The fonts you use in your mailing will determine how legible your text is, give your words emphasis, set mood and emotion behind those words, and make your newsletter cohesive.
Any font used in your newsletter has to be available on your subscriber’s computer in order for it to be displayed properly. For this reason you need to ensure that the font you are using is commonly used on the majority of your subscriber’s computers so that your mailing looks the same for everyone.
What are the most common newsletter fonts?
The most commonly used fonts are Times New Roman and Arial. Other commonly used fonts include Comic Sans M S, Tahoma, and Verdana.
Keep in mind that what looks good in print does not necessarily translate well onto the computer screen. Times New Roman is the default for most web browsers, possibly because most books and printed media use this font for its readability, but studies show that on the computer screen users overwhelmingly find Arial easier to read.
There is a slight preference for Arial over Verdana at the 12 pt font level and an overwhelming preference for Verdana at the 10 pt level. For this reason we have found that of all the commonly used fonts most people prefer Verdana at 10 pt or Arial at 12 pt.
There are other fonts that your subscribers may find easy to read such as Georgia, which was developed by Microsoft for its readability, but we suggest staying away from this as it is not as widely installed on all computers.
Should you use more than one font in an email?
Never include too many fonts in a single email. If you do use more than one font in your newsletter then limit yourself to using only two or three different fonts. It is perfectly acceptable to use one font for your headlines and another font for your body text. This will avoid making your newsletter cluttered and unattractive to your subscribers.
Newspapers typically use only one font style and size in their articles and only one or two style elements in their articles. If your text exceeds the size of your layout you should cut out words rather than reduce the size of your fonts.
Remember, the more succinct your writing is the more weight your words will carry.
When to use style elements in a newsletter
Style elements are what you use to give emphasis to your text. Rather than overusing fonts it’s suggested that you instead focus on style elements (bold, italics, etc.).
Bold text is used to give emphasis or weight to your words. It commonly used on headlines, short phrases, entire sentences, captions, as we well as stand-alone words or phrases. A word of caution when using bold text in the middle of a paragraph—you will take attention away from your surrounding text.
If you want to only emphasize one word use italics rather than bold print. Italics are used for emphasis (whether it’s a single word or short phrase in a body of text). It can also be used for subheadings, proper names, and titles.
Another way of adding emphasis to words is by using a different font color. If you do this then you will need to remember to use darker text against lighter backgrounds or your words will be difficult to read. You can also use different colors when emphasizing headlines or subheadings.
You typically will find people using different text colors when adding contrast for links against other text, readability against background color, and to match font with design elements in their email.
For more tips read our articles on email design, newsletter ideas, and email copywriting.