The Email Design Cosmos: The Best New Ideas For 2017

You can spend a great deal of time perfecting your email copy. But is your email a cluttered mess? Not if you picked up on these developments in 2016. “The year that changed the game for email design,” as MarketingProfs has put it in a new infographic. Here were the popular formats, as described by MarketingProfs:

Lightweight GIF in Email — Animated GIF’s are “not resource heavy like a video,” and they occupy only slightly more file space than a JPEG, MarketingProfs reports. What’s more, they’re popular.

Flat Design — This simple format allows you to maintain continuity with the recent UI changes in Android and IOS. The color palette is filed with softer shades. What is it exactly? Business2Community defined it as follows: "Flat email design has its roots in minimalism; it is simplistic to the core." That doesn’t mean it has to be drab. But "it's not skeuomorphic," MarketingProfs says. "Styling elements like embossing, drop shadows, gradients, reflections, textures, beveling, etc. that provide the 3D effect and are the basis of skeuomorphism, have nothing to do with it. It focuses on bright colors and unique typography."

Minimalistic Design — People have a reduced attention span. So they have to be wowed — right away — with minimalistic email body, MarketingProfs writes. 

Unconventional Email Design — Try the unexpected, like one brand did with a big cartoon turkey at Thanksgiving.

So much for 2016. Looking forward to this year, MarketingProfs reports these changes on Google: 

No More Spongy Layout: Gmail doesn’t support media query, which has "forced developers to code emails without using media query, which is called Spongy Layout," MarketingProfs writes. " That means sacrificing certain elements and animations to maintain compatibility."

No More Forcing Desktop in Gmail: Gmail used to ruin the view in mobile by forcing the desktop layout and bumping the font, MarketingProfs writes. But no more. Gmail  “automatically bumped the font of an email when opened in a mobile device, which tended to ruin the desired layout. So via coding, the desktop layout was forced." That has chang

Now here are a couple of shiftsi in Apple (courtesy of MarketingProfs):

The Unsubscribe Ribbon — Apple now features an unsubscribe ribbon at the top. How do you keep subscribers from clicking it? First, by providing superior content and offers. Second, by dispensing information "in a flow that guides the subscriber’s eye path away from the unsubscribe ribbon."

IOS Replaying Video — Did you complain when IOS 9 stopped supporting the playing of embedded videos in  emails? Well, someone has gotten the message: IOS 10 is now supporting embedded playback in videos.

That’s one view of the year we’re in. Here’s another, from What Counts. If offers six 2017 design trends:  

Social Integration — This entails putting strong Calls to Action, like “Follow Us in Twitter,” in every message. 

Getting Smart — That means designing your emails so that they work on smartphones. Fail to do this, and “you’re already way behind,” What Counts warns.

That Hyper-personalization Thing — Take what you know about your customers, from their name, location and date of birth to the kind of sweaters they like, and send them tailored email messages.

Reinventing the Subject Line — Not that these bromides sound new, but What Counts states that subject lines should be specific, short and personalized.

Less Is More When It Comes to Copy—The sweet spot for emails is 50 to 125 words. But take it from us: You have to work at writing short, compelling messages. And remember: And use your customer data when writing copy.

Get Interactive—This is easily achieved with these devices:

  1. Rollover Content — As What Counts puts it, something happens when the subscriber rolls over an image.Sliders and Rotating
  2. Banners — This happens when the reader mouses over a CTA and a new image appears. As the name implies, rotating banners automatically rotate.
  3. Accordion Menus — These offer drop-down menus when the customer clicks on a CTA. 

So much for 2017. Not quite there yet? Well, here are some eternal design verities from MailChimp (a selective sample of a larger offering):

Label itv — Make sure your logo is at the very top.

Pick a Palette — Keep it clean, use one or two colors. They should be the same ones your brand uses elsewhere.

Separate Your Header and Hooter — Distinguish them from the body content by using background colors.

Organize for Quick reading — Keep your copy short and sweet, and prioritize it.    

Make Room — White space works in print, so why shouldn’t work in email? Use it to create breathing room, MailChimp advises.

Align Your Content — Centering works with minimal content — like a photo and a few sentences. If there’s more, left align it. Make sure you keep it consistent across the entire email.

Okay, we’ve covered the past and present. And the future? Keep your eye out for keyframe animation and cinemagraph  (static + moving GIF), MarketingProfs says. Want more design ideas? Click through to the sources for an entire education on the subject. 

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