When tasked with creating company collateral, many marketing departments have mandated style guides to draw from. The colors, fonts, and sometimes even text justifications don’t provide any room for modifications – usually for good reason.
Occasionally, say for a holiday card or co-branded presentation, there’s an opportunity to try new things. After so many months of relying on preset guidelines, where does one begin to create from scratch. Yikes!
We’ve compiled a few tips for what the best options are when selecting fonts for use on web pages, landing pages, and even emails. In reality, when communicating online, there are not countless options available to you – at least not today.
Why does it matter what you use? Well, some fonts don’t render properly, or display across different types of operating systems or browsers very well. Plus, sans-serif fonts are going to be easier to read on mobile devices, which is where close to 50% of your traffic is probably coming from.
First, you’ll want to go with a typeface that’s commonly available.
Long-time Creative Director John Cassella states: “Use only standard web-safe fonts to design your email blast. Web-safe fonts are cross-platform fonts that increase the likelihood your intended fonts will be displayed as chosen and that any substitute fonts required will be similar alternatives.”
Commonly used web-fonts include:
- Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif
- Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif
- Courier New, Courier, monospace
- Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif
- Tahoma, Geneva, sans-serif
- Trebuchet MS, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif
- Arial Black, Gadget, sans-serif
- Times New Roman, Times, serif
- Palatino Linotype, Book Antiqua, Palatino, serif
- Lucida Sans Unicode, Lucida Grande, sans-serif
- MS Serif, New York, serif
- Lucida Console, Monaco, monospace
- Comic Sans MS, cursive (use at your own peril)
Awwwards.com recommends a few Google Web Fonts, which are free, but might not have the highest quality. (However, be advised, Microsoft Outlook does not support Google Web Fonts.) They recommend:
- Open Sans
- Josefin Slab
- Abril Fatface
- PT Sans + PT Serif
- Old Standard TT
- Droid Sans
Email campaigns might be the trickiest. It’s tough to find a webfont that translates well AND is approved by your art director. When in doubt, go simpler. An old, but still surprisingly valid study of fonts seen online revealed that Verdana at 10 points is the easiest on the eyes. And it comes up on blog posts from many of the most common email service providers.
For consistency, try to use the same font across each platform (email, landing page, etc.) or at least the same typeface, when designing a digital campaign. The last thing you want to do is distract the reader from the call to action with a message that is hard to read.