Emails don't have to look stark, canned, stale and boring. There are more design options available than ever before, ready to spice up your next campaign.
1. Try a background color other than white. White is clean, classic and yields an email that's easily read, but utterly forgettable. The trend is to use a pastel background color, which still provides high enough contrast for black text.
2. Gradient backgrounds. They have been banished for the past several years of flat design, but can be lively and effective, as long the text is easy to read.
3. Use a full-width image to add visual interest. Particularly if is composed for some copy space for a head, subhead and perhaps a button.
4. Use animated gifs. If done tastefully, they can add some visual interest and zest to your campaign. They can even be fun and whimsical if that's a good fit for your brand.
5. Have fun with fonts. A classic contrast is to use a large serif (slab or chiseled) with a sans-serif body copy font. Mailchimp, for example offers 10 custom web fonts, in addition to the standard web fonts.
6. Emojis. I know, groan. But they do get you noticed and are worth a try in headline A/B testing if you can find ones that fit your brand. Emojis are also being used within the email. Consider designing your own icons that fit your brand for added harmony.
7. Pulsing buttons. Again, a little goes a long way. These can be animated gifs with just a subtle moving shadow or they can enlarge and shrink slightly or shift colors.
8. Don't forget to include a brief quote. A testimonial or a worthwhile quote will help to break up the design and is a good place to add a bold color.
9. Minimalism is still in vogue. It's always good to start with the essentials and add some visual interest as needed. One or two beautiful images can go a long way, along with clean and easy to follow typography.
10. Remember the key principles: CTA's that pop, keep the essential content near the top, and keep your copy clear and on-point.