If you have ever wondered what the best fonts are for emails, and how your message will appear to your customers, then you have come to the right place. In this article, you’ll be learning about all the fonts that you should be using to write your next email.

Best Fonts for Email

Let’s start by distinguishing between two basic categories of fonts that are commonly used: SERIF and SANS SERIF.

SERIF VS SANS SERIF

I know their names sound complex and possibly even creepy, but they’re really quite simple. Look closely at the headline above. SERIF is the font that has ‘tails’ and ‘legs’. SANS SERIF is the font that doesn’t. It’s as simple as that.

Which font category should be used in emails?

While most of us don’t pay much attention to the tails or legs of the fonts we read, it actually matters a lot. Most of our emails and even this blog are written in a Sans Serif font. This is mainly because Sans Serif fonts look more modern and professional, but that’s not all. There are some technical reasons as well.

Back in the print era, Serif fonts were used in the body of the article and Sans Serif fonts was used for writing the headlines. It was observed that it was easier to read Serif because it was believed that San Serif characters guide the eye to the next character quickly. Eventually the roles of Serif and Sans Serif were reversed. The computer revolution changed everything, including the way we read.

Reading online is different than reading on paper. When reading online, people have a low attention span. They want something that is noticeable, and more prominent, so now Sans Serif is more commonly used in the body of the articles, blogs, and emails that we write.

Of course these are common practices, not hard and fast rules. As long as your email is readable, you can use any font you like. Just make sure it’s not something uncommon, because no matter how hard you work on your email, no matter how perfect its typography looks, and no matter how well you align it, your efforts go right down the drain if your font in not recognized in your subscriber’s email system. It’s pertinent to use standard fonts that are usually found on all machines.

Arial and Times New Roman

  • ARIAL IS A SANS SERIF FONT
  • TIMES NEW ROMAN IS A SERIF FONT

If you’re a windows user then you must be aware of the two classics: ARIAL and TIMES NEW ROMAN. Both of them can be used for creating awesome emails. For example, if you want to update your suppliers on your new price quotes, use Arial. If you want to send your customers a funky new tutorial, then use Times New Roman writing those long instructions.

Verdana and Georgia

Times New Roman, and Arial aren’t the only awesome fonts on the block. Verdana and Georgia were developed especially for the computer by two of the most influential designers of the last century; they were hired by Microsoft for the job. A lot of hard work and research went into creating these two fonts by some of the best minds in the industry, so naturally they’re perfect for writing your emails.

The only drawback with Verdana and Georgia is that they were developed especially for English characters and to fit the pixels of the computer screen, so they don’t work well if you need to write in languages such as Greek or German which may require special characters.

Tahoma

Tahoma is ideal if you want to write in foreign languages, because it has a complete Unicode character set unlike Verdana or Georgia. The only problem with Tahoma is that it may cause some compatibility issues for your emails as its not supported on all systems.

Lucida Sans Unicode

Again like Tahoma, Lucida Sans Unicode is a good choice if you want to write in exotic languages, as it contains most characters from the Unicode 2.0 language. It also contains character from the ‘International Phonetic Alphabet’ that make it perfect for upside down text. It’s not compatible on all machines either, so this may cause issues.

Myriad Pro

Myriad Pro is another excellent font. In fact it is being used by many big names in the industry like Apple, Cambridge University, WalMart, LinkedIn, and others. It works well on all types of systems, and if you’re planning on sending emails in English it’s one of the best choices around. However, if you want to send emails in any other language then Myriad Pro isn’t the font for you; it doesn’t support exotic languages.

Calibri

It’s pretty good for writing emails, and Microsoft has been promoting it by making it the default language in the new Office products that have recently been released. It can be downloaded for free from Microsoft, but still not everyone is going to have it.

Google Web Fonts

A new trend with HTML emails is to use Google Fonts.

Google Fonts

You start by picking one out that you like from their massive collection. Then click the “Quick-use” Google Fonts - quick-use button, and scroll down until you see the @import tab.

Google Fonts - import

Then, add the following code to the head section of your email’s HTML code:

<style>
    @import url(http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Lato);
</style>
Now you can use your new font as if it was a normal font available to you:

p {
    font-family: Lato, Arial, sans-serif;
}
Notice the fallback fonts of Arial and sans-serif, in case the device or system that receives your email can’t handle web fonts.

Pretty cool, eh?

In a nutshell

In the end the best font is going to be based upon your company and your consumers’ preferences. As long as your font is readable by the recipient, it doesn’t matter much what you use. There are no hard and fast rules. Just remember these four basic points:

  • Your font should be supported by your subscriber’s system.
  • It shouldn’t be too small that it’s unreadable.
  • It shouldn’t be too large that it seems like a child wrote it.
  • Whatever font you use, it should be uniform in the whole email.

Regarding the last point, while it may be tempting for some people to use different fonts in different paragraphs, it can give a horrible impression. Choose a single font, and keep it consistent throughout.

If you want to emphasize on something then you can do so by making it bold, underlining it (although I personally avoid this since it can look like a hyperlink), or you can use upper case letter, but don’t go overboard with formatting either. A good message speaks for itself, so you don’t need to add anything unnecessary to it.

As long as you’re using a font that is generally compatible on all systems, and your font is legible, then you’re good to go.



Author

Memuna Umber from Winning.Email

Memuna is an MBA student who loves learning about marketing, specifically email marketing. She brings a lot of great experience to the Winning Email team and her passion for technology and communicating with people makes her a perfect fit.