Emails don’t fail to surprise us with the potential they hold to engage and convert prospects even today. With the commencing of the New Year, new and innovative email design trends are set to revolutionize the world of email.

Talking about trends, as per the ‘business dictionary’ they are defined as, “A pattern of gradual change in a condition, output, or process, or an average or general tendency of a series of data points to move in a certain direction over time, represented by a line or curve on a graph.” Today, emails are relentlessly moving towards that journey.

Throwback Trends from 2016Email Design Trends from 2016

The journey of email trends takes the Monks back to the email design trends of 2016 that made an impact, and with those in mind let’s understand what the scope for emails is, in 2017:

  • Light-weight GIF has dominated the emails sent in 2016. These GIFs aren’t very heavy in file size like a video but still have the power to make an impact with gradual animation.
  • Flat Design in Emails inspires to maintain a continuity to the recent UI that has been observed in both Android and iOS platforms.
  • Minimalistic Email Design has been adopted in brand logos, websites and also email designs. It includes reduced elements combined with minimal text to add relevant context in emails.
  • Unconventional Email Template Design is all about creating email template designs that surprise and delight subscribers. These are rare but STAND OUT.
  • Email Master Templates are great when it comes to easing the process of designing, and coding similar looking email templates to fasten the process. It aids in giving your brand a consistency which in-turn enables subscribers to connect well with your brand.

Major Updates that Rocked the Email Industry in 2016

With emails taking a new step, let’s take a broader look at the two major changes that took place in 2016. These changed the outlook of email designing, creating a stir in the industry.

1. The Announcement of Media Query in Gmail

With Gmail giving a green signal to supporting responsive emails, for developers, it meant the end of creating spongy layout wherein inclusion of certain elements and animations would be sacrificed. Media query also helps designers to focus on creating exceptional and interactive emails for either desktop or mobile view.

Another change that was experienced was that coders now don’t have to force the desktop view in Gmail for mobile users since Gmail no longer bumps up the font. The individual layouts of mobile and desktop can be viewed without hampering the design layout of the email.

2. Improved Apple Updates

Apple is one of the top leading hardware and software companies today. And with the introduction of iOS 10 and its new features, the emails designed for Apple devices have taken a step forward.

Video in emails is back! Though embedding videos in emails happened way back in 2009, it took a back seat with the older version iOS 9 that dropped the support for playing any embedded videos.

Another major leap by Apple is their unsubscribe tab that’s right at the top for subscription-based emails. Initially, it was debated as to why give a chance to the subscribers to unsubscribe even before they scroll down and see your email. But, this year you will see some phenomenal content in the pre-header text and subject line written to grab eyeballs and in turn reduce the threat of unsubscription.


Glimpses of the FutureEmail Design Trends in 2017

This year’s email forecast looks great for email designing. With new features and trends catching up at an immense pace, it’s all about engaging and giving an absolutely thrilling customer experience via your emails.

Emails shall increase user interactivity by incorporating elements such as:

  • Keyframe Animation
  • Cinemagraph
  • Live Backgrounds
  • Search in Email
  • Interactive Elements
  • Dynamic Content

Each of the above-mentioned elements gives you a glimpse of the future of email designing in a new light. Here’s a look at the details of each element:

Keyframe Animation (CSS3)

This is a great step forward in terms of animation within an email. Animations created using keyframe are smoother and the frame change is less obvious. This is currently supported in Gmail, Android and Apple devices and can sum up to be really attractive.


This is a great way to keep the recipients engaged. With the effect of Cinemagraph GIF in emails, the subscribers are welcomed by a seamlessly looped video that creates a cinematic effect. In such a way, the email will become more interactive and engaging.

Netflix House of CardsCinemagraph in emails

Live Backgrounds

A great concept. With backgrounds changing as per the time set or with looped videos, emails can really be engaging. But it comes with its challenges, and the user experience is the utmost concern in case the layout or video is broken.

Search in Email

Recipients can now search directly from their inbox. Search in email converts the entire process of opening a mail in your inbox, then going to the web page of the brand, and then searching for what you want, into a two-step process. This will help increase your email ROI and click-through rates.

Boost in Interactive Elements

The frequency of use of interactive elements such as Accordions, Menus, Countdown timers integrated forms, sticky CTA in your emails will rise.

Increased Dynamic Content

Make sure your content is dynamic and customized as per preferences such as location, age, sex, purchase history, user engagement, device info, etc. This can also help in catering to a larger audience and it won’t be an issue with your ESP as well.


Nordstorm ExampleEmail Design Trends 2017

Looking to the Future...

As change is the only constant, in the email marketing world changing and evolving with time is what matters. Interactive emails are catching pace and in 2017, emails will surely see a lot more change and even give a grander experience.

What is your favorite email marketing tactic or which one will you experiment with during 2017? Share your thoughts below.

Author Photo
Kevin GeorgeKevin is the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks, 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. Check out Kevin's email tutorials and articles at his Email Marketing Blog.
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