emailsSystem fonts or don’t bother

What about ty­pog­ra­phy within emails? Un­for­tu­nately, due to the tech­ni­cal con­straints of email sys­tems, your op­tions are limited.

Un­like a PDF, fonts don’t get trans­mit­ted with an email. So even though you can com­pose an email in any font you like, re­cip­i­ents won’t see that font un­less they also hap­pen to have it in­stalled. More­over, re­cip­i­ents get their email us­ing a va­ri­ety of hard­ware and soft­ware, which have in­con­sis­tent and un­pre­dictable ty­po­graphic capabilities.

This leaves two plau­si­ble policies:

  1. If you must for­mat your emails, stick with com­mon sys­tem fonts, and make sure your mes­sages don’t rely on spac­ing tricks spe­cific to the font. (Those of you who in­sist on align­ing things with mul­ti­ple word spaces were al­ready warned.) Sim­pler is better.

  2. Or you can just treat email as a ty­pog­ra­phy-free zone. This is my policy.

by the way
  • A law­yer I know ap­pends a 200-kilo­byte scan of his busi­ness card to every email. No­body likes him. Use text, not an im­age, so your con­tact in­for­ma­tion can be copied and pasted easily.

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