The font of the text is one of the most important elements for all communication materials: brochures, articles on the web, emails, etc. The right text font contributes to the design and aesthetic feeling, text readability and reader’s perception, also conveys the mood of the message.

Perhaps, it means that a mistake made in choosing the font can determine your unsuccessful campaign.

Please, don’t think that I want to threaten you. The purpose of this post is to make you aware of the email safe fonts and alternatives while creating your email campaigns.

Why should you be careful about picking the font for your campaign?

The first thing about choosing a right font is a match between the font and the topic you are writing about.

For example, Times New Roman typeface is famous for being used in the documents. Hundreds of pages of my Bachelor and Master final theses are written in Times New Roman… So probably it is not the best typeface to use in the newsletter trying to make a friendly connection with your subscribers.

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Another good example is Comic Sans font. Would you use your bank service if it sent flyers, bills and emails written in Comic Sans? I have doubts about it, because the font looks unsophisticated and not trustworthy at all.

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The Comic Sans font has received a lot of attention even from scientists. They provide studies why it is so hateful by people. For the sake of general understanding, I’m including a short video explaining the Comic Sans phenomenon.

The second thing is technical reasons. Not all email clients (such as Gmail, Apple Mail, Outlook) can display various fonts equally. They all have several default fonts that are set to be displayed and they differ from each other. The rest large selection of fonts are not available to see on your subscribers’ devices unless they have installed them. So what would be a solution to avoid a mismatch?

Use email-safe fonts

An email, very similar as the web, has a list of fonts that are considered to be safe to use. It means that using them all your subscribers will see your text the same way.

The most popular email-safe fonts are these: Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, Georgia, Tahoma, Lucida, Trebuchet and Times. In the table at the end of this post, you will see that email-safe fonts also have fallbacks. Don’t worry – the alternatives are so similar that no-one will notice the difference.

Custom fonts

Sometimes it is not enough to use email-safe fonts. The reasons for this might be various, one of it – a need to follow brand identity.  In this case email service providers offer to import the font you want to the custom email HTML by yourself and offer a fallback if needed (~ 50% of cases).

Recently Omnisend added extra fonts to custom template creator, so you don’t need to code or insert anything on your own. If a particular device does not display a certain custom font, it is being changed to the similar fallback font. We take care of it. It means that you are safe to choose any of the fonts and be sure that your newsletters will look good anyway.

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What subscribers will be able to see your custom fonts?

  • Apple iPhone users
  • Apple iPad users
  • Apple Mail on OS X users

According to Litmus, about half of your subscribers will be able to see custom fonts. You can always check in your Google Analytics (Audience -> Behavior -> Operating System) account what percent of your subscribers use Apple devices and Apple mail.

Bellow you can find a complete list of fonts supported on Omnisend with a complete list of fallback fonts, so you would know, what to expect.

Font name

Fallback 1Fallback 2Font type
EMAIL SAFE:
  ArialSans
  VerdanaSans
  HelveticaArial (on Windows)Sans
  TimesTimes New Roman (on Windows)Serif
  GeorgiaSerif
  TahomaGeneva (on Mac)Sans
  LucidaSerif
  TrebuchetSans
CUSTOM:
  PT SansVerdanaArialSans
  Source Sans ProVerdanaArialSans
  PT SerifGeorgiaSerif
  Open SansVerdanaArialSans

  Abril Fatface

Georgia

Serif

  Playfair DisplayGeorgia

Serif

  Poiret One

VerdanaArial

Sans

  Ubuntu

VerdanaArial

Sans

  Roboto

VerdanaArial

Sans

  Oswald

VerdanaArial

Sans

  Lobster

Georgia

Calligraphic

  DosisVerdanaArial

Sans

  AntonVerdanaArial

Sans

Though, the web fonts, as well as email fonts are an issue for lots of internet users, the offered fallback fonts are the ones that you usually use anyway. So why not to experiment and make a campaign with new fonts!

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