Font choices on mobile email

Font choices on mobile emailIn my previous blog 'Why we talk about web safe fonts in email' I outlined the reasons why we use certain reliable (web safe) fonts in emails to give us consistency in the way emails display on recipients' screens.

In that piece, the references were mainly being made to desktop screens (PC or MAC), but here we'll look at mobile devices, eg. Tablets and phones.

We are family

The range of font styles available on different mobile platforms varies quite a bit and so the likelihood is that you will want to pick the closest alternative(s) for your emails to use on mobile, so that you keep some control over the branding and overall look and feel.

This is why, when coding your email in HTML, the designer will include a font family (as it is often called) in the code. It's like setting a list of preferences for each device to refer to.

eg. If Arial is your preferred choice, the font family will often be: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
(Helvetica being the MAC alternative to Arial, and sans-serif is the instruction to the mobile device as the general style to use if neither of the named fonts is available).

Here's a look-up table to illustrate how traditionally web safe fonts display on iOS, Android and Windows Phones.

Comparison chart of how web safe fonts display on mobile
Comparison chart of how web safe fonts display on mobile - Click to enlarge
It's not all doom and gloom as you will notice that even the fonts which aren't included in a mobile platform, are substituted in most cases with a close alternative - unless you really had your heart set on Comic Sans and Impact for your next campaign (... but if that's the case, you and I really need to have words!)

In my next blog I'll be talking about choosing the best font style for your emails, and what we mean by serif and sans serif.