5 min.

From gradient “nostalgia” to the discreet charm of monochrome, up to the realism of 3D images, we’ve chosen the most in vogue graphic trends among marketers.

Companies consider September a new beginning, with renewed objectives and new intentions to be pursued from now until the end of the year.

While not offering huge margins for radical strategy changes, September is certainly a good opportunity to review some aspects which only appear to be superficial: email design, for example.

This is exactly what we would like to discuss today, suggesting some of the more in vogue trends of the most respected marketers. There are seven graphic trends with which you can align your email marketing campaigns.

1. CSS animation: an incentive to click

Generally, CSS animations are applied to call to action buttons and images.

The main objective is to emphasize the potential action triggered by the recipient’s click on the highlighted item. To make the concept even clearer, here’s an example of CSS animation applied to an email button and image:

All you need to set up CSS animation is a few simple operations in the HTML code of the email. Here is the code needed:

2. The minimal-animated layout

A minimal style is always effective: it offers clear, clean solutions that make an impact, despite the bare layout. Minimalism makes it possible to enhance the key elements of an email: the copy and the images of products or services.

But a recent trend has led some companies to create emails that combine conciseness with animation. The result is brilliant, as in this email from NiftyImages which uses white spaces and reduces the number of colors in the palette to a minimum while leaving room for movement and dynamism in the illustrations.

3. Accessibility

Accessibility means designing emails that guarantee all recipients – including recipients with disabilities (for example, blindness) or recipients who use assistive technologies (such as screen readers) – the full use of message content.

Designers and marketers are becoming increasingly aware of the issue of accessibility, so much so that they want to transform techniques and best practices in email marketing as well.

Here are a few requirements for ensuring good accessibility to emails:

  • Pay attention to the color contrast. A great tool for testing email contrast is WebAIM 
  • Keep the characters legible. Never go below 14px for normal characters and 16px for lighter ones
  • Always underline links  
  • Avoid light text colors, because they are more difficult to detect, especially on a light background
  • Align the text on the left, as it is more readable than when centered
  • Keep a logical structure, using a hierarchical modular layout that organizes the main header, the descriptions, the subsections, and the body copy, closing with the footer
  • Don’t forget the alt text, which must be descriptive and explain the image
  • Always include captions in videos.

4. The “tactile realism” of 3D images

3D has been in vogue in the world of graphic design for several years now, and it’s not surprising that it has also reached email design.

The potential of 3D images lies in their realism, in giving email a greater degree of depth, having a stronger impact on the recipient who senses something “graspable”. Here is a great example:

With tools like Adobe Dimension CC, email designers have the opportunity to experiment with 3D images and enrich the visual potential of their emails exponentially.

5. Gradient energy

Gradients seem to be seriously back in style. Some people love them and some people hate them. With their bright, slightly fading tones, gradients are captivating and energetic.

An interesting fact: according to some people, the origins of the gradient should be traced back to the psychedelia of the 60s. Making it come back in style would indeed be indeed that dominant feeling of our times: nostalgia.

6. The realistic illustration-image combo

Illustrations are also quite in vogue at the moment: they are elements that capture attention, urging the observer to linger, as if standing in front of a work of art. Here is a modern and captivating example that stands out in an overall minimal email.

Another emerging trend accompanies the illustrations with realistic, photographic images. This combination has great potential: here is an example of a newsletter that combines a pastel illustration in the header with photographic images of the product.

7. The discreet charm of monochrome

There are people who experiment with color and matching and there are people who, in contrast, prefer a single color: monochrome is destined to make a bigger and bigger comeback, also in email marketing and web design.

The most popular choice today is within the black and white scale. This color (or rather, non-color) palette creates surprising contrasts and manages to make the best elements and key content of an email stand out.

Summing up

Email design is always seeking a compromise between personal experimentation of each brand and the ability to take advantage of the most popular current trends.   

Our advice is to stay up-to-date always on email design trends with the dedicated section of MailUp Blog: it has examples from real companies, best practices, and real practical guides for email design.

Without forgetting that with the BEE editor, you have the most advanced email creation tool available on the market. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can request a free trial of the MailUp platform in which BEE is integrated and all its features are accessible.

Try MailUp'


(1) CSS animations:a web motion design tool that makes CSS3 available. CSS animations let you gradually change the style of an element of a webpage or an email. For each style change, you must specify a keyframe, which determines the type of style to apply to the element at a specific moment in time: in practice, it represents the “code” for executing the animation.Torna su

(2) Accessibility:according to the National Federation of the Blind, in the United States approximately 1.3 million people are blind, and every year 75,000 people become blind or visually impaired and continue to rely on their mobile devices.Torna su

(3) Gradients:their fundamental characteristic is to fill a space with progressive gradations of two saturated colors. A perfect example is the Instagram logo, which goes from midnight blue to an intense yellow. The brand identities of all the main hubs of the tech world, from Airbnb to Spotify, have used gradients at some point in their past.Torna su

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