Word of the Week – Typography

Posted by Tom Sather on

I’ll admit that I am a fan of typography.  I have three shelves on a bookshelf dedicated to the topic, I enjoy creating my own fonts, and yes, I even own a copy of a documentary about one of the greatest typefaces ever created, Helvetica.  Naturally, I became rather giddy when I ran across three recent articles about typography for email.

Why is typography even important to consider in email marketing?  Obviously good form helps make your copy legible and readable.  Imagine reading an entire email in Old English and you get the point.  Typefaces also create tension and rhythm and they convey a mood and a feeling.  Again, imagine reading an email from your CEO, or a brand you love, written in Comic Sans.  What does that say about that person or brand?  Would you have the same respect for your CEO or brand?

Alex Madison and Wacarra Yeomans of Responsys discuss the importance of typography in email in their latest Email Insider column.  They give a great primer on what the web-safe fonts should be used, and how to use contrast, capitalization, size and space to convey your message.  They also provide stellar examples of type in emails from GILT, Jetsetter, REI and more.

Josh Levine, CEO of Alexander Interactive, offers more great tips on effectively using typography to maximize response and conversions of your email campaigns.  Levine recommends sticking to a simple color scheme and limiting the number of typefaces, sizes, styles and weights.  Consistency and contrast are important to convey your message and direct your readers to the important elements of your campaign.  Levine also recommends controlling eye flow through the use of white space, and using line spacing, bullet points and indentations to distinguish elements of the message.

In a blog post from earlier this year, Chelsea Rio from MailerMailer gives very specific advice on typographic design for emails. She explains everything from the type of font to use, the optimal font size, how to size fonts, aligning text, and how typography can create order out of chaos in email campaigns.

To all my fellow typography nerds and copywriters, what other typography resources specific to email do you have to share with your fellow colleagues?  Please leave your suggestions in the comments below!


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About Tom Sather

Email data and deliverability expert Tom Sather has worked with top-tier brands to diagnose and solve inbox placement and sender reputation issues as a strategic consultant with Return Path. As the company’s senior director of research, Tom is a frequent speaker and writer on email marketing trends and technology. His most recent analysis of new inbox applications’ effects on consumer behavior was widely cited across leading business media outlets including the Financial Times, Ad Age, and Media Post.

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