You haven’t experienced true agony if you’ve never read a hand-written doctor’s prescription. Your audience feels the same when reading email content written in a bad font style.
On average, people spend 13.4 seconds reading an email. The latter is prolonged when unreadable fonts are chosen. Longer reading times lead to frustrated prospects - which is something you don’t want.
This article discusses the 10 best fonts for email, so they not only get opened but read as well. Make sure to check the best practices for email fonts at the end!
Why Fonts Matter?
We’ve got a short (read: fun) exercise for you. Read the following text as quickly as you can.
If you’re anything like us, you had a tough time reading the passage. If it were written in an easy-to-read font, you’d know instantly that the text is actually the lyrics to the well-famed Backstreet Boys song, "I Want It That Way."
The fonts you choose either make or break your email campaign’s success. 70% of readers will delete an email within 3 seconds if not properly displayed or formatted.
Fonts are important since they affect the overall mood of an email. Just like colors, fonts have personality characteristics. If the email you’re sending is raising funds for an earthquake aftermath, choosing Comic Sans MS will give the impression that you’re not a credible entity.
Brands maintain their values and persona through the fonts they use. You’d never see Vogue sending emails with copy written in a font inspired by Graffiti.
4 Email Font Families
There are more than 200,000 fonts currently available, and more are on the way. All fonts are categorized into four font families based on similar designs. These font families are like parents, while the different fonts, like Arial and Times New Roman, can be considered their children.
Serif fonts are easily identified by the decorative strokes at the end of each letter. They are considered traditional, formal, old-fashioned, and reliable. Such fonts are ideal for headings and any larger-sized text. The logo of Georgio Armani has been written in serif font.
2. Sans Serif
81% of Americans prefer sans serif fonts over serif ones. As the name implies, fonts that don’t include decorative strokes are referred to as sans serif. Such fonts appear modern, clean, and humanistic. Many are of the view that sans serif fonts are most suitable for an email copy as compared to their counterparts. The Google logo is written in sans serif font.
Script fonts imitate the likes of cursive handwriting. These fonts have been inspired by calligraphy and 17th-century formal writing and denote characteristics of elegant and classic. While not ideal for email usage, such fonts are great for creative headings. Kellogg’s logo is a popular example of script fonts.
Such a font style is artsier than it is practical. Decorative fonts are easily identified through their unique and unconventional design. While we suggest using this style sparingly, decorative fonts are considered creative, bold, and trendy. Fanta’s logo is a fun example of how decorative fonts look like.
Email Font Categories
Now we know the four families that fonts belong to. But what are font categories for emails? Emails are viewed on display screens, be it laptops or mobile devices. Some fonts are installed on the system via font management software, while others are hosted through a web server. Where a font is hosted directly impacts how it appears to the final reader.
Fonts that are installed in one’s computer are referred to as system fonts. The latter is referred to as web (or email) safe fonts as they appear the way intended and perform well on all email service providers. These fonts are like bad habits that never leave your sight, no matter how hard you try.
While critics may label them as boring, these fonts have been designed to be reliable. The email content will appear the same to all your subscribers and on all email providers used.
Web fonts are not installed on the system but instead loaded from a web server. Since it’s not system-based, the fonts need to be supported by a person’s web browser and email service provider.
Many are wary of using such fonts since there’s no guarantee that the content will appear as intended. The solution to this? Fallback fonts. These fonts are pre-installed in one’s system and are hence email safe. If a person uses an old browser or the browser is not compatible with a web font, the email content will be displayed in the fallback font. Arial (sans serif) and Times New Roman (serif) are the most popular web safe fonts.
10 Best Fonts for Email Design
Which fonts look good, are readable, and get your message across easily? And which professional fonts to use in your emails?
The following best fonts for email design have been tried and tested to work well for emails.
Arial is a sans serif font that is widely used both in print and digital media. The font is known for being versatile, modest, and simple. Since it is widely used, critics believe that Arial should be avoided in hopes of standing out.
Another sans serif font, Verdana, was designed specifically for screen displays. Both uppercase and lowercase letters have adequate space between them, making them extremely easy to read. Hence, ideal for the body of an email.
Introduced by Microsoft, Georgia is a serif font that is widely used in newspapers and magazines. This frequent usage has resulted in the font being perceived as authoritative and formal. Georgia is a great choice for longer email content since the well-defined serifs, and wide-spaced letters make it easy to read.
One strong contender in our list of the best fonts for emails is Helvetica. A sans serif font, this typography style is famous for being bold and modern. While perfect for headings and logos, Helvetica is not suitable for an email body. Since the letters are close together, longer texts are challenging to read.
Like Verdana, Tahoma was developed, keeping in mind screen displays. A sans serif font, Tahoma is known for relatively similar lengths of both its upper and lower case letters. This adds to the readability and overall clean appearance.
6. Times New Roman
Developed by the Times newspaper, this serif font is one of the most popular font styles of all time. Times New Roman is known for being authoritative, classic, and traditional. We suggest using this font for headings only since the narrow letters make reading large texts a challenge.
7. Open Sans
Open Sans is a web and sans serif font that has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years. With total views of more than 11 trillion, this font style was designed specifically for digital content. Featuring 10 styles, this font is easy to read and appears minimal, friendly, and simple.
The most popular Google font in 2020, Roboto, was developed for screen displays. A sans serif, web font, Roboto is characterized by high legibility. The full curves and adequate space between letters make it ideal for headings and body text alike.
With total views of almost 1 trillion, Raleway is a sans serif font hosted on the web. It features 18 styles, from Thin 100 to Black 900 - something in store for different elements of an email copy. The letters of Raleway are on the thinner side, which gives it an elegant appearance.
The last on our list of the best fonts for email design is Lato. A sans serif and web font, Lato is ideal for long and complex text passages. The letters are well-rounded, which gives the font style a natural appearance. Lato is known for being simple, friendly, and welcoming.
Each of the best fonts for email is known for its unique attributes and is used best in some or all elements of an email copy. Pick and choose what works for your brand or pair a couple of fonts to witness an increase in your emails’ readability.
Unlayer not only lets you create beautiful-looking emails but gives you full liberty of the fonts you wish to choose. Select from the provided list of best fonts for emails or embed custom fonts as you please. The side-by-side desktop and mobile comparison let you see how the font appears on different screens.
3 Worst Fonts for Email Design
When writing content for emails, be wary of the worst font styles. They not only repel your audience but encourage them to click on the unsubscribe button.
1. Comic Sans MS
If there’s a font that is unanimously disagreed upon for business emails, then it’s Comic Sans MS. This style is similar to that of a child’s handwriting. Using this font style will only mean you’re not serious about the message you aim to convey.
While we’re all for creativity, we suggest you sit this one out. Not only is this font style extremely immature, the added curlz at the end are very distracting. Please do yourself a favor and avoid this font at all costs.
Trajan is a font so disliked for professional communications that even Google Docs doesn’t feature it. The overly dramatic font is best used for movie posters than it is for serious emails.
Email Fonts Best Practices
The best fonts for email won’t do you any good if not properly utilized. Consider the following best practices when using your preferred font styles to generate maximum benefit from them.
Number of Fonts
One should be adventurous but not to the extent that multiple fonts are used. At max, two fonts should be used within an email, one each for the heading and body, ideally.
If the font size is too big, your audience will perceive it as screaming. If too small, your readers will be squinting to make sense of the words written. We suggest sticking between 22-28 pixels for headings and 12-14 pixels for the body for both desktop and mobile screens.
Left, right, center, or justified - which is the best?
You might be quick to say justified because it looks clean. But that’s not the case. The optimal alignment is left since it’s easy to read, scan, and provides enough white space to give your eyes a break.
The right font won’t do you any good if its color is an eyesore. The font colors chosen should complement the background color - light-colored font looks good on a dark-colored background and vice versa. Use no more than three colors, and they should all complement each other.
Web Fonts Usage
While there’s always a risk of using web fonts, brands have now gravitated towards them as they are creative and resonate well with the overall persona. As of 2020, 82% of web pages are using web fonts. It’s only inevitable that email marketers will soon join the bandwagon.
If you’re wary about using such fonts, the safest way is to include them as text displayed over images. This way, you could benefit from the creativity without risking how the font is displayed.
You may think line spacing is not important but look at the below picture. Which reads better?
The ideal spacing ranges between 1.5 to 2 lines. Play around with different line spaces to see which your readers prefer more.
Call to Action Buttons
Your ultimate goal of sending emails is to direct your audience towards a landing page. Call to Action buttons are the perfect way to win your audience’s attention. However, to truly stand out, the font for the CTA button should be different from the font chosen for the email body text.
If you’re confused about which font to choose, design the same email with the content written in two different fonts. Send the first email to one half of your audience and the second to the other half. After then, choose the email (and font) with the higher open and click-through rates.
How to Choose the Best Fonts for Email?
The ultimate decision for the best fonts for email depends upon the message you want to convey. The typography style chosen should complement and reinforce the overall message, not go against it. It should also resonate with your overall brand persona and the image you want to create in your customers’ minds.
Consider the following examples of when best to use certain fonts;
- Times New Roman when discussing your unique selling propositions or highlighting your yearly performance. The authoritative font creates an impact and demands attention.
- Open Sans when showcasing a product line. Since the style appears welcoming, your readers will be more likely to read the email and click on the call to action buttons.
- Helvetica for promotional headings. The bold font style grabs attention, something you want when offering seasonal sales or coupons.
- Arial for lengthy newsletters. The font style is easy to read, and since it’s widely used, readers will feel a sense of familiarity when going over the lengthy passages.
Typography is key when it comes to converting your audience. The right font style adds to legibility and convinces your prospects to continue reading once an email is opened. With our list of the best fonts for emails, you’ll be creating impactful emails in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Fonts for Email
Which fonts are best for official emails?
Here are the 10 best fonts for emails to make them easy to read and scannable.
- Times New Roman
- Open Sans
What is the best font for Outlook emails?
When it comes to emails, it’s best to stick with standard fonts like Arial, Helvetica, or Georgia, as they are more likely to be supported by most systems. However, Outlook has its own default font, Calibri, which is recently replaced by Aptos.
Aptos is a sans serif font made of varying geometric shapes. It is bold, well-defined, directive, and constrained, giving a sleek look to your emails.
What is the best font size for email?
We recommend sticking between 22-28 pixels for headings and 12-14 pixels for the body for desktop and mobile screens.