Best fonts for emails: How to make your emails look great and easy to read

So you want to make your emails look great, but you’re not a designer? No worries! Here’s how to pick the right font.

Coming up with the best fonts for emails can be a challenging and time-consuming task. Which typeface will improve the readability of your message? What color combinations and font size should you use to hold your subscribers’ attention? 

We’ve got you covered! By the end of this article, you’ll know how to choose the best typeface and font settings for your brand. Plus, we’ll give you an expert’s list of email-friendly fonts. Read on to learn the basic principles of typography for your emails.

Why fonts matter

People usually spend about 10 seconds looking through brand emails. Besides a catchy subject line and attention-grabbing imagery, typography is one of the critical elements users notice about your message. To make the most of these 10 seconds, it’s crucial to use the best fonts for emails that you can.

Email-friendly fonts that render correctly in all the major email providers will make your messages easier to read. Fonts can also affect the tone of your company’s message. 

Here are two principles to follow so your emails have the same vibe as your company, look great, and are easy to read:

Align your font with your brand

Did you know that fonts can be professional, casual, technical, etc.? It’s true! Choosing a font that represents your company’s voice and style is crucial — and not just on your website. In your emails, too!

If you don’t know where to start, choose a font that complements your visual branding. It will make your messages feel more familiar and help you gain trust with your audience, leading to better engagement. 

Make it easy to read

If your emails are hard to read, they’re less likely to be read. Legible fonts help readers scan your email, identify key points, and make quick sales decisions. 

Even something as minor as italics can affect your emails’ readability. Research shows that people need 50% more time to read italic font styles in contrast to regular typefaces.

plain versus italic reading speed

Serif vs. sans-serif fonts

There are two major types of fonts to consider when designing your messages: serif and sans serif. 

Serif fonts are equipped with a small tail or “serif” at the end of every symbol. The most common representatives of this family are Times New Roman and Georgia.

Sans-serif fonts come without such a “tail.” The most recognizable examples of these fonts include Arial and Helvetica.

serif vs sans serif

15 email-safe fonts

The best fonts for emails can be viewed properly across all email providers. Whether your customers use Gmail, Apple Mail, Yahoo, or Microsoft Outlook, these fonts will look the same. 

Here’s a list of email-safe typefaces that will look consistent, no matter which email client your subscribers view them in:

1. Arial

this is what the typeface Arial looks like

Font family: sans-serif

Arial’s soft curves make this typeface look less stiff. It may not be the perfect match if you require something extra special, but it’s a fantastic option for users looking for a classy font to complement their emails. 

2. Helvetica

This is what the typeface Helvetica looks like. Helvetica is one of the best fonts to use in emails.

Font family: sans-serif

This trendy font is an excellent pick for catchy titles and slogans. But its letters are placed close together, making it tough to read for longer texts. 

3. Times New Roman

This is what the typeface Times New Roman looks like

Font family: serif

Well, you are definitely familiar with this one. Times New Roman is a default option safe to use anywhere. Because of its narrow letters, we recommend you apply this typeface to headings only. You can also combine it with edgy imagery to develop a mix of traditional and trendy styles. 

4. Verdana

this is what the typeface Verdana looks like

Font family: sans-serif

Verdana was designed for low-resolution screens. With its wide low-case letters, the font is an excellent pick for email body copy. 

5. Courier New

Courier New is one of the best fonts to use in emails.

Font family: slab-serif (a form of the serif typeface)

This font has an authentic typewriter-like appearance. It’s more suitable for screenwriting and manuscripts, but Courier New can be a nice match for your emails if it aligns with your niche.

6. Tahoma

Tahoma is one of the best fonts to use in emails.

Font family: sans-serif

Designed for on-screen use, this typeface has the same length of its upper and lower case characters. It resembles Verdana, but Tahoma has narrower symbols and tighter letter spacing.

7. Georgia

Georgia is another one of the best fonts to use in emails.

Font family: serif

You’ve probably seen Georgia in newspapers or books. It’s a perfect option if you want your content to look official and trustworthy. You can also use it for longer emails as its wide-spaced characters provide a high level of legibility.

8. Palatino

example of palatino font

Font family: serif

This sophisticated font with thin lines was made for titles and ads. Palatino makes it easy to read longer text passages combined with visual content.

9. Trebuchet MS

example showing trebuchet font

Font family: sans-serif

Equipped with subtle curves, this typeface will give your email an artistic touch. Its decorative features don’t look distracting, but we still recommend you use Trebuchet MS for short copy as it’s crucial not to overload your readers.

10. Geneva

example showing geneva font

Font family: sans-serif

This traditional font with a modern twist is an enhanced interpretation of Helvetica. Its thin lines and elegant appearance make Geneva look great in email body copy. 

11. Helvetica Now

example of helvetica now font

Font family: sans-serif

Released in 2019, it’s an excellent choice for those looking for a contemporary and stylish option. 

12. Futura

example of Futura font

Font family: sans-serif

We have an absolute classic here for you. Designed in 1927, Futura is one of the best fonts for emails. It will help you grab your readers’ attention in no time. Its great readability enables people to process longer passages much faster. 

13. Public Sans

Public Sans font example

Font family: sans-serif

A stylish font with thick lines. It was developed for the U.S. to ensure their online resources delivered a unified visual message. 

14. Calibri

Calibri font example

Font family: sans-serif

This attention-grabbing and elegant typeface with rounded stems and corners is one of the most legible options for your messages. Whether you want to use it for CTA buttons or for an email body, Calibri will give your words more impact. 

15. Jam Grotesque

Jam Grotesque is one of the best fonts for emails. It's modern, easy-to-read, and distinctive.

Font family: sans-serif

Looking amazing both in print and online, this outstanding font combines a captivating style with legibility. A great choice if you want to add a special touch to your emails.

These are the best fonts to use in emails

Avoid custom fonts in emails

You might be tempted to use custom fonts to accentuate your style or hold readers’ attention. In any case, it’s vital to remember that if a particular email client doesn’t support your custom font, it will be substituted with a default typeface. 

  • Gmail — Arial;
  • Microsoft Outlook — Calibri;
  • Apple Mail — Helvetica.

Here’s how a font can look when an email client doesn’t support it, or “render” it correctly:

This is an email with the custom “Great Vibes” font for the heading and the regular Arial font for bullet points:

How the font Great Vibes looks when it "renders" - or appears - correctly. The best fonts for emails will look good no matter what email client you view them on. Custom fonts don't always work.

Here’s how it renders in Gmail:

How the font Great Vibes looks when it "renders" in Gmail

Here’s how it renders in Outlook:

How the font Great Vibes looks when it "renders" in Outlook

Here’s how it renders in Apple Mail:

How the font Great Vibes looks when it "renders" in Apple Mail

Sometimes, email clients may render a custom font correctly. You never know which fonts will be replaced with the default ones and which will render correctly. So, you need to test them.

Email typography best practices

Size matters 

An unsuitable font size can ruin an email campaign. An overly large typeface will look oppressive and disarranged. A tiny font will make recipients squint to read it. We recommend choosing 22-28 px for headings and 14-18 px for an email body for both web and mobile users. Don’t forget to send yourself test variants to make sure they look appealing and display properly. 

when you're choosing the best fonts for emails, consider font size as well as styling

Use bold font to emphasize key points

But, don’t make your content messy by combining bold, italic, and underlined font styles. 

This distracting text is bold, italicized, and underlined.

Usually, a single font style is just what you need, but you can use bold if you want to make certain phrases pop. Still, don’t underline anything in your email and avoid applying italic typeface because of email accessibility issues. 

Use contrasting colors

Contrasting colors make for attention-grabbing and easy-to-read emails.

Make your emails accessible to color-blind readers by avoiding red letters on a green background. 

Stay away from white text on a gray background. We suggest sticking to black or dark gray colors on a white background and a white font on a black background. 

Don’t underline links

Underlined links distract dyslexic recipients and make it challenging for them to read your emails. Instead, make your links bold. Readers will understand that they need to click or tap on it to get more information. 

an example of text that's linked but not underlined

(Source: Email from Really Good Emails)

Choose two font colors only

Use colors to reflect your branding, and don’t combine more than two font colors in your emails. By including just two colors, your text will be more readable and clean.

Looking to draw readers’ attention? Try a bold font instead of more colors.

Sometimes using the best fonts for emails means using colors and styling carefully. Try using bold rather than adding more font colors.

(Source: Email from AWeber)

Left-align all text 

Left-align your messages to make them easy to scan. If your audience includes customers speaking a language with right-to-left alignments like Persian, Urdu, or Arabic, you can right-align your emails to suit your recipients’ needs.

Final thoughts on the best fonts for your emails

Using legible and eye-catching fonts will make your email stand out from the crowd of competitors and bring value to your audience. Once your message is opened, the proper font style becomes one of the main factors that persuade recipients to continue reading. 

With our list of the best fonts for emails and how to use them, you can create appealing and responsive messages in no time.


AWeber

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