How To Nail The Illustration Design In Email (with examples)

How To Nail The Illustration Design In Email (with examples)

.Illustrations in business email templates are poised to be one of the biggest email trends of this year. A few years ago, illustrations were used to accessorize emails and make them look pretty. However, things are changing rapidly, and now they have become an essential story-telling tool. So, we have compiled examples of brands that have mastered the art of using illustration in their emails to help you create awesome illustration emails.

5 Ways Brands Are Using Illustrations In Their Emails

Animated illustrations

Stand-alone illustrations are more than enough to capture the attention of the reader. But, when combined with animations, illustrations can truly stand out in your subscriber’s inbox. Animated illustrations are not the same as animated GIFs. GIFs are a series of images that are spliced together to show motion. However, in animated illustration, an extra frame or two is added to the picture to make them move.

Adobe animated a normal illustration in their email copy to promote the animation capabilities of their application. The animation used in this promotional email is a bit obvious, yet it gets the job done for them.


Resy sells a service that is not readily photographable. Hence they chose to go with an animated illustration as it makes their emails more engaging. The illustration shows two people toasting at the beginning of the year as fireworks go off in the background. The email is also not data-heavy as the animation uses only a couple of frames.

Layering with stock photos

Adding illustrations to real-life photos is another way to spice up your emails. A simple background illustration can make the stock photo of your product interesting. Usually, this option is exercised by newer brands with a tight email marketing budget.

Love Cocoa has used this technique in their creative business email templates to notify the subscribers that their product is now available on Amazon. They have used a stock image of an Amazon delivery box and have added small image cutouts of their products. Finally, they have added silly illustrative lines on the image to spruce up the email template for their subscribers.


The layering technique need not always be minimal and silly. Some brands use the illustration layering technique to highlight their product. There are brands that even managed to create their brand aesthetics using this technique.

Austin Eastciders has used an illustration in their entire email template background, and they have added their products on top of it. This method has created a brand aesthetic for them.

Illustrations related to your brand aesthetics

Generally, brands will use simple and colorful illustrations to highlight their emails from the rest of their competitors. However, that is not the only way. Some brands stay true to their brand image and use quirky illustrations.

The illustrations used by Magic Spoon Cereal are anything but simple. They have used a quirky illustration to depict a witch riding a beast. But, when you see their product packaging, you will notice that the design aligns with its brand aesthetics. Since this email was a part of their Halloween email campaign, colors like purple, brown, and orange are generously used.


Headspace is another brand that uses illustrations that are in line with their brand aesthetics. The figures used in their email templates are also used in their products and other media projects. All the illustrations used by Headspace have smooth edges as they are considered to be calmer and non-threatening.

Illustrated letters

You do not need to commission intricate artwork in your emails to make them stick out. Using illustrations can also be easily done by combining them with typography. You can create visually stimulating headers with this style to grab the attention of the reader from the onset.

Epic uses illustrative texts in its engagement/recommendation email to capture the attention of its reader from the get-go. They have used celebratory sentences written in crayon font to make them more appealing for the children. Epic writes these texts on a black background surrounded by white space to make the text eye-catchy.


1973 LTD also combines fancy fonts with its illustrations to make its template look attractive. The illustration makes up most of the template, and it is quite self-explanatory. The email copy is used only to provide some context to the readers. Apart from the illustrations, they have used a gradient-colored background in their emails.

How-to guides illustrations

How-to guides can become quite lengthy and monotonous. The readers will often skim through the heading of these texts to get a rough idea about their product. However, you can reprocess this idea to turn it into an illustration and get the same effect with minimal words.

Baggu uses this creative way to enter the how-to guide in their emails. They have turned the instructions to wash their bags into animated and vibrant illustrations. Baggu uses a softer background color to make the colorful product illustration pop in the emails. To not overwhelm their readers, Baggu has kept the illustrations quite minimalistic.



Illustrations are an innovative way to convey your messages to the readers. You can keep them minimalistic or max out their quirkiness. As long as you have tested their effectiveness before launching the campaign, they will be a hit. If you are overwhelmed by the thought of doing this on your own, you can always outsource the designing process to an email marketing company like Email Uplers.

Author: Kevin George is the head of marketing at Email Uplers, that specializes in crafting Professional Email Templates, PSD to Email conversion, and Mailchimp Templates. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes & jazz, and he breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on email marketing blog.


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