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7 Examples of Using Illustrations in Email Marketing for 2021

February 28, 2021

One of the major reasons for transitioning from text-only messages to HTML email templates is because we’re visual creatures. A great copy allows you to capture your readers and persuade them, but an image can help you do the same job in a more natural way. Our mind processes images 60,000 times faster compared to textual data. 

Choosing the right image time after time can become challenging for email developers. Illustrations are one of the best ways to engage your subscribers. They help give your message a creative and unique touch. They are currently one of the most loved design trends. 

If you are looking for inspiration for your next email campaign, this article discusses seven brilliant examples of using illustrations in emails. Let’s explore illustration email examples:

#1 YNAB 

Celebrations and food are almost inseparable, and this hasn't changed over time. YNAB, a personal budgeting app that helps users get out of debt and become wealthy, showed its users celebrating financial success over a meal. 

This illustration is aligned with their brand image, which encourages the use of simple rules for financial restructuring like keeping expenses in control. If you are looking to send a message congratulating your readers, this is a great way to do it. These illustrations instantly leave a positive impact. 

Let’s have a closer look:

(Image Credits)

#2 East Fork

A classic yet relevant illustration is the use of thought bubbles. No matter if it’s a Marvel comic, social media meme, or the below email from East Fork, people love them. The message is clean. Every character has a name and a one-liner to describe what they like about the respective products. They also included the product images in the illustration. 

This tactic can be leveraged by any business selling multiple products. You can use such illustrations where your ideal product persona is describing why they love your product. 

Look at East Fork's email:

(Image Credits)

#3 Harry's

Harry's is a name any email marketer always mentions when it comes to email illustrations. They have mastered the craft. Instead of making the recipient read a bunch of text, they chose to illustrate the pre-shave routine in three easy steps.

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This idea is great for sharing small tips related to your product and to engage your subscribers in an effortless manner. It would be best if you also show the user interacting with the product to make the illustration even more realistic and appealing. 

Take a look at Harry's email example:

(Image Credits)

#4 Rover

Pet owners are extremely passionate about their four-legged friends. Rover sent this illustration describing their product as 'Goodies' while showing the dog as 'Happy Boy.' Any pet owner would find it easily agreeable. Pet owners use 'good boy' as a way to cheer up their dogs, and this email leverages this emotion. 

You can also use this method for abstract objects associated with hobbies with minor tweaks in the copy. Just make sure you keep the emotional appeal intact, and you will strike the right chords just like Rover did here:

(Image Credits)

#5 MindNote

MindNote illustrated the principle of ‘show, don't tell’ perfectly in this email. MindNote is an online tool that helps users create mind maps, and it solves one of our most common problems. We generally forget our ideas before we can act on them. We always see so many other entrepreneurs and scientists make history with their random ideas. 

Recommended Reading: 10 Email Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Audience Engagement

MindNote drew parallels between working on an idea and planting a seed. Both have the potential to turn into a full-fledged reality. If you're into the financial or advisory business, using a similar illustration is a no-brainer. 

Check it out for inspiration on your next email:

(Image Credits)

#6 Quizlet

Students use different patterns to make notes. Some look clean while others look outright messy. But as long as it works for them, that’s all that matters. This is conveyed beautifully in this email from Quizlet. 

Instead of asking readers directly to explore their notes, Quizlet used this illustration to communicate with their readers about unique approaches. They shared common ground with their consumers:

(Image Credits)

#7 Starbucks

Starbucks used this illustration to announce new payment options. They showed their coffee, card, and cash all coming out of a smartphone at once. The best thing about using this approach is that readers can fill in the gaps using their imagination. 

If the readers were wondering whether their preferred method is included or not, they would look at the entire illustration to find out. On the other hand, making readers find out details through reading text would become very difficult. 

Have a look at this illustration from  Starbucks:

(Image Credits)


Illustrations are a very effective way to communicate with your audience. There are approximately 319.6 billion emails sent on a daily basis. If you’re not already using them, illustrations can give your messages a fresh look. 

You can take inspiration from these examples and come up with your own eye-catching designs. Illustrations continue to amuse people. I hope this blog is insightful for your email design strategy.

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