Choosing the Best Font for Email Marketing Campaigns

Choosing the best font for email campaign

The fonts you use in your email marketing campaigns can have a big impact on how easy it is for people to understand your messages. Using clear, easy-to-read fonts can help ensure that your subscribers will actually read the entire message, rather than just skimm over it. Height, width, color, shape, and spacing — all play a role in how readable your email is.

In this article, we’ll tell you how to choose the best fonts for your emails and tips on using them.

What are email-safe fonts and web fonts?

The best fonts to use for email marketing content are those that are email-safe. This means that they will display correctly on any device and in any email client in nearly all cases.

While it may be tempting to use unique or special fonts to make your content stand out, doing so can actually backfire. If a font isn’t supported by an email client, the client may replace it with a different font that can change the look and feel of your email, or make it difficult to read. To avoid this, stick to safe fonts that are widely supported.

Some common sans serif fonts that can be used for mailings are Arial, Arial Black, Tahoma, Verdana, and Trebuchet MS. Common serif fonts are Georgia, Times New Roman, Courier New, MS Sans Serif.

Email safe fonts

Why bother choosing the email fonts

When choosing a font for your email, it’s important to consider how different email clients will display that font. Some fonts may not be compatible with all email clients, which could change the way your message looks. To avoid this, choose a web-safe font that will work consistently across all platforms (more on them below).

The next point — different fonts convey different personalities. The fonts you use in your marketing can affect how your brand is perceived. It’s important to choose fonts carefully to make sure they convey the right message about your brand.

There are several reasons you should be thoughtful about the fonts you choose:

  1. Fonts are a key element in creating and reinforcing brand identity. The fonts used in email communications help recipients connect the message with your company. Therefore, it is important to maintain consistency in the fonts employed across all marketing materials. This will ensure that your audience always associates your brand with the same look and feel.
  2. Popular fonts can create certain meanings for brands. For example, a trendy font can present a brand as current and in touch with the latest trends. This can be beneficial for attracting customers who are interested in these qualities.
  3. The right fonts can make a big difference in whether people convert when they read your emails. By carefully choosing which fonts to use, you can guide readers’ attention to the most important parts of the email, like your call to action. This can help increase your conversion rates.

Your font choice can have an impact on your email marketing conversions in general. Make sure you carefully select your fonts to improve your results.

Different font families

There are four different families that fonts can be classified into based on their features and graphical representation. All fonts fit into one of these four categories. Learning about these families can help you better understand how to use fonts and choose the right ones for your needs.

Four font families example
Source: eLearning Brothers

Serif

A serif is a type of font that has strokes at the end of each letter. These types of fonts are elegant and legible, which makes them perfect for large chunks of text. Some popular examples of serif fonts include Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, and Palatino.

Serif fonts are the original typeface style, and as such, they are often seen as being classic, traditional and trustworthy. When choosing a font for your business communications, consider using a serif typeface to convey a sense of dependability and authority.

Popular serif fonts
Source: Bulletin Bag

Sans-serif

There is a big difference between sans-serif and serif fonts. Sans-serif is recognizable by the lack of strokes. The most popular sans-serif typefaces are Arial, Verdana, Geneva, Comic Sans, and Calibri. If you want to use a modern font style, these are some good options.

Sans-serif fonts have simpler shapes than serif fonts, so they usually create a look of simplicity and tidiness. This can be helpful if you want a minimal design.

Sans-serif fonts example
Source: Bulletin Bag

In the example below you can clearly see the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts.

The difference between serif and sans-serif fonts
Source: W3 Lab Digital Agency

Script

Script fonts are designed to look like handwritten cursive which can give a unique look to your project. While they’re not typically recommended for email bodies, they can be great for creative headings or invitations.

Some popular examples of script fonts include Lobster and Pacifico.

Script fonts example
Source: Threerooms

Decorative

Decorative fonts, sometimes called fantasy fonts, are great for adding impact to books, games, presentations, and other materials. These fonts are distinctive and dramatic, with unique shapes, forms, and proportions.

Some fun decorative fonts that you might want to consider using include Fredericka, Fredoka One, Lobster Two, and Bangers. These fonts can add some personality to your text and make it more visually interesting.

When using decorative fonts in emails, it is important to be careful as they may not display or be readable properly. It is best to use them on images.

Decorative fonts example
Source: Arlington.Instructure

Summing up, there are four main font families, each with its own distinct personality traits. Serif fonts are classic and traditional, while sans-serif fonts have a modern look. Script fonts are elegant, and decorative fonts are unique and stylized. All of these font types can be used to create a beautiful design for your email campaigns.

Four main font families
Source: Pinterest

Best font for emails to grab the readers’ attention

There are different types of fonts, depending on where they originate from. For example, fonts that come from a system will look different than those hosted on a web server. Therefore, it is crucial to take into account the source of the font before using it in an email campaign.

Let’s explore some of the most popular fonts used in email marketing.

System fonts

System fonts (or email-safe fonts) are those that come installed with your operating system. They’re web-safe because they always render as intended. This makes them a good choice for email campaigns, as you can be sure it will always look as intended on screen.

There are a few best fonts for emails.

Times New Roman

Times New Roman is one of the most popular system serif fonts, and it is perfect for headings and body text. The Publican Anker used a Times New Roman font to give its heading a formal look. This also ensures great readability.

It’s important to choose a font combination that will be easy to read and won’t cause confusion. Test out different combinations before making a final decision.

An example of Times New Roman font in email
Source: Really Good Emails

Arial

Another best font for emails is Arial, which is often used as the default font stack. It works well for headlines as well as other small email elements since it was designed to be readable on computer screens. However, it may not be the best choice for large blocks of text since it isn’t as easy to read as some other fonts. Keep in mind that Gmail uses Arial, so if most of your emails are opened through Gmail, it’s good to use a font that will work well in that environment.

Arial is a popular choice for emails with shorter sections of text. Facebook’s use of Arial in this email creates a strong impression.

Arial font used in an email by Facebook
Source: Really Good Emails

Helvetica

Helvetica (and Helvetica Neue) is a typeface that has a modern look that will make the text stand out. It is a good choice for business emails as it gives off a more professional vibe. Helvetica is also the default font used by Apple Mail, so keep that in mind when sending emails to Mac users.

Charlie Pratt employs Helvetica Neue for its headings. This well-known font provides a clean and modern look for the brand’s email newsletter. Together with a plain layout, the use of this font helps create a balanced overall design.

An example of Helvetica font in email
Source: Campaign Monitor

Verdana

Verdana is a sans-serif typeface that is easy to read because it has extra space between letters. This makes it a good choice for email campaigns.

Harry’s font choices make for easy reading and a modern, playful feel. The brand uses Verdana for the body text and pairs it with Gill Sans (in CTA) to improve the reading experience. This also works well with Harry’s visuals.

An example of Verdana font in email
Source: Moosend

Georgia

Georgia is a serif typeface that can add elegance to your headings in emails. It is similar to Times New Roman, but with a rounder and bolder font style. The typeface is also very accessible and web-safe, so you can use this best font for a business email to give your audience a modern experience.

Still the same Charlie Pratt uses a Georgia typeface with serifs to add style and uniqueness to its message body. The typeface helps subscribers to easily read and digest the message, even when using a smaller font size.

An example of Georgia font in email
Source: Campaign Monitor

Tahoma

Tahoma is a great sans-serif font option for emails and is a favorite among users of Windows Operating Systems. Tahoma also supports various Unicode characters, making it easy to create newsletters in multiple languages.

Red Bull’s email marketing designs often incorporate the Tahoma font for its legibility and minimalistic aesthetic.

Tahoma font in email
Source: MailCharts

Web fonts

Different brands want to stand out in their own ways, and one way to do that is through web fonts. While regular fonts are installed on an operating system, web fonts are designed specifically for use on websites and are not available on all devices and OS by default. The font you choose for your email will only display properly if it is compatible with the email service provider your recipients use. If the font you choose is not compatible, they will see the default font for their email provider, or a fallback font that you specified when designing the email.

Choose a web font only if you are aware of which email providers your recipients use. This way, you can avoid any potential font compatibility issues.

Some common web fonts include Open Sans and Roboto.

Open Sans

Open Sans is a typeface that was designed for mobile devices. It is easy to read and has been officially supported by Gmail. This makes it a great choice for email campaigns that favor minimalism.

Motorola’s use of Open Sans is ideal for its email newsletter designs. The headline is eye-catching and allows the reader to understand the message quickly, while the body text underneath is easy to read. In addition to the headline and body text, Motorola also uses Open Sans for its CTA button to make it as clear as possible.

An example of Open Sans font in email
Source: Moosend

Roboto

The Roboto typeface is a sans-serif font that was created by Google for the Android operating system. It has a modern geometric style that makes it look sleek and up-to-date. Since it was designed specifically for mobile devices, it is very user-friendly and easy to read on screens.

Razer’s email campaign uses the Roboto typeface to create a modern and stylish look. The brand uses both white and green font colors to make its message more unique. Razer also uses Arial Black for its CTA, which works well with the Roboto typeface.

An example of Roboto font in email
Source: MailCharts

Email providers that support web fonts include Apple Mail, iOS Mail, Outlook app, Google Android, Outlook for Mac, Thunderbird, and Samsung Mail.

Custom fonts

You can create your own personal font, which is even more attractive than the most popular typefaces. You need custom fonts to create an individual style for a particular brand, something you won’t find anywhere else. Custom fonts help you stand out from the competition and build a strong brand association with the user.

Custom fonts are used by companies such as Apple, Nokia, IBM, BBC, Netflix, etc.

Below is an example of a custom typeface developed by Netflix.

Custom font from Netflix
Source: Netflix

If you want to use custom or premium fonts in your email template, you need to install them on the system server, embed them in the HTML, and make changes to it if necessary. This can be tricky, because not all email clients support custom fonts. Some that do render custom typefaces are Apple Mail, iOS Mail, Android Mail (Native app), AOL Mail, Thunderbird. However, many popular email clients don’t support custom fonts, including all major webmail clients such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Outlook.com.

Things to consider when choosing the typeface

The typeface you choose for your email can make it or break it. To make the right selection, keep a few things in mind.

The number of fonts you are going to use

If you use too many fonts in your writing, it will appear over-saturated and could be quite annoying. One or two fonts are enough to use in one email. It is ideal to only use one font, but in different sizes. The larger size should be used for headings and the smaller size for the rest of the text.

Font size

The appropriate font size for headlines, body copy, and footer text depends on the overall design of the newsletter and the sizes of other email elements. A good rule of thumb is to use a font size between 10 and 14 pixels for body copy (and some experts even recommend a size of at least 14 pixels), and between 10 and 12 pixels for footer text.

Different fonts can look better or worse depending on the weight and size. Test out how a font looks at each size to make sure it won’t negatively impact the user experience.

Roboto, for instance, is an effective typeface to use for both large and small sizes.

Roboto typeface in different sizes
Source: Toptal

Font alignment

There is no single opinion about which text alignment is better. It all comes down to personal preferences. Nevertheless, experts consider side-aligned paragraphs to be the most convenient to read. It is easy to scan and it provides enough white space for the eyes to rest.

Below is a good  example of text alignment on the left edge.

The left-side alignment in email
Source: Really Good Emails

Colors

If the color of your font is unpleasant to look at, it won’t matter how good the font itself is. Make sure to choose font colors that go well with the email background images — light-colored fonts look good against dark-colored backgrounds and vice versa. Try to use no more than three colors total, and make sure they all work well together.

This email is very colorful, with the brand using at least 2 different colors. However, the font color is consistent. The dark blue color of the font is used for the headline as well as the email body, creating a cohesive look.

The combination of colors in email
Source: Really Good Emails

Spacing

Different fonts have different widths for their characters, so the spacing between letters (kerning) will vary depending on the typeface you choose. It’s best to avoid fonts that don’t have a wide range of positive or negative letter spacing, as this can make the text difficult to read.

Readability

Readability is one of the most important aspects of a typeface. If the message cannot be read, then the typeface has not done its job. Readability refers to how easy it is to distinguish and read different words. The size of the font can have a big impact on readability. A font that looks good at 18 pixels might be illegible at 10 pixels. So you should keep this fact in mind.

Another obstacle might be a long wall of text without any subheadings, breaks, or sections. To make your copy more readable, create different sections within the text. Each one should focus on a specific idea or subject. This will help your readers follow along and understand your main points.

This message would be much easier to read if it had a visual division of the text into blocks and subheadings with the main idea.

Example of a hard-to-read message
Source: Really Good Emails

Clarity

The fonts that work best in email copy are those with clean lines and precise lettering. Avoid fonts with flourishes or squiggles, as well as those with very thin or light lines. Larger font sizes are also generally more effective. When choosing a font size, make sure it is large enough to be easily readable, but not so large that it appears bold.

Email fonts to avoid in your campaigns

There are certain font styles that should be avoided when writing business emails, as they can come across as unprofessional.

Comic Sans

It is generally best to avoid the Comic Sans MS font, as it can come across as unprofessional and childish. This font is often used for birthday invitations or other informal events, but not for business correspondence. Using a more sophisticated font will help to reflect the image you want your brand to project.

Comic Sans font

Curlz

It’s better to avoid the Curlz font in email design as the extra curls on each letter can be visually distracting. Plus, it makes the text harder to read.

Curlz is not an appropriate typeface for any serious or formal text. It should only be used for playful applications, such as invitations for a young child’s birthday party.

Worst fonts example — Curlz
Source: Company Folders

Trajan

Trajan is not a good choice for business communications. It may be okay to use on limited occasions in the entertainment industry, but it is not suitable for email marketing campaigns. The font is too dramatic and is better suited for movie posters than emails.

Trajan font example
Source: BoredPanda

How to change the email font

To change/customize fonts and colors in an email in the Selzy email builder, go to the Settings tab.

Setting tab in the Selzy email builder

Here you can set the width of the email (template) and text alignment, customize the background color of the whole template, set the color of the content block, customize the template font and the color of the links.

Key email settings in Selzy email builder

To change the fonts in your template, choose from the “web-safe” fonts options. These are fonts that will show up correctly in all email clients and browsers. You can’t use rare fonts because they aren’t recognized by email clients or browsers. Selzy suggests using standard “web-safe” fonts for your mailings.

Changing the font in email

Conclusion

  1. There are four main font families: Serif, Sans-serif, Script, and Decorative. Each font family has its own distinct personality traits.
  2. There are different types of fonts: system (or email-safe), web fonts, custom fonts. For email campaigns, the better choice to opt for is system fonts since they are compatible with a wide range of devices, and are less likely to cause problems.
  3. Different fonts can create different effects. Choose the right one for your needs. For example, a decorative font might not be appropriate for a more serious message.
  4. Stick with fonts that are known to be readable and professional-looking. The font should be easy to read in different sizes and have clean lines without flourishes. Among such typefaces are New Roman, Open Sans, and Helvetica fonts.
  5. Pay attention to the size of the font, as too small of a font can be difficult to read. The best size for business email fonts is 10-14px (and sometimes even larger).
  6. Pay attention to colors. Too many colors can be overwhelming, so stick to three or fewer.
  7. Before sending out your message, test the display of the text in various email clients and on different devices to ensure that it looks OK.
  8. Always set fallback options that will work on devices that don’t support modern fonts. This way, your content will still be readable no matter the device.

Do you have a font formatting tip that makes your emails work better?

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