Email has come a long way. Founded by Ray Tomlinson in 1971, what started as a way to communicate with colleagues who weren't answering their phones has become a powerhouse. The email marketing channel continues to generate incredibly high returns, with an ROI of 36:1. In October, electronic mail officially celebrates its 50th anniversary. We can't help but get a little nostalgic. That's why we decided to go back over the history of email, from the 2010s to today. We asked email experts Lily Worth, our email design and production specialist, and Brian Thies, email developer and owner of Thies Publishing, to dig into the archives and to share information about their experience over the years, especially in coding and design.
Take a walk with us down memory lane as we revisit email design trends that survived the 2010s. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the most iconic design trends and how they evolved for the better. . Email grows in the 2010s The 1990s to 2000s were a renaissance period for email design. Around 1991, the Internet as we know it today Image Masking Service was born. Then, in the late 90s, email experienced a renaissance with the introduction of HTML to email. And the 2010s? Although it was the “most mundane” decade ever, major advancements have taken place with email marketing. In this decade, a lot of things took off: segmentation, personalization, email automation, compliance (like GDPR), accessibility and much more. This paved the way for email marketing as we know it today. Here is a brief history of email marketing milestones over the past decade: 2009 – Responsive emails are introduced.
2010 – Triggered emails become the norm, with 48% of marketers now sending triggered emails. 2012 – 90 million Americans now use email on a mobile device. 2013 – Google introduces tabs in Gmail. 2014 – The integration of CSS with HTML ushers in the era of interactive emails. 2014 – Dynamic content is used to create personalized experiences with subscribers. 2014 – Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) comes into effect. 2015 – CSS animation in emails is gaining popularity. 2016 – Personalization takes over. 2016 – The GDPR is adopted. 2018 – Apple introduces dark mode as part of its 15th version of the operating system. What about coding and design? Email Design Trends That Defined the 2010s To refresh our memories, we asked Lily to dig into the archives and share the first email she could find. Let's take a look at the first email she designed and developed for Experian in 2009: