From announcing sale discount to inducing sheer delight, animated GIFs have constantly been used in emails sent in the year 2016. GIF is a love child of a video and a static image, such that it contains multiple animating frames. Thankfully it is not resource heavy like a video and occupies slightly more file space than a static JPEG image.
The emails from Anthropologie and NEST feature an animated hero image which immediately grabs attention.
Flat design in email was inspired to maintain continuity to the recent UI changes observed in both Android and iOS. The color palette is full of softer shades of colors paired with white background to provide an overall
clean look, besides facilitating eye scan pattern while reading the emails.
In the past year, to maintain a design consistency with their fitness app, Fitbit has adopted flat design in their emails.
Email credits: ReallyGoodEmails.com
Micro-blogging sites and SMS have made people accustomed to absorb more information with less amount of content. This gave rise to a new trend of minimalistic design. With reduced attention span observed while reading emails, subscribers need to be wowed as soon as the email is opened.
J. Crew’s emails feature a single image that builds the suspense and conveys the message with minimalistic email body.
Email credits: ReallyGoodEmails.com
Anything that is not expected always brings delight. Some brands go the extra mile to create unconventional email template
designs that surprises and delights
Clothing retailer Chubbies, adopted the iOS messaging style to portray a conversation between two marketers while subtly announcing their sale. Email credits: ReallyGoodEmails.com. Also, the Thanksgiving emailer 2016 from EmailMonks featured a coupon code within the email.
Owing to their branding guidelines, many companies have a similar looking email layout for their email series. Similarly, when you set up an email automation, it is very important to maintain a consistent design in every email to connect with your subscribers. This means that some portions of an email layout haven’t changed. This led to the creation of Master Templates with modular sections, which is a relief for the email designer as well as email developer. By replicating the common elements, the template production process becomes easier and faster.
We at Emailmonks have developed Master templates for Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp and ExactTarget. Grab yours by clicking here.
Two major announcements from 2016 created a stir in the email industry which turned out to be a turning point for how emails shall be designed from that point onwards.
On 14th September, 2016 Google announced, via their Apps developer blog, support to media query for their email clients in all devices. This was a great positive move towards responsive emails being rendered flawlessly in Gmail without developers jumping through hoops.
Gmail’s lack of support for media query forced developers to code emails without using media query, which is called Spongy Layout. This means sacrificing certain elements and animations to maintain compatibility. With the roadblock away for good, designers can just focus on certain better email layouts.
Gmail automatically bumped the font of an email when opened in mobile devices, which tend to ruin the desired layout. So via coding, the desktop layout was forced. Besides, responsive emails support, there is a separate layout for Desktop and Mobile.
An iDevice and iOS update never fails to dazzle the consumer with joy and awe. In iOS 10, two new features widely affected the email designed for Apple devices.
For an email sent to an emailing list, Apple mail automatically featured a ribbon at the top, which contained sender details along with an option to unsubscribe. This meant that email marketers need to make the email lucrative so that the subscribers interact with the email instead of immediately clicking the unsubscribe link.
From design point of view, this means in 2017 email shall feature improved pre-header text and subject lines. Once the email is opened, a layout that dispenses information in a flow that guides the subscribers’ eye path away (from the unsubscribe ribbon) shall be crucial.
People love to visualize more than reading. With different companies adopting video marketing channel, videos in email is a path forward. Embedded video in email was introduced in 2009 and was a rage amongst supporting devices. But suddenly iOS 9 dropped support for playing any embedded video in the email and gradually other email clients followed the suit. Thankfully answering the prayers of innumerable email marketers, iOS 10 again started supporting embedded video playback in emails.
As mentioned earlier, GIF manages to balance between a static image and a moving video but the animation is very choppy and abrupt. However, animating using keyframe results in animations to be smoother and frame change are less obvious. Currently supported in Apple and Android devices, it is really huge step forward in terms of animations within email. Hover effects, linear and parallel movement of different elements within emails make it really eye catching.
Taking a step forward to provide a cinematic effect to the GIF - Cinemagraph GIFs shall be used to fool the subscriber in believing they are viewing a looped video.
More and more devices introduced in the market come equipped with 2K and 4K resolutions. So the native email clients tend to render desktop layout in landscape orientation. Also, desktops with larger screens are being introduced in the market, emails no longer need to be restricted to be coded for the width of 600px.
This also eliminates the need to cram the content in ‘above the fold’ as in desktop devices. Content in desktop layout can be adjusted horizontally and the same content can be stacked vertically for displaying on mobile devices. This may mean end of the need for responsiveness when designing an email for Apple devices.
Emails with backgrounds that change with time, or a looped video playing in the background shall soon be gracing your inbox. From the overall design viewpoint, it shall be a giant leap. While it would mean zero-error, rendering shall be necessary in such cases to avoid broken layouts and in turn broken user experience.
With an increasing amount of email clients supporting CSS, interactive elements such as Accordions, Menus, Countdown timers integrated forms, sticky CTA shall be used in emails more frequently.
Imagine a scenario wherein you may be able to go through a retailer’s entire collection by inputting a search term right in the email’s embedded search bar. AirBnB has already included a search option in their emails and it is possible that many other brands shall jump into the bandwagon soon.
It is an age of personalized emails. One wrong move and you risk to lose a subscriber who shall unsubscribe. Most ESPs now offer the option to add a dynamic block for the content that shall change as per the defined customer persona. Customized content based on preferences such as location, age, sex, purchase history, user engagement, device info, etc. shall enable marketers to cater to a larger audience effortlessly.