7 Tips on Creating Effective Emails with the Perfect Fonts

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Picking the Perfect Font for Email

7 Tips on Choosing the Perfect Fonts for Your Emails

February 7, 2022
8 minutes


Have you ever confused one letter for another when reading something? So that you had to do a double-take for a moment to figure out what’s being said? Take a look at the following image:

coco chanel design fail.jpg Image credit: imgur.com

Does the caption, in red, within the image read “I love Cow” or “I love Coco”, or something else altogether? This is nothing but just another typical example of a bad font choice. And organizations from small businesses and startups to big enterprises can make this mistake.

The font you choose in your designs and marketing collaterals matters a lot, especially when it comes to digital and email marketing. Consumers’ perceptions of your brand are influenced by font style and font size. Your typeface can help reinforce a specific theme, add to the overall feel and personality of work, and make or break your message, thus significantly impacting your business.

Our discourse is limited to choosing the perfect fonts for emails only in this post. It would, however, definitely give you a general idea of the factors you must consider before choosing your fonts for other platforms as well.

7 Tips to pick the perfect fonts for your emails

1. Choose fonts that line up with your brand image

Fonts exist in a variety of styles and sizes, and the way letters are displayed in email clients, including their shape and spacing, can have an influence on your audience. The typeface you select has its own personality and offers a distinct message. So if anything doesn’t seem quite right, or doesn’t match your messaging or overall brand image, potential prospects will notice and be repelled.

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Take the following example:

bad font example.jpg Image Credit: bonfx.com

Ogden Nash’s poem, “This is Going to Hurt Just a Little Bit”, has these lines: “Because some tortures are physical and some are mental, but the one that is both is dental.”

Dr. Brown’s choice of fonts seems to acknowledge the poet’s verses!

Therefore, fonts that match your message and brand image attract your prospects and help maintain recipients’ attention and increase click-through rates.

2. Legibility is more important than beauty

Sometimes you can become so obsessed with designing visually appealing emails that you compromise on clarity. And the result is an unclear, unreadable email that a recipient closes at once.

In 2010, Norbert Schwarz and Hyunjin Song conducted an experiment on font readability. They concluded that reading a fancy typeface takes roughly twice as long as reading a standard, easy-to-read font:

legibility fonts.png Image Credit: neurosciencemarketing.com

When it comes to legibility, fonts are divided into two categories: serif and sans serif. Fonts with a tiny line at the end of each character are known as serif fonts. Times New Roman and Georgia are the most common serif fonts.

sans vs serif.png Image Credit: font.com

Those fonts without a decorative line at the end of each symbol are known as sans serif fonts. Arial, Trebuchet MS, and Helvetica are the most popular sans-serif fonts safe for emails.

Various sources claim that serif fonts are best for emails. But the fact that emails are exclusively seen online on desktop or mobile displays, sans serif fonts are the best. On the screen, sans-serif characters are easier to read.

3. Choose fonts that align with the type of message

The perfect fonts for emails are determined by the message you wish to send. The chosen typographic style should complement and strengthen the overall message rather than contradict it. It should also fit with your entire brand character and the picture you want to project in the minds of your target audience. So, before choosing the fonts, it’s essential to ask yourself a few questions: what kind of message do you want to convey? Is the email about anything playful and fun? Is it more formal and substantial in tone?

All of this should influence your font selection. Use professional typefaces and fonts while sending a business email. Times New Roman, Helvetica, and Arial are the most used business email typefaces. These fonts will ensure that the same style is transmitted as you would while using business terminology in a conference.

4. Choose an optimum size for your fonts

Avoid using fonts that are too small. This is especially important, keeping in mind that most people read emails on their mobile nowadays. The importance of responsive design cannot be overstated. Mobile users cannot read small characters, so a minimum of 14 pixels is required, but you can use a minimum of 16px if you want to play it safe.

Email-Safe-Fonts_Working-on-Emailing-Font-Size.png Image Credit: stripo.email

Mobile clients account for 41.6% of email opens, followed by 40.6% for webmail and 16.2% for desktop. Isn’t that a compelling argument to pay attention to this detail? Even if you have high-quality content, an unreadable email is likely to be deleted in under 3 seconds in more than 70% of cases. Instead of deleting, up to 15% of users will even go as far as opting to unsubscribe. Overall, that’s an 85% reduction in potential mobile clients.

Too large fonts are also unappealing and sometimes even seem offensive. They give the feeling of someone shouting at you and, thus, are a big turn-off. If your audience consists of septuagenarians and octogenarians, you can increase the font size so they can read it without their glasses.

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5. Use the rule of two for fonts and font styles

If you use too many fonts in your email, it will be difficult to read, and unpleasant to the eye. For one email, use only one or two fonts. Ideally, you’d only need to use one font in two sizes: one to highlight the heading and another for the body of your content.

Also, do not mix regular, bold, and italic font types in your emails. If you use more than two, your emails will appear cluttered. In most cases, one font style suffices. If you want to draw attention to something, use the bold font type.

6. Use contrast colors and keep the number of colors to minimum

Only employ the colors that are already part of your brand identification. If you want to use more than three colors in your email -don’t. It will make the text illegible and the email messy. Use a bold font to highlight a single line or phrase instead of using a different color, which will make your email unclear.

If you’re going to utilize bright colors, which many of us do around the holidays, make sure you choose contrasting colors. Red lettering should not be used over green buttons, and white should not be used over grey. For those with good eyesight, it may appear festive enough. Colorblind folks, however, may not be able to read it.

Good designers frequently choose black or dark grey for email content. It improves readability. The only exception is when the background is black. Then a white font should be used.

Color_Emotion_Guide221.jpg Image Credit: The Logo Company

7. Perform A/B test with different fonts

Testing plays a vital role in email marketing. To choose the best font, it’s a good idea to preview your email in multiple environments. Also, if you’re unsure which font to use, create an email with the identical content written in two different fonts. Send the first email to half of your list, and the second email to the other half. Then choose the email, and the respective font, with the highest open and click-through rates.

The Top 5 fonts for emails

1. Arial

Arial is a popular sans serif font found in both print and digital media. The font is well-known for being adaptable, modest, and straightforward. Arial is frequently used, so it should be avoided if you want to stand out.

2. Helvetica

Helvetica is ideal for headlines and logos but not for the body of an email. Longer texts are difficult to read since the letters are close together.

3. Georgia

Georgia is a serif font created by Microsoft and is extensively used in newspapers and periodicals. Because of its widespread use, the font has gained a reputation for being authoritative and formal. Because of the well-defined serifs and wide-spaced letters, Georgia is an excellent choice for longer email content.

4. Trebuchet MS

Released in 1996, Trebuchet MS has become one of the most well-known web-safe fonts. It has neat tiny flicks at the beginnings and ends of letters that serve as readability guidelines without detracting too much from the letter’s major features, as complete serifs do.

5. Times New Roman

This serif font was created by the Times newspaper and is one of the most popular font types of all time. It’s a font known for being authoritative, traditional, and classic. We recommend using it only for headlines because the narrow letters make reading hefty sentences difficult.

A wrap up:

When sending email communications to prospects and consumers, using just any font will not suffice. In fact, choosing the wrong font might have a detrimental impact on your conversion rate. As a result, the fonts you choose should be email-safe, provide an excellent first impression, and be easy to read. With the 7 tips we’ve provided, you will now make informed decisions and pick the perfect fonts for your upcoming email campaign. If you’re seeking solutions or services in graphic design, ManyPixels can be your one-stop design solution partner for marketing collaterals, web design, social media graphics, and illustrations.

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Guest Writer: Rochelle Williams

February 7, 2022

Rochelle Williams is a Senior Marketing Manager at Span Global Services, a renowned database company offering salesforce customers list. She has a strong marketing and advertising industry background and a deep understanding of SEO, SEM, SMO, branding, and allied marketing strategies.