Here’s a quick font lesson to help you choose the best font for the web: What kind of statement does your font (the style, arrangement, and appearance of your words) make? What kind of mood does it set?
Set your email’s vibe
This doesn’t mean you should go hog-wild with fonts and colors (more on that soon). Take stock of the assets you have to work with—your logo, color schemes, and brand. What personality should your email convey?
- Modern and upbeat?
- Stark and edgy?
- Professional and to-the-point?
Color is an obvious place to start when it comes to creating the right vibe. Keep in mind that darker text on a lighter background tends to work best. We find that charcoal type is a nice alternative to black. If you like bold colors, they often work well for headings.
Make your email legible
What’s the point of sending an email if people have to squint to read it?
Here are some legibility tips:
Don’t use whimsical or decorative typefaces for your email content. Those tend to work better for logos and artwork (e.g., a fun digital version of your signature that you place at the end of your email).
Limit yourself to one or two fonts that match the tone of your brand. Serif fonts (those with lines at the ends of the letters) or sans-serif fonts can both work. Serif fonts—reminiscent of newspapers and typewritten letters—tend to feel more serious and scholarly. Check out this interesting piece on the science of fonts.
Try pairing a serif font for your headings with a sans-serif font for your body text (or vice versa). However, make sure that the two fonts complement each other visually.
Make sure your font size is big enough. With so many people on mobile devices, the digital design world is moving toward larger type.
Use bold and italics sparingly. Generally speaking, avoid all caps. UNLESS YOU WANT PEOPLE TO FEEL LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING AT THEM.
Stick with left alignment for your text unless there’s a compelling design reason to use justified or centered text.
Show readers what’s important
Good websites have strong navigation. Books and magazines are often organized with tables of contents, chapters, and/or sections. Emails also require some organization!
Create a visual hierarchy to help readers scan and navigate the content. Think about function before aesthetics. A few things to keep in mind:
- Depending on how much content you have, you may want to use section titles, headings, and subheadings.
- Avoid long strings of text—try breaking things up with an interesting image or two.
- Use color to draw readers toward your important links and calls to action.
You don’t need to be a fancy-pants designer to create a beautiful font for your email. Just be intentional about setting the vibe, making it legible, and showing readers what’s important. Selecting the best fonts of email will pay off in some nice dividends.