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Darya Jandossova Troncoso

Marketsplash blog manager

Best Fonts For Email In 2021

In today’s digital world, communication is much more than just face-to-face conversation. These days, email seems to be the preferred method across many different situations, both formal and informal.

It’s easier than ever to come across differently than you want to and convey the wrong message.

But thankfully, there are many steps you can take to make sure that your tone and form contribute to clear communication in your emails.

One of the most basic and foundational components of an on-tone email is the font that you choose. While it might seem inconsequential, today, we’re going to break down different font choices and the tone that each conveys when used in an email.

Keep reading to learn about:

  • The different classifications of fonts;
  • How each impacts communication;
  • Which ones are best in certain circumstances.

Serif vs. Sans Serif vs. Script

In the world of fonts, any you choose will fall under one classification heading.

For the purpose of writing emails, the three main classifications you’ll often be choosing between are serif, sans serif, and script fonts.

Illustration Courtesy of Vectornator

While the idea can get a little complicated and confusing, the differences between these fonts are actually very definitive. Once you learn the tell-tale traits that distinguish the three, you won’t be able to unsee them.

Serif

Think about the long history of typeface, back to the early days of printing. Whether your mind jumped to colonial-era printing presses or even back to Gutenberg, you’re likely imagining a serif-style font.

Times New Roman

These are the most traditional types of fonts. The small flourishes on the hard edges of many of the letters set serif fonts apart. These flairs aren’t meaningless, of course: they follow after the way that Roman letters were traditionally written, with flared stroke ends.

Serif fonts, because of the classic and official style they have, are used widely today in printing, both for books and newspapers.

This style of font is also said to have the best readability of all of them, though that’s up for individual interpretation.

The best examples of serif fonts are:

  • Times New Roman
  • Garamond
  • Georgia

Though these are good representatives, there are thousands more out there to choose from.

Sans Serif

Despite the fact that serif fonts are classic oldies but goodies, sans serif fonts have an established pedigree as well and can be traced back to the early 1800s. They emerged from a movement to keep the printed page a little tidier and also, understandably, to conserve ink.

Helvetica

Sans serif fonts lack the flourished details of their serif cousins. For this reason, the clean lines and perhaps more minimalist effect are appreciated in marketing and advertising, both in print and on-screen.

Of course, just because these fonts lack the serif flair doesn’t mean that they’re boring or overly simple.

There are many different types out there to choose from that convey different styles, all with a cleaner letter shape. For that reason, they’re a favorite of modern web design, and they’re also great for mixing with other font styles.

The best examples are:

  • Helvetica
  • Arial
  • Tahoma
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Script

Script fonts are the most individualistic of the three categories, but they still have their place in modern typeface usage. These fonts often replicate different styles of lettering, both feminine and masculine, and play with letter spacing and color distribution when seen on a page or screen.

Script fonts are often chosen mostly for small, complementary sections of text to highlight or emphasize a small number of words or phrases. This is because script is considered the least readable category of fonts here.

Homemade Apple

If you’ve ever struggled to read another person’s unique handwriting, then you’ll understand why!

Script fonts aren’t chicken scratch, though (mostly), and they do have their place as a beautiful font option. They are considered to be less formal and traditional, which is something to keep in mind when evaluating the message you want to send.

Some examples of script fonts include:

  • Monotype Corsiva
  • Lucida Handwriting
  • French Script

How Matching Your Audience Influences Font

Now that you know which types of fonts you can work with and understand the general idea behind each, let’s dive into how you can apply that knowledge to choosing the best font for your specific email.

Emails are standard communication for many different situations, so, in any given workday, many of us write long and short emails and informal and formal emails. When you pick a font to use in your email, you want to keep your audience in mind.

Choosing a font that matches the tone you want to take in your email instead of works against it is the foundation of a message that communicates well and increases general email engagement.

If you are sending a formal email, you will most likely want to choose a serif font, as they are the most classic and formal style of fonts.

If you’re sending an informal email to a friend or family member about the details of a trip or just to catch up, then you can skip the bells and whistles and go for a sans serif font since they are no-nonsense, not distracting, and easy to read.

If you’re writing a playful email, for example, sending out invitations to a birthday party or themed event, it makes sense to inject your email with some corresponding fun and excitement.

You can even use themed fonts or seasonal fonts such as these summer fonts to have your email look and feel upbeat.

Create good-looking emails in a few clicks

Using a script font for pieces of your email (and not the whole text) will help direct attention to specific information and imply the emotion you want the readers to have.

In order to pair your font to your audience well, you have to know and understand your audience and the purpose of your message. If you work in a largely informal workplace, sans serif may be a fine and even more preferred font for your professional emails.

TAA And Lead Segmentation Are Critical

But what if you don’t know your audience?

Many times, we have to send emails to people and entities we’ve never met. We can do a bit of online research ourselves, but sometimes it’s best to use analytics to help us.

Both the font and tone of your email can be improved and better aligned for your audience.

Especially in sales and the business world, lead segmentation, or breaking your leads down into smaller sections based on the tones needed to best fit each, can help you tailor your message to each type of audience you need to send an email to.

Different types of behavioral analytics programs can help you perform TAA or target audience analytics. This way, the analytics system can make those distinctions for you based on gathered information about each member of your prospective audience.

I want to collect, analyze and use customer data in personalized campaigns

These programs can help you test out which fonts, visual design themes, and color schemes will be most effective in each designated group.

Especially in marketing and sales, it’s crucial to know how every detail of your message will be received so that it can be crafted as an intentional part of the overall message.

Maximize Your Font For Compatibility

It’s probably easy to see now why font choice is so important for every email you send. If you haven’t been paying attention to the fonts you use in emails before now, then don’t worry.

Here are the things you need to know about font choice in a broad sense to make sure you choose one that’s compatible with web formatting.

Web-Safe Fonts

Web-safe fonts are ones that are supported by all browsers and operating systems. If you’ve ever noticed the fonts that come pre-loaded for Windows and macOS, there will be some overlap, but not all of the fonts will be the same.

The overlap is your sweet spot!

Image Source: Google Fonts

These fonts are considered web-safe.

A quick web search can confirm if your chosen font is web-safe or not. Some of the most commonly known ones are:

  • Times New Roman
  • Comic Sans
  • Palatino

Of course, there are many more than just those.

So let’s dive into some specific web-safe fonts that could be good choices for different types of emails.

Helvetica Neue

This sans serif font is a great mix between something stylish and modern but also doesn’t take itself as seriously as something like Times New Roman does. It has a very unique style that can direct attention to specific pieces of information because of its bold look.

In this example, you can see that a full block of Helvetica Neue text, especially rendered in a small size, can feel a little jumbled to read, especially when the spacing between letters, or kerning, is also small.

This can be adjusted for a more custom feel, and with a font like Helvetica Neue, more space between the letters can improve readability for large chunks of text.

Email example by Postable

But for a more artistic effect in which only a title or line is emphasized, the use of centered Helvetica Neue with a reduced kerning can really convey a sense of class, uniqueness, and a bit of elevated style.

Roboto

Despite its funny name, this font is the default for Google Maps, and you can see why in this example.

Although it’s rendered in a small size, the kerning and the simplistic letter styles on this sans-serif font make it a very readable option for the body text of an email.

Email example

It’s also a great foundational font to be complemented by a different font used in the header or subtitle if your email makes use of them.

Because it’s a simple but classic-looking option, it can be dressed up, so to speak, with a more formal font for very formal emails, and it can also be dressed down with something a little more individualistic for informal emails as well.

Like with many other simplistic fonts, fonts like Roboto can be easily altered to compliment your message in different parts of your text. Utilizing italics or bolded texts can emphasize certain parts of your message and convey a playful and casual attitude.

Arial

This is another sans serif font that is widely popular for use in professional and informal settings alike.

Many well-known entities like Coursera use it for both web design and communications.

If you’re unsure what body text to use in your email, Arial is always a safe bet. It’s a simple and highly readable option that is clear and clean looking at many sizes.

Email example

Like with other sans serif fonts we’ve mentioned, the addition of italic and bolded words can help emphasize your meaning and convey personality.

Because of its minimalistic look, Arial is great for pairing with other bolder fonts in emails that need to show more personality or style. It can be taken in a very clean and minimalistic direction, or it can be dressed up when paired with a funkier or even more formal font for headings and titles.

Georgia

While Georgia is a serif font, it’s a very clean and, at the same time, bold choice that conveys style and an elevated feeling when used as a body text font.

In this example, you’ll see that it has a bit of a throw-back feel about it without seeming old or stuffy.

Because of this style, it’s a great font to use as a standalone for the whole of your email.

The text looks clean and well-spaced, although, again, you can alter the kerning to give a more custom feel in the headings or when desired.

When italicized, the Georgia font has a great self-complementing style that can really round out a stylistically aimed email without having to employ a lot of different fonts or bells and whistles.

Courier

This very specific serif font is well-known and sometimes disliked for its overuse in inappropriate scenarios. However, when used as part of a signature, logo, or heading and then complemented by a tamer body text font, Courier can be a great, unique option.

The spacing between the letters is greater, making this font seem very tidy but also a little bulkier than some other fonts. So it’s not advised to use it as your body text font. This harkens back to the days of the typewriter and can feel hard on the eyes.

But these examples use Courier for contrasting portions of text, and when used this way, Courier can make a great impression.

Image Source: TextAnywhere

What Fonts to Avoid?

We all know those fonts that everyone loves to hate. Sadly, many have gotten a bad reputation for people’s overuse of them or use in inappropriate situations. These are some that should be kept out of your emails for that reason.

Stencil

Way overused in the 2000s, Stencil is individualistic but can be hard to read. Nowadays, Helvetica Neue and Roboto are better choices for body text.

Comic Sans

Although it’s been (purportedly) linked to higher productivity rates for people who do lots of typing, Comic Sans is very informal in nature and somehow finds its way into very formal situations with no shame. Stick to Comic Sans for personal things, but leave it out of your emails.

Papyrus

Papyrus is another highly individualized font that has been overused in contexts that were too formal for it. It’s synonymous with poorly made websites and elementary or middle school projects. So it definitely shouldn’t appear in any of your emails!

Times New Roman

While Times New Roman has been standard for a long time, it’s lost its relevance with younger people and in more artistic contexts. For marketing, web designing, and fast-paced industries that are growing and changing, ditch Times New Roman and try something with a little more edge.

How To Use Font Stylishly In 2021

As we continue forward in a digitally oriented world, it’s important to know how to pick fonts that will work for you instead of against you. Understanding current design trends can help you match your font to your desired audience.

Don’t be afraid to modify your typeface for less spacing or kerning or for any other element that impacts the presentation of the font.

Play with whitespace and background contrast by the use of texture and eye-catching paper-like elements. When in doubt, oversized titles and headings with a beautiful and unique design will always be appreciated by readers.

Note

In the eSputnik email builder, you can add a custom font from Google Fonts or another source.

At the end of the day, sending out your message is simply not enough anymore.

It’s crucial to know where it’s going and to tailor it for the effect you want it to have. Whether it’s a formal or informal email, now you have the tools to target your audience intentionally and well.

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Darya Jandossova Troncoso

Marketsplash blog manager

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