps readers navigate between pages or sections and see the results of their actions.
  • Enhances the sense of direct manipulation, which improves the reader experience.

Some best practices for micro-interactions in email designs include:

  • Use two to four micro-interactions in an email.
  • Include elements that cater to human emotions.
  • Minimize the load time and integration with server requests.
  • Ensure the micro-interactions are functional and contribute to the overall user experience.
  • Test micro-interactions under varying conditions to make sure they work as intended.
  • Keep every micro-interaction simple and consistent in an email or even across a campaign if possible.

Here is an on-point example from the men’s grooming company Harry’s. They created a simple and interactive quiz. Readers are asked to answer three simple questions by clicking on their preferred option. There are no wrong answers, and the quiz matches them to the most appropriate scent. That use of micro-interactions creates a remarkable way to engage the readers, and likely boost sales and customer experience at the same time.

Image source

Looking forward

Email design evolves as new trends emerge. In 2022, it’s also vital to think about how your audience interacts with the content of your emails – what devices they use, how they scroll, and what elements they click. If you provide an engaging design, they are more likely to pick your brand’s emails more often than the many other emails from content marketers in their inbox.

Check out this infographic from Email Uplers that dives deeper and lists all the design trends that will dominate in 2022.                     6 Email Design Trends for 2022

Source: 6 Email Design Trends for 2022

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute