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Role of Typography: Choosing the best font for email [Infographic]

Category : Email Design

From the text you received on your mobile, an article in a newspaper to the pavement sign on your way to work, the email on your device and even this blog you are reading, all have a common factor. But you will notice that in all the above scenarios, the words do not look the same i.e. the fonts used are different in each case. Why? What difference does it make?

In each scenario, you are reading a series of characters placed as per vocabulary. Your eyes follow the way each character is stylized and derive the emotion they imply. Finally, your brain combines the words, reads, and the emotions implied by each character present to you the final message.

So when you read an article in a newspaper, your brain automatically perceives that the message is informative and authenticated. When you flip through a comic book, the wiggly text conveys a casual and humorous tone. In case of email too, based on the font used, you shall experience different emotions. So choosing the best font for email is necessary

Use of best font for email and need for fallback fonts

Even though there are many different types of fonts, they can be generally categorized based on the way in which each character is modeled.

Serif Fonts: The characters in the serif fonts have these small “swishes” or flourishes that tend to connect with other characters to give an overall flow to the words.

Sans Serif Fonts: The characters in this font category are ‘sans’ the little flourishes and hence given an impression of individual characters with an overall clean look.

Calligraphy: Those cursive letters used commonly for Valentine’s Day messages were adapted to make a category called Calligraphy fonts. Although very aesthetic looking, paragraphs written in calligraphy style are quite hard to read at times and affect overall readability.

Miscellaneous: All the different kinds of fancy fonts come under this category and are mostly used for logos and brand designs and not in actual body copy.The way any font is rendered

The way any font is rendered in your devices is dependent on the availability of the specific font i.e. if the font is installed in the device. So there are some fonts that are installed by default and are called system fonts. For custom fonts that may not be installed in the recipient’s device, email developers make use of @import and @font-face to render the custom font specifically.
But only handful email clients support it:

  • AOL mail
  • Native Android Email client
  • Apple mail
  • iOS mail
  • Outlook 2000
  • Outlook.com App
  • Safari Browser

For those email clients which don’t support custom fonts, you need to provide appropriate fallback font. To learn the process behind selecting fallback fonts and also how formatting & emphasis of your text affects the engagement level of emails, refer to this awesome infographic titled “Typography in Emails“.

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Kevin George
Kevin is the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks, one of the fastest growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices at EmailMonks Blog.

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