How to Design an Effective Email

Email design trends for 2021 reflect the new and unexpected challenges that B2B businesses and marketers faced during 2020—budget cuts, rapid change, and less in-person meetings. In a 2020 survey of CMOs by Gartner, 44% reported facing midyear budget cuts due to the effects of the pandemic.

Despite all this change email marketing has proven to be a tried-and-true tool to reach customers and increase B2B sales. Email engagement is at an all-time high according to email marketing platform, Mailchimp’s recent email marketing report.

With the loss of in-person events and face-to-face contact, more B2B marketers are turning to email to generate leads. In this post, I share 4 email design trends to practice for the year ahead to successfully generate and nurture leads while also retaining your existing clients.


B2B customers have come to demand and expect relevant and personalized content. According to online email testing software Litmus, personalized emails get 122% more return.

Below are a few easy ways to personalize your emails:

  • Provide a “from name”

People are much more likely to open and engage with an email when they feel it is from an individual they know and trust rather than a corporation or company. Make sure to include a designated name on send, example: John Doe from Vandelay Industries. This helps to humanize your brand and message.

  • Gather data to tailor content and imagery

Using data helps sell solutions that solve a particular problem for a specific segment of your audience. Make sure you’re segmenting your audience and tailoring the content and imagery in your emails to match each audiences’ pain points.

Big Bold Type

Good visual hierarchy helps customers read through content faster and easier. Big, bold type is a trend for 2021 because it creates impact and engages audiences quickly. Less is more when dealing with text; it’s got to be attention-grabbing, yet not over the top; enticing but not overwhelming.

Bop Design Newsletter with Big, Bold Type

Soothing Color Palettes

Pantone’s Color of the Year… is not one but two colors, Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating. This medium tone gray and vibrant yellow are a reflection on the year we have all survived.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says,

“The selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness, conveying the idea that it’s not about one color or one person, it’s about more than one. The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating, expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”

In short, bright color accents, juxtaposed with neutral/calming colors, will be used a lot in the coming months—helping us all bounce back and get back to business.

Pantone Colors for 2021


Animated GIFs will continue to engage and excite customers. You want something to dazzle your viewers, but by using reasonable file size. So instead of fully animated effects in newsletters, the email design trend of 2021 is to overlap animations with other, static images.

Animations for Emails

B2B marketers should shift how they view email marketing as not just a selling tool, but also as a relationship-building tool for 2021.