We’ve all heard the cliched statement of “less is more.” But to be honest, it works like a charm, especially in email design.
When email communication began in the 70s, it was mostly used for transferring text-only messages to one another. For a long time, that was about as far as it went.
But then the internet became a thing, and email marketing became more popular, and soon, people could start adding images, HTML, buttons, videos - pretty much whatever they wanted!
And that's where the need for minimalist email design came from. With cluttered inboxes and shorter attention spans, email marketers must focus on the less is more principle to share only the essential information with their subscribers.
In this article, you'll learn all about minimalist email design. It's an evergreen email design trend, so you better pay attention.
What Is a Minimalist Email Design?
Minimalist email design is an aesthetic philosophy for designing emails that have a simple, easy-to-understand structure and use basic HTML elements with as few additional effects as possible.
Remember, minimalist means bare bones. It's not about stripping all the style away to be just a plain text email with a single hyperlink. There is still an opportunity to be creative!
After all, you're sending emails - who wants them to look boring? Emails are direct and personal, just like a physical letter that someone has taken the time to write out by hand. So let's make sure they look nice too.
Traditional vs. Minimalist Email Design
Traditional email design is the opposite of minimalist email design. That means it has a more decorative, artsy feel than bare-bones.
It's more focused on adding decoration and effects than staying true to the basic elements, like copy. It uses many different colors, shapes, graphics, and icons to grab the reader's attention.
If you're still not sure what minimalist email design is, think of it like this - it's like taking everything that makes an email awesome and leaving everything else out. You want your readers' eyes to go straight to the awesome stuff instead of getting lost in the unnecessary one.
There's a fine line between minimalism and boring, though. So it can be hard to know when enough is enough - but that's why I'm writing this article.
9 Tips for Creating Minimalist Email Designs Your Subscribers Will Love
Excited to create a minimalist email design? Well, you should be since almost 17% of Americans call themselves minimalists while 23% would want to become one. This means that a sizeable population prefers the no-nonsense life.
The following tips will help you design minimalist emails and improve your campaign performance like never before.
1. Create a visual hierarchy
Remember when we said that everything should be concise? Visual hierarchy lets you do exactly that. It’s a design principle that says your most important information should be the easiest to see. So, make sure you're putting the most essential text and images near the top of your email.
The following email from Nike shows exactly what we’re talking about.
2. Avoid using too many colors
Minimalist emails design is all about keeping things simple, which means avoiding lots of colors.
You should aim for 2 to 3 colors at most. The background color in email should be a neutral one, like gray, tan, black, or white. You can also add a small splash of color with other accent colors but don’t go overboard with that.
3. Use graphics sparingly
As useful as photography can portray your brand's message or convey an idea, too many graphics in emails will throw off your minimalist design. Plus, opening emails with lots of visuals can really slow down your readers' devices. The best way to get around this is by using a single image/video/GIF in your email.
Vitamix sent the below attractive minimalist email featuring a single image.
4. Make negative space your friend
In design, negative or white space is the empty space between the different elements. While some consider negative space as an afterthought, you should make it a priority when making your email design minimalistic.
You should maximize this white space to give your readers’ eyes a visual relief and provide them some time to understand the message you’ve communicated. Ample negative space also makes your email appear less cluttered and more structured.
5. Keep your text short and sweet
When designing your email, it's important to remember that most people open them on their mobile devices. It can be difficult for readers to read long chunks of text, so keep everything concise by writing your email content in short sentences, bullet lists, etc.
Also, remember minimalist email design shouldn’t just be on the surface - it should go to the depths. Your email copy must be written for one focal message, so it’s easier for your audience to understand. Your subscribers won’t convert if you get them confused by throwing them multiple messages at the same time.
The following minimalist email from The New York Times successfully delivers their promotional message in just a few words.
6. Make sure text is legible
The appearance of your text matters as much as your email’s. Remember to optimize the following for your email’s text:
Choose an email font style that is easy to read and doesn’t feature any decorative or cursive strokes. Brownie points if you choose email-safe fonts as they always render well.
The smaller it is, the more minimalist your design will be. It'll also keep your email from overwhelming the reader. There's a fine line between small enough and too small, though - so we suggest not going below 14px.
You should keep it simple by using plain black text on a white background (or another light-colored background). Also, make sure that there's enough contrast between the text and background color to make it legible. For example, don't use a light blue background if your text is dark blue - it won't be very easy on the eyes.
7. Don’t miss out on the essentials
When making your emails minimalistic, don’t forget the necessary elements as there are supposed to be there for a reason.
There are 2 elements you should always include in your minimalist email design.
a. Logo and brand name
When you add them, especially in the email header design, your readers will be able to recognize who the email is from and instantly know what company you represent.
b. Footer information
Along with the unsubscribe button, add your physical address and phone number somewhere in the footer. It’s absolutely essential to make your emails compliant with the law.
8. Avoid including too many CTA buttons
As useful as they can be, too many Call To Action (CTA) buttons in emails will make your design feel cluttered. Stick to 2 at most - and make sure they're the most important links in your email.
9. Keep your design responsive
It's not enough to just make an email that looks good on computers - it should work well with mobile devices too. Ensure your design displays well on smaller screens, CTA buttons are large enough to be clicked on, and the vertical scroll is kept to the minimum.
We suggest you take the easy (read: smart) way out and go for Unlayer’s responsive email templates. They display perfectly on all screens each time.
5 Minimalist Email Templates You Can Customize Now
To make things super easy for you, we’ve included some of our most popular minimalist email templates. You can modify them as you like, and you know what the best part is? They’re white-labeled!
If we had to describe this template in one word, it would be chic. If you want to wow your audience with a simplistic design that still packs a punch, then you must use this email template.
This minimalist email template features a white background with a splash of color. The single image at the top will grab your viewers’ attention while still keeping the email light in size.
A minimalistic email design with a monochromatic color palette? Yes, please. We love how fresh this design looks, and the standout CTA button ensures that your email gets clicks along with compliments.
This email template is a minimalist’s dream. The typography goes well with the overall elements, while the minimal icons subtly add to the overall design.
If high conversions are your aim, this minimalist email template is for you. The blue CTA button stands out on the neutral-colored background.
Now that you know all of these tips, it's time to put them into action. Remember, minimalist email design is all about reducing your text and images to only the most essential elements. Make sure to keep this in mind while you're designing.
If you are still having trouble with where to start, check out our templates.
That's all, thank you for reading! If you follow these tips when designing your email, readers are sure to find it clear, concise, and easy-to-read.