How To Choose the Best Font for Email?

How To Choose the Best Font for Email?
Alex Kachalov Alex Kachalov 16 november 2023, 11:26 217
For beginners

Fonts matter greatly for emails or any other form of written communication. Have you ever struggled to read a barely legible handwriting? That’s the same way people feel when they receive emails made with poorly designed typefaces.

This article is here to ensure you never send an email with a low-quality font. We’ll explain why fonts matter and show you the best fonts for email campaigns.

What Are Email-Suitable Fonts?

First and foremost, an email font should be easy to read on various devices. No one will have trouble reading an email you send with such fonts. They load fast and are legible both on desktop and mobile displays. They help you communicate seamlessly with friends, family, or colleagues.

Why Are Fonts Critical For Email Marketing?

Fonts matter because they form the foundation of your marketing campaign. No matter how well-written your email campaign is, it’ll be useless if recipients can barely read what you wrote. You might be the best marketer and copywriter, but the seemingly trivial mistake of using a bad font can tarnish your efforts.

The most important things to consider about fonts are content relevancy and technicalities.

Content Relevancy

Your fonts and content relevancy are closely related. People will close or delete an email within a few seconds if it's not readable. An illegible font makes whatever content you compose for the recipient to lose relevance.

Technicalities

Different email clients will display fonts differently. Some clients don’t support specific fonts, so sending emails with them means they’ll display inconsistently. The safer solution is to stick to fonts supported by the most popular email clients.

Web Safe Fonts vs. Web Fonts

To understand the problems you might encounter, you need to know the technical side. To display text with a particular font, a proper font file is required. This file may be already installed on the recipient’s system (web safe fonts) or needs to be downloaded from the Web (web fonts).

Web Safe Fonts

Unfortunately, there is no official list of web safe fonts. Even if a font is currently offered with a popular operating system, it may be removed in the next version for whatever reason. The following fonts are generally considered as web safe:

  • Arial
  • Helvetica
  • Verdana
  • Georgia
  • Times New Roman
  • Tahoma

An estimated percentage of Windows and Mac users using a particular font may be found here.

Web Fonts

Well, what’s the problem with web fonts? Why doesn’t an email client program just download the file it needs, if it’s technically possible? Alas, many clients do not support this, and may never be able to, due to copyright restrictions. In legal terms, downloading a font file counts as distributing it, and an email client has no means to tell whether a particular font is free to distribute or not.

However, as the list of web safe fonts is way too limited, many email marketers still use web fonts, and you may too. Just be sure to specify fallback options with CSS, as described in the last section.

Linking Web Fonts to Emails

There are several methods of linking a font file to your email. Let’s take a look at one of them in the example below.

This is the style definition for using the Roboto font in your email. All parameters are pretty obvious except the URL. In this example, we use the free Google Fonts service, but you may also use your own web hosting as well as one of the paid font services.

The 4 Main Font Families

There are four main font families every marketer should distinguish between. Nearly all fonts fall into one of these categories. These families are:

Serif

Serif fonts are unique for having little details, called serifs, at the end of letter strokes. A virtual baseline, formed by these serifs, greatly improves readability, especially for longer lines of text.

This family is home to prominent fonts like Times New Roman, Georgia, and Baskerville. It’s often used for body text.

Sans Serif

Sans serif (literally meaning “without serifs”) fonts have straight lines and clean edges. They don't have any fine strokes, which makes them look modern and minimalistic. You can use sans-serif fonts for body text, but they are also good for titles and headlines, especially when bolded.

Script

Script is a family of fonts that mimic human handwriting. They look stylish and have cursive characteristics. These fonts are often used for ceremonial documents like certificates, wedding invitations, envelope stamps, etc.

Decorative

The name of this font family already explains its characteristics. They are used in decorative marketing materials to attract the reader’s attention. You can find them on brochures, on billboards, signposts, etc. These fonts are not legible in small sizes, so it’s not advised to use them for emails. They’re meant for large physical or digital canvases in public environments.

13 Best Email Campaign Fonts

Now that you’ve learned about the main font families, it’s time to discuss the best fonts for email marketing campaigns. They include:

Arial

This sans-serif font was created for IBM printers in the 1980s. Nowadays it’s common in digital and print media. This font is minimalistic and modest. It’s the most versatile font you can find across the web. If you’re confused about which font to choose, feel safe to start with Arial.

Verdana

Verdana is a simple and highly legible font design. Its name is a combination of “verdant” (green) and “Ana,” the designer’s daughter. This font is round, elegant, and easy for anyone to read, which makes it a favorite for marketers.

Georgia

Georgia is a member of the Serif font family, identified by the little curls on letter edges. It was designed by Microsoft in 1993 and inspired by ancient typefaces. This font design has well-spaced letters, which makes it easy to read.

Helvetica

Helvetica is another modern Sans Serif font. It was created by a Swiss designer and is popular worldwide. Unfortunately, you won't find this font on Microsoft and Google Docs (because of high licensing fees), but you can use similar fonts like Helvetica Neue.

Tahoma

Tahoma is a font designed exclusively for digital use. It was created by Matthew Carter, a prominent designer behind multiple popular fonts. This typeface is legible and clear, making it suitable for email campaigns. Fortunately, most email clients support it.

Times New Roman

This font was created for British newspaper The Times back in the 1930s. It has a traditional and authoritative look suited for print and digital screens. Marketers often use this typeface for body text, headlines and titles.

Open Sans

Open Sans is one of the newest digital fonts, it was commissioned by Google in 2011. This font is based on an older version designed specifically for Android smartphones. It looks very good on mobile and desktop displays.

Roboto

Roboto was released in 2020 for digital displays. It’s a highly legible typeface with simple curves that make it suitable for email campaigns. Most email clients support this sans-serif font, so you shouldn’t have any technical issues with it.

Raleway

Raleway is a thin-looking typeface that is easy to read on digital displays. It’s simple yet offers more personality than minimalist fonts like Arial and Verdana. Its simplicity makes it good for email campaigns.

Lato

Lato is a font whose name derives from the Polish word for "summer." It is valued for its simplicity and rounded letters. This font is suitable for call-to-action buttons and headlines in email marketing design.

Oswald

Oswald is a Sans Serif typeface rooted in 19th-century gothic and grotesque texts. It’s a bold and legible font you can use for your email marketing campaigns.

Lucida

Lucida is unique for having widely spaced letters that are easy to read from afar. Letters are taller than in other fonts, which improves readability. This font is well-suited for both screen and print use.

PT Serif

PT Serif is a typeface inspired by Cyrillic alphabets. It was released in 2010, making it a relatively new font. It looks elegant and legible when used for email marketing design.

The Worst Fonts For Email Marketing Campaigns

We’ve shown you the best fonts for email newsletters and campaigns. But we also owe you the favor of pointing out the worst fonts you shouldn’t ever use in emails. Here they are:

Comic Sans MS

Comic Sans is a typeface that looks cartoonish. It’s not suitable for professional use; it was actually created to represent the speech of an animated dog in a Microsoft app. You can use it for casual stuff like writing an invitation to your kid’s birthday party, but it’s a no-no for your own correspondence.

Curlz

As its name suggests, this typeface has a lot of curls. It looks distracting, and people will strain their eyes to understand what you’ve typed. This font has no place in any professional email campaign.

Trajan

The Trajan font is nice but too stylish for formal communications. You’re more likely to find it on movie posters and credits than in any form of professional communication. Elegant as it is, this typeface is not suitable for email campaigns.

Papyrus

The Papyrus typeface looks childish. It’s something you’ll associate with daycare posters rather than professional communications. Putting this typeface in an email means people may not take it seriously.

Prominent Brand Logo Font Samples

While using decorative fonts in emails is definitely a bad idea, logos are a totally different story. If you’re creating a logo for your brand, you should take a closer look at the most unusual ones – and this is about the only way a decorative typeface can make it into an email newsletter. Let’s examine some typefaces associated with popular brand logos.

Netflix

Source: Netflix

The Netflix logo uses a custom Sans Serif font called Netflix Sans. This typeface is simple, bold, and easy to spot from afar. It looks contemporary and elegant, a perfect fit during Netflix’s early years as a streaming service disrupting the traditional movie industry. The Netflix logo is one of the most popular worldwide and easily recognizable.

Coca-Cola

Source: Seeklogo

Coca-Cola is a beverage company that virtually everyone in the world is aware of. Anyone can easily recognize its logo, which uses a Spencerian script font. This typeface was based on the handwriting of Coca-Cola's founder from the 19th century. It’s a good example of a brand using a unique typeface to build an unmistakable identity.

Disney

Source: Vecteezy

Disney’s logo uses the Waltograph typeface, named after the company’s founder, Walt Disney. This typeface is based on Walt Disney’s autograph, and Disney has built an extremely valuable brand around it. While the logo itself is copyrighted, the font is not (at least in the US), so anyone can use it to create their own logos.

Nike

Source: LogoHistory

Nike’s iconic logo uses a Sans Serif typeface that looks modern and clean. This bold logo is easily recognizable, depicting speed, motion, and success. The font makes Nike’s logo stand out from the crowd and gives the audience a unique look.

How to choose the best font for your email: 11 vital properties

Below are the main factors to consider when choosing the best professional fonts for email campaigns.

Legibility

The primary consideration is how readable your font is. An illegible font will make recipients discard your message. Ensure your text is easy to read, as good design will earn you better conversion rates.

Clarity

Marketing campaigns are more successful with clear fonts that any audience can easily read. Clarity is especially important if your target audience is aged 50 and above, who are more likely to have vision problems.

Mood

Fonts can communicate moods and expressions to your target audience, as demonstrated in the brand logo section above. Think about the mood you’re selling to your audience before choosing a font.

Sans Serif fonts signify modernity and minimalism. Serif fonts evoke feelings of warmth and class. Script and Decorative fonts are playful and expressive. Ensure you choose a font that suits the feelings you want to convey.

Consistency

You should stick to no more than two fonts in an email, one for the headings and titles and another for the body. Using more fonts will likely confuse the reader. It’ll also make the email look amateurish, which you want to avoid.

Size

The size of your font matters a lot. Conversion rates will likely be low for emails with too large or too small font sizes. The ideal size for email body text is 14 to 16 pixels for body text and 18 to 20 pixels for headings and titles. Experiment with these ranges to see which value delivers the best conversion rates and stick to it.

Alignment

In most popular languages like English, French, Spanish, etc., text is read from left to right. Hence, your body text should be aligned to the left in most cases. The exception is if you’re writing in a language read from right to left, e.g., Arabic or Hebrew. In that case, you should align your text to the right.

Colors

Avoid using too many colors in an email. You should stick to one or two colors to keep the message clear and legible. Multiple colors may look like good design, but they’ll likely distract the recipient. However, you can use contrasting colors to highlight important words and phrases in your email.

Spacing

Line spacing is a vital part of every email. You don’t want your lines too close to each other because they’ll be hard to read. The ideal line spacing for emails is 1.3 to 1.5 (130 to 150%). Anything below this range makes your message look like a single body of text.

Call-to-Action Text

You can use a special font for a call-to-action text or button in your message. The CTA font may differ from what you use for the email body; just ensure it’s clear and legible to the reader.

A/B Testing

There’s no perfect font formula to get high conversion rates from your emails. You should experiment with different styles, sizes, spacing, colors, etc., to see what works best. Create a few variants and compare the results of your campaign for each of them. This process is called A/B testing, and it helps you get the best conversion rates through trial and error.

Tips For Optimizing Your Fonts For Emails

Here are the tips to help you choose the best fonts for email signatures, newsletters, and general campaigns.

Keep Things Simple

Your ultimate goal is to pass the right message, not to entertain the audience. Keep it as simple as possible. While you can embrace creativity in your message, legibility and comprehension should be your priority.

Don’t Stuff Your Message Inside An Image

Some people would like to use fonts that many email clients don't support, meaning they won't show up correctly. They often try a workaround by inserting their text as images so that the fonts will always display correctly. However, this method is not advisable.

Subscribers might turn off images on their email client to save mobile traffic, meaning they’ll receive an empty email and get confused. The email will load slowly because of the images’ size. The worst thing is that an email consisting of large images and little text will likely be regarded as spam.

Size And Readability Matters

We won’t stop emphasizing this point. The size and clarity of your font is critical for the conversion rate of your email campaigns. Note that you should use larger text sizes for decorative and cursive fonts.

Testing Matters Too

You must test your emails before sending them en masse. Check how the email looks on different browsers and devices, on PC and mobile displays. Check its appearance on the most popular email clients like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, etc. Testing helps you spot any mistakes before deploying your emails to all subscribers.

Specify A Fallback Font

Some email clients may not support the font you chose. In such cases, it’ll switch to a default font: Arial on Gmail, Helvetica on Apple Mail, Times News Roman on Outlook etc. However, you can choose your own fallback font with CSS code, as in the example below:

The line says that Roboto is the preferred font. If it is not available, the email client can show the text using web-safe Verdana. And if Verdana is also missing, any available sans-serif font will be used instead.

This way you can choose a fallback font similar to the original font so your email won’t get distorted if an email client does not support the original. Just be sure to check your design with any fallback option you specify.

Conclusion

Fonts are important to every marketing campaign. The idea may seem trivial, but they do have a significant impact on the success of your email campaigns. We have discussed the best professional fonts for email campaigns, as well as considerations on choosing the right fonts and optimizing your design to get the best results.

Above all, ensure you choose a dependable email service provider (ESP) to deliver your messages. No matter how well-chosen your fonts are, your campaign won’t yield good results if your ESP can not deliver messages reliably. UniOne is a reliable and secure ESP at your service. We deliver your messages speedily and ensure they get to the intended recipients.

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