RAAK_Blog-Header_ 5 things you need to know about web fonts

5 things you need to know about web fonts

In the past, using the right font for your email campaign was never a difficult choice to make. The selection of web-safe fonts you could choose from was limited. But recently, some things have changed... which gives you more options to choose from. Here are our 5 take-aways about using web fonts in your campaign.

What is a web font?
Web fonts have been specifically designed and licensed for use on websites and in apps, like the Open Sans and Roboto. Web fonts are not found on your computer by default. They have to be purchased, downloaded and installed. Email designers on the other hand, are using other kinds of fonts that you might know as web-safe fonts. These are fonts that you can find across the majority of different operating systems and devices, the most common being Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia and Verdana.

Email client compatible
As with many things in email marketing, web fonts aren’t 100% compatible across all email clients. iOS Mail, Apple Mail, Android (default mail client, not Gmail app), Outlook 2000, Outlook.com app and Thunderbird all support web fonts consistently. However, web font support also depends on how it is embedded in the email. Always check with the designer of your email how compatible the chosen font is on all email clients. Does your question generate only shoulder shrugging as an answer? Ask him/her to do the necessary research about the font.

Can I use web fonts?
It may seem that the number of email clients that supports web fonts is rather small. However, a recent email client market survey reveals that three out of the top five ‘most popular email clients’ offers web font support. But always double check: run a small inquiry amongst your own contacts. Check which email clients they use and let these results decide whether or not to use web fonts.

Choosing a fallback font
A fallback font is a font shown in your email, when an email client doesn’t support a certain web font. And you don’t just choose one carelessly, you need to give this decision some thought. The most important thing is to check that your fallback font is a web-safe font. Secondly, the vertical design of your email is incredibly important. You need to compare the x-height of your web font to the x-height of your web safe font. They need to be as similar as possible. Otherwise, your email might look totally different once the page loads your chosen fallback. And finally: keep in mind that the feel of your fallback font should be consistent with your design. If your web font is a serif, you’d better not pick a sans serif as fallback font.

Font pairing
Choosing fonts that work together is hard. But it can turn a good email into an outstanding email. It’s often said that you should pair a serif with a sans serif, but this isn’t always the case. If you could use a little help with pairing fonts, there’s a nifty tool that can help you: Font Pair.


Unless you have strict brand guidelines about which fonts you should use in your email designs, you should give web fonts a chance. Make sure you review your design with both the web font and the fallback font before clicking the send button. If you want to be sure if the web font is worth the extra effort, you can always A/B-test a version with/without a web font.

Posted on
Jun 26, 2017