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Formatting everyday emails

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How to choose the right font and colors

For many of us, email is the main way that we communicate with clients and employers. We know that the words and the tone we use are important. Our points should be well-thought out, concise and grammatically correct. But many are unaware that how the email looks, what font-family, -size and colors are used can affect how an email is received and understood.

For this article we are addressing the issue of fonts and colors in everyday emails. These are the messages we send to our coworkers and business associates with whom we are trying to communicate. While we aren’t specifically addressing styled marketing emails, many of the recommendations still apply.

How font size, family and color can affect the message

The goal of every email should be for the content to be read and for the message to be understood in the way you intended. Understanding how formatting can affect readability is critical to your success as a communicator.

Font usage in email

Readability matters

The point of your email message is not to show how clever you are to choose an unusual font. A simple font will get your point across best. Also, keep in mind that your email is not an advertisement. You’re not trying to grab someone’s attention. The person receiving this message already knows you. They want to understand the information you are trying to convey. Make it easy for them by keeping the style of the email very simple.

Avoid changing type styles and sizes.

Keep fonts and colors simple and consistent. This will make your text easy to read. Being too creative with formatting looks unprofessional and can result in the reader misunderstanding your message. Be thoughtful and conservative when changing font style or weight.

Avoid using all caps in email as this is perceived as shouting.

Communicate simply with words rather than relying on bolding text, increasing size, or using all caps. More times than not, fancy formatting will over emphasize your emphasis!

The use of color in email

In addition to fonts, color is another element in email design that can affect how someone interprets your message. Resist the temptation to turn your emails into art projects. The text of an email is not the place to express your creativity. Black text on a white background is the best for email.

How fonts and colors affect the message

Email communications are important. For many of us working remotely, it can be the main form of communicating with clients and employers. Therefore, it’s important that we project competence and professionalism in our writing. You don’t want the person receiving the message to thinks you’re being rude or sarcastic when that was not your intention. You also don’t want the recipient to be overwhelmed with too many colors or fonts. Deal professionally with email and you communicate your own competence.

Do you have more questions about the use of fonts and colors in everyday emails? Give us a call at (518) 392-0846 or email [email protected].

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