Your emails are a collection of sentences and words. Words are a collection of characters, and characters are a collection of email fonts.
That’s why you need to put the same amount of time and attention toward your email fonts as you do your copywriting—it’s the foundation of your messages.
However, not all fonts are equal, especially when it comes to your email program. The best email-friendly fonts will make your campaigns shine, while the not-so-safe web fonts can make your designs crash and burn.
That might sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true. Anyone who’s sent an email with an unsupported font will know from experience.
Fortunately, you don’t have to guess when it comes to choosing the best email font for your campaigns. Whether you’re designing a brand-new email newsletter or polishing your business email signature, we have the tried-and-true fonts you need.
Here’s everything you’ll learn in this ultimate guide to emails fonts:
- What are email-safe fonts
- Benefits of using the right email font
- 8 best email-friendly fonts
- What is a web-safe email font
- 11 custom HTML email fonts
- Best fonts for email signatures
- Professional email fonts for business
- Best fonts for email newsletters
- Best fonts for email marketing campaigns
- Top fonts for Gmail
- How to optimize your fonts for email
What are email-safe fonts?
Email-safe fonts tend to be accessible on the widest range of computers, devices, and applications. You can (generally) expect these different fonts to load in your recipients’ email inbox, regardless of if they use Outlook or Gmail or an Android or iPhone.
However, email-safe fonts aren’t foolproof. Instead, these give you the best shot at preventing your font from being altered.
Resist the urge to use any ol’ font willy-nilly. Why? Because email clients often don’t display specific special fonts and will default your text to a fallback font (likely one of the email-safe fonts listed below). While this might not sound like a problem, it can impact your emails’ overall design, layout, legibility, and quality.
Benefits of using the right email font
Why does choosing the right email font matter? We’re glad you asked. Instead of just rattling on about design and branding (which have plenty of merits), let’s look at some data-backed reasons for finding the right email font for your campaigns:
- Maximize your recipient’s time: People take twice as long trying to read fancy fonts, but they only spend an average of 11 seconds on an email. Use the right email-safe font, and your customers might read 2x more of your email before taking action or moving on to the next one.
- Boost your conversion rate: Click Laboratory increased form conversion by a whopping 133% by simply changing the font size from 10-point to 13-point and adding a bit of line spacing—that’s it.
- Impact reader judgment: Certain fonts affect how people feel about the content they read. In this study, Baskerville font increased people agreeing with a statement by 1.5%. That might not sound significant, but 1.5% could make a huge difference to your bottom line.
- Improve readability: Most people have no different experience with speed or retention when reading serif vs. sans-serif fonts. However, children, older people, people with limited sight, and those living with dyslexia tend to read sans-serif fonts better.
8 best email-friendly fonts
We found the following to be the most email-friendly and web-safe email fonts. Use these fonts to increase the chance of your email fonts rendering correctly with your recipients:
- Courier New
- Lucida Sans
- Times New Roman
- Trebuchet MS
Arial is one of the more contemporary sans-serif email-safe font options. With it, you’ll find soft and full curves that give it a much more modern feel. Arial is an excellent font for body copy or headlines across email campaigns.
2. Courier New
Courier New has a typewriter-like appearance with easy-to-read serifs. It also doesn’t have a modern look and feel, making it more appropriate for movie scripts and manuscripts than email—but, to each their own.
Georgia is a classic serif font from Microsoft used plenty in newspapers and magazines. It gives an authoritative (and formal) appearance to your emails and is an excellent option for readability if your content is more word-heavy.
Helvetica is arguably the most popular digital font. It’s not great for body copy, but it packs a classy punch when used in titles, brand names, taglines, slogans, and headlines. Helvetica won’t help your brand stand out (everyone uses it), but it’s the epitome of “safe” for more than just being email-friendly.
5. Lucida Sans Unicode
Lucida Sans Unicode is a sans-serif variant of the Lucida font family that’s simple and legible. It also doesn’t have bold or italics variations.
Tahoma, the Microsoft-designed font to help with on-screen display for small-sized text in dialog boxes and menus, translates well to emails’ small and limited real estate nature.
7. Times New Roman
Times New Roman. What list would be complete without it? This tried-and-true email-safe font is safe to use just about anywhere. It’s not a contemporary font (it’s been around for almost 100 years), but it’s space-efficient, legible, and familiar.
8. Trebuchet MS
Trebuchet MS is one of the bolder, digital-friendly fonts with an unmistakable look. While some characters appear classic and typical, others get downright creative (see the “g”).
What is a web-safe email font?
Email-safe and web-safe fonts aren’t the same. Web-safe fonts exist on the (you guessed it) web—which means you won’t find these natively included in operating systems, devices, software, or applications.
These fonts only exist online, and you can add them to your communications and applications with plug-ins and snippets. Most email clients support several web-safe email fonts, but that doesn’t mean there’s overlap between all of them.
For example, Gmail supports Open Sans and Roboto web fonts, but Outlook and Apple Mail don’t. However, each email client has a default font to revert to if it doesn’t support a web font. Here are a few:
- Gmail: Arial
- Apple Mail: Helvetica
- Outlook: Calibri
It’s hard to design one email for Helvetica, another for Roboto, and another for Calibri—that’s why it’s easier to use email-safe fonts that work universally across most email clients. Note that you can change the fallback font.
11 custom HTML email fonts
If you’re going to use a web-safe email font instead of an email-safe font, we recommend selecting (and testing) a font fallback option such as one of the following. Analyze how this looks with both your preferred font and fallback options across devices and email clients to ensure it looks suitable and doesn’t break the format.
Raleway is a sans-serif font with thin, font-weight lines and generous letter spacing for an easy reading experience without wasting page real estate.
Roboto uses friendly and open curves with natural widths to make a font that’s easy on the eyes. It’s also the default font on Android, Google Play, YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Images.
3. Open Sans
Open Sans is a font optimized for print, web, and mobile interfaces thanks to its neutral, friendly look. The upright nature and letter spacing prioritize legibility.
Poppins has a clean look and font style that makes it perfect for headings, subheaders, and standout paragraph copy. It strikes a great balance between playful and professional.
Oswald is a tight, condensed font that lets you squeeze in more characters without sacrificing readability. Use Oswald in headlines to pack a punch without spreading your text too far vertically or horizontally.
Ubuntu font features a contemporary style with a unique flair balancing a striking design with professional use cases.
Merriweather is an open-source serif font designed for digital reading. The characters stretch tall but remain relatively small to increase legibility without wasting space.
Rubik uses slightly rounded corners and low-stroke contrast. Access this open-source typeface for free on Google Fonts.
Quicksand, originally designed for display purposes, is a sans-serif font that still does well in small print sizes, too. It works great for body text in emails.
Oxygen is a web-safe font designed for use on web browsers, desktop computers, and mobile devices. It pairs nicely with Oswald and Quicksand.
Lato is a well-built-out font with 18 styles and weights and 3,000+ glyphs per style. It contains semi-rounded edges and approachable warmth to make it one of Google’s most popular fonts.
Best email fonts for use cases
You don’t have to limit yourself to a single email font for all your emails—certain ones perform better as headers, body copy, or signatures. Below, we’ve listed the best fonts for several email use cases.
Best fonts for email signatures
We recommend using a web-safe font with a fallback, email-safe font for your email signature. Since it’ll likely be the same in most emails, you can spend time optimizing your web-safe version and fallback options to ensure a polished, consistent appearance.
The following web-safe email fonts are our recommendations for email signatures:
- Open Sans
As fallback options, we recommend:
Best professional email fonts for business
Some fonts are playful, while others are more professional—and some unique ones strike a balance of achieving both. However, when it comes to professional email fonts for business, we recommend choosing fonts that display trust and class:
Best fonts for email newsletters
Email newsletters often must pack a ton of great content into a small amount of space. If that’s the struggle you face when designing your campaigns, we recommend the following fonts for email newsletters:
Best fonts for email marketing campaigns
Your email marketing campaigns should use multiple fonts to separate (and distinguish) headlines from the body copy. The following fonts pair well for email marketing campaigns:
- Raleway and Merriweather
- Open Sans and Times New Roman
- Lato and Merriweather
- Roboto and Lato
Best Gmail fonts
Gmail is the most popular email inbox with 1.8 billion active users, and there’s a chance (depending on your demographic) that the vast majority of your audience uses this email client. If that’s the case, you should use a web-safe font optimized for Gmail with fallback options in case recipients use other inboxes. We recommend the following:
- Open Sans
How to optimize your fonts for email
Choosing a font isn’t easy, but we believe in you. Once you’ve finally made your choice, it’s time to optimize your fonts or email campaigns. This includes using them appropriately, increasing the readability, and improving the customer experience.
1. Keep it simple
Remember, the purpose of your font isn’t to get oohs and aahs—it’s to get recipients to read your emails and take action. Keep things simple and on-brand.
Always sacrifice creativity and even on-brand(ness) to improve readability, comprehension, and the user experience. Brand creatives might shake their fist at me for saying it, but that’s the cold, hard truth.
However, the golden medium is when you can blend creativity and user experience to create top-notch emails that strengthen your brand and engagement.
2. Don’t stuff your email inside images
One way to get your fonts (any font) to show up correctly in an email is to add them to embedded images—but this is a big email no-no. While this might make it easy for your creative team to send consistent on-brand email campaigns (all without coding), sending image-only emails is a bad practice. Here’s why from Litmus:
- Your subscribers might have images turned off.
- Visually impaired recipients might not be able to read the email.
- The text of your email won’t be searchable, making it difficult for users to find your email later.
- Emails stuffed with images will load slowly (or not at all).
- It’s challenging to create responsive images that look good across every device.
- Dark mode can do funky things to your images, such as inverting colors.
- Copy edits take forever—instead of just being able to tweak a misspelled word, you’ll have to edit, download, and re-upload a new image.
3. Select a fallback font
Choose and test fallback fonts for your email campaigns, especially if you use web fonts instead of email-safe fonts. Each email client has default fallback options, but you can override this with your selection.
If you choose the wrong fallback font, your email design might collapse and lose its pristine formatting. Find fonts with similar heights, serifs (or sans-serifs), and letter spacing to prevent your design from crashing and burning.
4. Don’t forget font size
Font size can make or break your email campaign. Too big, and you won’t fit in all the necessary text. Too small, and subscribers will struggle to read it.
Email on Acid recommends using at least a font size of 14 pixels. However, some email marketers will increase the font size globally or responsively on mobile devices to 16 pixels or 18 pixels to improve readability.
5. Test your emails before sending
Test your emails before sending them to ensure a desirable look across clients, browsers, and devices (iOS and Android). However, instead of creating accounts on Gmail and Outlook and sending yourself test emails to check on desktop and mobile, use our Email Testing tool.
It’s integrated into our email builder tool, making it easy for you to test while designing instead of waiting until the end. Twilio SendGrid’s Email Testing will also analyze your email to find broken links, display issues, and even spammy content.
6. Limit your email fonts
You don’t want to litter your emails with too many fonts—this can create a distracting, disjointed experience. Instead, we recommend you limit yourself to 2 fonts. And not just any 2 fonts—find fonts that work well together.
Being consistent with how you use fonts in your email is equally important. For example, if you use one font in a headline and another in the body copy, don’t flip-flop between them halfway through the email.
7. Pay attention to line and letter spacing
Regardless of your font choice, you’ll want to look at line and letter spacing when designing your emails. Too little space or too much letter spacing will make reading difficult.
We recommend adding a touch of letter spacing for all uppercase text. Capital letters can sometimes bleed into each other, and a little bit of spacing can go a long way. Also, consider adding letter spacing for smaller-than-usual text. This helps it keep its tiny size without losing readability.
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