How Color Choices in Your Email Impact Engagement and Conversions

There are—quite literally—millions of colors that the human eye can perceive. That means there are innumerable color palettes people can use to communicate their feelings or desires.

Color psychology can be an effective strategy for email marketing, but with all of the possible color options and the multitude of human emotions, it can be challenging to figure out where to start.

You might be wondering how color choices in your email impact engagement and conversions. Colors can influence behavior, so it’s worth understanding how that works.

Before you craft your next email campaign, review this guide to making the right color choices in your marketing efforts.

How is color associated with feelings and decision-making?

Color psychology is a fascinating study that looks at how color influences the way people feel and act. Colors often appear differently from person to person, but each color is associated with a different set of emotions or perceptions.

In the United States, colors can be a powerful tool for driving behavior. Common color psychology associations include:

  • Black: a color associated with luxury and impulse, black conveys a sense of power and status.
  • Blue: often used by financial institutions and businesses, blue exudes a sense of trust and security.
  • Green: the easiest color for your eyes to process, green is associated with wealth and relaxation.
  • Orange: an appeal to aggressive impulses, orange is the color for your CTAs.
  • Pink: marketed toward traditional shoppers, pink marks romance and femininity.
  • Purple: sometimes associated with royalty, purple is both calming and soothing.
  • Red: projecting energy and a sense of urgency, red increases the heart rate.
  • Yellow: conveying optimism and youthfulness, yellow is the color to grab attention.

This is an important consideration for email design—it’s also something to consider for your logo, other marketing copy, products, and website.

How color choices in your email impact engagement and conversions

Beyond basic color psychology, color and email design are critical to driving engagement and conversions. They have the potential to sway customer emotions and encourage them to purchase your products or services.

Color can measurably influence your conversion rates through:

  • Brand awareness: your brand is critical to your business, which means your logo is too. Using the right colors in your logo and marketing copy can inspire consumer confidence, and it leads to an 80% increase in brand recognition. In some cases, brands even trademark unique colors.
  • Product marketing: the color of the products you sell and your marketing copy are as important as your logo. Product color is the primary reason that 85% of shoppers purchase specific products, while visual appearance, in general, is the most important factor in their decisions.
  • Click rates: a popular A/B test from a few years ago measured how the color of a button impacts the click rates in an email. The test looked at the green and red CTA buttons that lead to the same landing page. The green button had 21% more clicks than the red button.

With such a significant impact on buyer decisions, color psychology plays a crucial role in influencing your customers. It permeates every aspect of your business’s marketing efforts.

Examples of how color choices in your email impact engagement and conversions

Between the significance of color choices and the impact of color on emotions, you’re probably wondering how to approach email design. Review these examples of how color choices in your email impact engagement and conversions.

1. Casper: building trust and security in blue

Blue, which is a cool color that creates a sense of security, is one of the most common colors used by big brands and email marketers. However, it can also lead to feelings of sadness, so you need to be careful about how you use it. Check out this example from Casper, a mattress company whose brand uses the color blue—a nod to nighttime—in all of their email campaigns and marketing copy:

Blue is an excellent choice for brands that want to solidify their customer’s trust.

Source: Really Good Emails

Takeaway: blue, which is the color of choice for big names like Ford, Samsung, Chase Bank, and Facebook, is a popular choice for brands with a global customer base. Use it in emails when you want to build trust in your organization.

2. REI: summiting mountains in earthy tones

Not every brand is so easily recognizable by color, but they might use it wisely in their email campaigns. REI is a popular outdoor gear company that sends out marketing campaigns highlighting new products, upcoming events, and outdoor news. Since they use a lot of images that feature majestic landscapes and gear in bold colors, they stick with a neutral background and palette to keep the email clean.

Neutral colors help keep an email clean when it features multiple colorful graphics.

Source: Really Good Emails

Takeaway: while neutral colors like brown aren’t exactly exciting and don’t call up any strong feelings, they are appropriate when you’re incorporating graphics that might clash with vibrant hues. Use your email content as a guide to choose the best palette.

3. Taco Bell: big brand recognition in purple

Though purple is one of the least-liked colors by men, that doesn’t mean it’s off-limits when you want to appeal to a wide audience. If you’re one of the few in your industry using a specific color, as is the case with Taco Bell and the fast food industry, it can help bolster your brand recognition. Take this example from what’s arguably one of the most popular fast-food chains in the United States:

Purple is a bold choice for brands that want to be easily recognized.

Source: Really Good Emails

Takeaway: while things like biology, gender, and our attachment to objects of a certain color can impact our feelings, culture, experience, and context can all influence how you perceive color. It’s okay to break the mold and get creative with your color palettes when it makes sense.

4. Barnes & Noble: easy relaxation in green

To some people, green can inspire images and feelings associated with the outdoors, but, to others, the color is relaxing. Capitalizing on the relaxation element, Barnes & Noble uses its signature green color in all of their email and marketing copy. Since many people feel that reading is relaxing, the use of green is particularly compelling in this email example:

Green conveys a sense of relaxation, as well as feelings of being in nature.

Source: Really Good Emails

Takeaway: the correct application of color will vary from business to business, industry to industry, audience to audience. Find ways to match your color palette with your brand’s purpose, as Barnes & Noble did by using green to inspire relaxation among readers.

Best practices for using color in your email marketing campaigns

If you’re new to using color psychology, you might be unsure of where you should start. Color can be intimidating to some people, and, if used incorrectly, it can be jarring and unappealing to your audience.

Before you create your next email campaign, review these best practices for using color in your marketing emails:

  • Understand your audience: Culture, texture, and context all impact how your audience perceives color. While purple represents royalty in many countries, it can represent death in Italy, for example. Gender is another area where color can make a difference. Purple is a common favorite color among women but is one of the least-liked colors by men.
  • Narrow your palette: Depending on factors like your logo and other images, you may want to use more than one color. This can be a great way to grab your reader’s attention, but it can also be overwhelming. A common approach is to use the 60:30:10 rule, where 60% of your palette is a single color, usually neutral, 30% is a complementary color and 10% is an accent color.
  • Test your email campaigns: Even the best email marketers need to see how their email campaigns perform. You can use A/B testing to determine which colors generate the most clicks and which lead to the most conversions. If you segment your lists, you might find different click and conversion rates for different lists. This is a critical step in determining your future email strategy.

These color psychology best practices will help guide you through the process of creating your next email campaign.

Wrap up

Using color to influence your customers’ behaviors can be challenging. There are thousands of shades, hues, and tones, and there are dozens of factors that impact how your audience perceives color. Fortunately, you can use these key takeaways to enhance your color psychology strategy:

  • Determine the tone and voice of your email campaign before you narrow down a palette.
  • Use color to solidify brand awareness and complement the other graphics you use.
  • Explore using blocks of color, vibrant CTAs, and bold buttons in your email campaigns.

Even if you prefer to send simple, black-and-white emails, you can add pops of color to help boost site traffic and improve your conversion rates.

Want a tool that can help you measure the results of your email campaigns? Campaign Monitor has powerful tools you can use to A/B test your email color choices.

The post How Color Choices in Your Email Impact Engagement and Conversions appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

How to Use the Newest Graphic Design Trends in Your Email Marketing

This is a guest post from Ryan McCready at Venngage.

Keeping up with the latest graphic design trends in your email marketing can be exhausting, especially if you aren’t a designer and have other tasks that take priority.

But keeping up with new design trends is the easiest way to signal to your audience that you’re a modern, innovative, forward-thinking company. That’s why so many tech companies have great design—users expect to see a level of newness within their product.

And, while you want to keep your brand looking fresh and hip, it’s hard to tell which trends you should follow and which trends are best left on the Pinterest boards (that’s why Venngage pulled together the top 8 graphic design trends of 2020).

Read on to discover easy-to-manage, actionable ways to incorporate the newest graphic design trends in your email marketing and branding (even if you aren’t a designer).

Want some quick ways to update your look? Our design trends can help

With email being such a direct-to-consumer, instantaneous marketing method, your email design can be a great way to show your audience just how modern and innovative you are.

Plus, if a design trend doesn’t resonate with your email audience, you can easily change it in your ESP.

1. Muted color palettes

Muted color palettes are the first trend on our list for 2020, and is also the easiest trend to incorporate into your existing branding.

If your emails are word heavy with very few graphics, this trend might not be for you. But, if you use graphics and photography to help bring your newsletters to life, you can definitely get on board.

Muted colors refer to colors that aren’t vibrant. You can easily create a palette of muted colors to work with by taking your existing brand color palette and adding elements of black or white to create more toned-down shades.

Muted color palettes are one of the newest Graphic Design Trends in Your Email Marketing


Creating a secondary palette from your main brand colors is doubly beneficial. Along with automatically updating your look to be completely on-trend, it’s not too dissimilar to the brand your audience already knows and loves.

A complete rebrand can be a polarizing experience for consumers, so, wherever possible, you should focus on small, continuous improvements rather than a complete design overhaul.

Goodfood email example


2. Color gradients

Much like trend number one on our list, color gradients are a great way to refresh your emails without changing too much. In fact, you may have already seen this graphic design trend in your inbox.

Gradients have been back for a while, but, in 2020, expect to see much more muted, toned-down gradients (sensing a theme yet?). Instead of an all-out background gradient, you’ll start to see them used to enhance elements of designs.

Flume email example

Original link: email gallery

With this trend, less is more, so focus on updating one small element of your email with a gradient. You could update your header with a subtle gradient, or use a gradient inside of block text.

If using the gradient trend, try to keep it as simple as possible. Try to use subtle gradients in small areas, rather than automatically using a bright gradient as a color overlay.

3. Abstract and dreamy illustrations

Now, you need to be a certain sort of company to pull off trend number three, but, if you can manage it, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors.

The phrase “abstract and dreamy illustrations” can scare people off, but if you’re already using a hand-drawn or illustrated style in your branding, this is the trend for you. Plus, it’s one of our favorite graphic design trends to use in email marketing.

By “abstract and dreamy,” we mean un-lifelike drawings. Think strange colors, exaggerated proportions, and absurd situations.

Casper mattress illustration examples


Easily update your email newsletters by replacing stock photography with one of these abstract illustrations, or consider changing up your existing bank of illustrations to be weirder.

The other bonus of creating custom illustrations, alongside them looking great, is they add a special element to your marketing. Anybody can pay for a stock image, but not everybody will go out of their way to commission illustrations unique to their business.

Creating a custom illustration for customers who’ve just completed a sale, or customers who’ve joined your loyalty program can help make people feel special, and like you’re a company who cares about them as a person, rather than just a number.

Illustrations have been popular amongst SaaS companies for a while, but, in 2020, they’ll fully enter the mainstream. Expect to see big-name brands, such as Apple, jump on the trend and use stranger and stranger illustrations.

The one thing to remember with this trend is that you need to make sure the meaning of your illustration is crystal clear.

4. Heavy but simple fonts

One of our other favorite graphic design trends to use in your email marketing? Heavy (but simple) fonts.

In 2020, heavy, simple fonts will be everywhere. With the rest of the design world getting more muted, it’ll be time for the bold fonts to shine.

By “heavy,” we mean fonts that are bold or extra bold, things that don’t look delicate or hand-drawn, which was the trend last year. These heavier fonts create a great contrast with graphics and other text and work particularly well as headers.

This is a great trend to jump on, as it’s so easy to implement. The Drake Hotel does a great job of using heavy fonts in their email newsletters.

The Drake November newsletter


Try this trend out by picking a heavy or bold weight to your font and applying it to header text. Increase the size of your header text and even the color, for a really modern look.

5. Beautiful flowing shapes and lines

Beautiful flowing shapes and lines might seem like an odd choice for a top trend, but, when you start to think about it, it makes perfect sense. Alongside more muted color palettes and softer gradients, the shapes used will become softer too.

Like the abstract illustration trend, this one isn’t for every company. But, if you already use geometric shapes or find yourself with too much white space, flowing lines could be the answer here.

Ellevest uses flowing shapes and lines, one of the Graphic Design Trends in Your Email Marketing you can use


I searched through my entire email inbox, as well as the Campaign Monitor email gallery, but couldn’t find any companies using flowing shapes to their full potential yet, so jump on this chance to be the first.

Using these flowing blobs as backgrounds for sections in your newsletter, or separating blocks of text with a wiggly line rather than a straight one, has a lot of potential to instantly upgrade your emails to something on brand and modern.

6. Genuine and neutral stock photos

In case you haven’t noticed a pattern yet, we’re toning things down in 2020, and your stock photos are no exception.

In previous years, stock photography has tended to lean towards the bright, bold, and colorful end of the spectrum. But say goodbye to oversaturated colors and unrealistic-looking compositions.

Changing up the stock photography you use is such a quick and easy way to modernize your emails. When choosing stock photography look for images that seem unposed, think about the sort of content your absolute coolest friend posts on Instagram.

These are stock photos, one of the graphic design trends people use in 2020 email marketing


If you don’t use stock photos but do include product shots, you can get involved in this trend too. Arrange products on interesting backgrounds, in natural settings, within a muted color palette for maximum impact.

This image has a muted color palette, one of our graphic design trends to use in email marketing 2020


The key to nailing this trend is by embracing authenticity, but changing up the style of photography you use in your newsletters is one of the best design tips you can use in your newsletters.

7. Minimalism

Minimalism is a great design trend for email marketers because it’s simple but effective. Being generous with your use of white space won’t be a new concept for many people, but, in 2020, it’s time to take the trend to the next level.

Minimalist email example - This is one of the graphic design trends in your email marketing for 2020


In this example from fashion brand, Monki, the images are well spaced out, with plenty of breathing room between the pictures.

The CTA button is also in white, but with a simple black border, adding to the calm look. And, finally, the product shots: all the same color scheme, all shot on a white background.

It’s not a boring email at all, but it is a minimalist one.

Try this out with your own campaigns by picking one feature color to sit alongside a plain white background, and don’t be afraid to create extra space in between your text and images.

And don’t stop there; continue the minimalism through to your landing pages to create a cohesive experience for your audience.

8. Better branded animations

You’ve probably seen animations pop up in emails in the form of GIFs. Reaction GIFs are so ingrained in our visual communication that nobody bats an eye when they become part of your marketing.

But how can you stay ahead of the game when everybody’s using the same imagery? Simple: you create your own animations.

By creating your own GIFs, you can produce animations that are highly relevant to your campaign and completely unique to your company.

Asos promotional email example

It doesn’t have to be a complex animation either. In the example above, ASOS has subtly animated the background—enough to add energy to the email, but not so much that it’s overpowering.

If you do decide to bring animation into your campaigns, make sure that the motion you choose never overpowers the rest of the message.

Wrap up

Keeping on top of trends can be an easy and effective way to update the look and feel of your emails, which is why we highly encourage using these graphic design trends in your email marketing.

Especially in crowded markets, standing out from competitors is important—and having good quality, modern, and on-trend emails can be a great way to show your audience that you’re a modern company.

It’s important to keep your brand in mind when using new graphic design trends, as not every trend outlined above will be suitable for your marketing.

Ryan McCready went to the University of Arkansas and graduated with a degree in economics and international business. Now instead of studying the economy, he writes about graphic design, marketing and more at Venngage.

The post How to Use the Newest Graphic Design Trends in Your Email Marketing appeared first on Campaign Monitor.