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10 Email Design Trends That Will Rock This Holiday Season

It’s that time of the year again!

But it’s not like any year you’ve seen before. Holiday season 2020-21 is set to be an online fest with people not planning to venture out anytime sooner. Despite the decline of the economy, Deloitte’s annual holiday forecast expects e-commerce sales to shoot up by 25% to 35% (year-over-year) as compared to only 14.7% in 2019. Businesses are gearing up to woo customers who are spending more time online than ever before. It is a new challenge for email marketing as well as other marketing campaigns

The Holiday Marketing Dilemma: Going Unnoticed Vs Spamming

In a diverse world with 3.9 billion daily email users, there is no leaving the good old emailer behind even with the social media circus taking over. And when you consider that 59% of shoppers say that emails influence their purchase decisions, it essentially means that probably more than 2 billion people make purchase decisions based on emails!

The market is large, and so is the opportunity. And naturally, this extends to this holiday season. But how many emails are too much? In a recent survey, 35% of marketers revealed that they sent 3-5 emails to their customers every week. Although it may seem like an overkill for regular email campaigns, it definitely works during the holiday season where marketers are often time and attention-strapped in a sea of competition.

So let’s say you have found the sweet spot of email frequency in the holiday month. What is the next important step? Maintaining the quality of your emails, especially when the ROI can be at least 40X.

email ROI graphs

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Key to Creating Engaging Emails: Industry Trends and Constant Innovation!

73% of millennials prefer businesses to communicate with them via email. Hence, it is now all the more important for marketers to stay on-trends and constantly innovate, or risk losing a generation with attention spans below 10 seconds. Remember that the average email recipient would give an email only a 1.1 seconds skim-through before deciding whether they actually want to read and check it out or not. This makes design the very first point of interest for any email and design trends your key focus!

If you haven’t focussed enough on trends until now, here’s your starter pack for Holiday Season 2020-21.

Top 10 Email Design Trends for Holiday Season 2020-21

1. Dark mode

The design world has been buzzing with ‘dark mode’ for the past couple of years, especially with most social platforms introducing one. It is a reversed color scheme with light-colored typography, iconography, and UI on a dark email template background. It works for emails because:

  1. It’s kinder to the eyes, especially in low light.
  2. It makes content more legible and easy to consume on both desktop and mobile.
  3. Users are increasingly seeking dark mode as a breath of fresh air. 
  4. It gives your content a slightly more premium look. Notice how this emailer has used dark mode to illustrate premiumness.
dark mode email template

Email Uplers can help you create flawless dark mode emails like the one in the above example.

2. Asymmetrical

Symmetry and a sense of balance might be the right choice for serious brands and formal tones, such as banks, car brands, etc. A sense of balance conveys trust. But disruption and dynamism can be brought out beautifully with asymmetry or unbalanced elements on the left and right. Asymmetry communicates motion and energy (cue Nike logo), grabs attention, and can be quirky too; a perfect choice for holiday emails, isn’t it?! Here are a few ways to make sure your asymmetrical email design grabs those eyeballs and makes readers go through the entire content.

  1. Contrast: Keep the highlight of the page in focus by contrasting it with the rest of the content.
  2. White space: It can be used to isolate one element from another.
  3. Movement: Use elements that make the eyes move with your design. This especially works for sports, athleisure, and fashion brands.
  4. Human faces: We tend to follow the eyes of a person on the screen. Using an attractive face in an asymmetrical design gives it a better sense of balance and liveliness.
human face in template

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3. Negative Space

Space is the medium that holds a design together. Intentionally leaving an unusual amount of space blank in order to divert attention to the prime element is not a new technique, but it will never go out of style. It improves focus, is easy on the eyes, adds elegance to your email, and gives space for both the design and the viewer to hold on and reflect.

negative space email template

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4. Gradients

Gradients or colour transitions are a design trend that has risen from the dead. How do you make gradients work in your holiday emaile’s favor?

  1. Choose the right colors. Keep color psychology in mind when you choose them. Bolder colors are for aggressive marketing, softer hues are for messages that want to find readers calm, etc. 
  2. Don’t go overboard with them. Too much color is seldom a good idea, so find a way to do it subtly. 
  3. Know your audiences. Blacks, whites, and greys might not be great for a jewellery brand but could work just fine for businesspersons. 
  4. Experiment. Play with your brand colors and make them more illustrious with gradients.
gradients email template

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5. Neumorphism:

Defined by some as a blend of minimalism and old-school Skeumorphism, Neumorphism is one of the classiest new design trends. Skeumorphism is a graphical user interface (GUI) term used to describe design elements that look close to the actual ones (the recycle bin icon, for example). Neumorphic elements take it a notch higher by making elements look like they are not a part of the background and have been mounted upon it. The key to get this email design right is:

  1. Keeping it minimal 
  2. Choosing colors as per shadows
  3. Experimenting with shadows, they are the essence of this style
  4. Using a good variety of shapes (throw in festive elements and symbols for Christmas)
neumorphism email template

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6. Pastels

Pastels have always been the darling of certain brand categories, such as fashion and food. But they don’t always have to be baby pinks and clear sky blues. You can create bold, contrasting, typographic, and numerous other elements with pastels. Use your brand colors but add a hint of pastel to see how they can refresh your next email template design.

pastels template

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7. Liquid/ Fluidic design

It is a known fact that most of us check our messages, updates, and mails on our mobile phones when we wake up. There are also statistics suggesting that emails not optimised for mobile viewing could get deleted in 3 seconds. It becomes imperative to have a liquid/fluidic design, or a design that can ‘flow’ and adapt to different screen sizes. Percentage-based sizing allows fluidic email designs to look at home on mobile.

fluidic/liquid design template

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8. Monochrome

Monochrome doesn’t always have to be black & white and boring. You can pick any color and make an attractive monochrome email design with it. Take the example below, for one.

monochrome email design

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9. Phantasmagoric collage

They’re quirky, they’re intense, and they’re here to stay. Graphic designers can’t afford to run out of newer ways of playing with images. This time, they decided to take bits and pieces from different images and put them on one canvas. This design style might seem outrageous if overdone, so make sure to restrict it to one area of your holiday email, while letting the copy and other elements also breathe. The good news about the holidays is that a little bit of overdoing won’t hurt, since extravagance is the flavor of the season.

graphics template

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10. Interactivity

In an age where everything from our kitchen appliances to our cars is interacting with us, you can’t blame customers for taking more of a liking towards emails with more than the regular CTA button. With the holiday season explosion of email offers, the more interactive your design is, the more memorable it will be. Expand your horizons and add some more interaction to your design with elements such as the following:

  1. GIFs and animations 
  2. Surveys and polls 
  3. Trigger animations 
  4. Pop-up images and videos 
  5. Gamification 
Halloween email template

Conclusion

It’s not necessary for you to try each of these trends, nor is there a single perfect trend for a category or product. The only thing that will decide what works for you is your individual brand and its personality beyond visuals. Lastly, plan much ahead of the holidays to get those perfect festive designs in place. After all, it’s the marketing jackpot and you don’t want it to be less than perfect.

Looking for a simpler option? At Email Uplers, we provide you with an established ecosystem to help you curate engaging email campaigns including such interactive elements.

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Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices.

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