At almost every sales writing or email etiquette workshop I present someone asks me which is the best font to use. I wish I could tell you. The research is inconclusive and often contradicting so here are my thoughts and an overview of recent findings:
• Instructions written in a plain Arial font are more likely to be completed than those written in a script-like font. (University of Michigan)
• Using Century Gothic instead of Arial can save money on printer ink; about 30% less ink will be used. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has switched its default font on its e-mail system to save money and be more eco-friendly.
To confuse you further:
Reported in Advertising Age… Using “crealytics” (creative analytics), a group called Organic, researched customers’ responses to various fonts. They found, hold your keystroke here, that the use of serifs like in Georgia are more warm and fuzzy (really) and enjoyed by readers most, except in certain parts of the country (New Yorkers seem to likeHelvetica better).
And more: Turns out that sans-serif font may not be more legible than serifs even in design… Here is an interesting blog post about how designers enjoy keeping things “clean and bold” yet it seems clean (like Helvetica) may have lost its impact.
And whatever you do,
• don’t shout by bolding,
• don’t underline because readers confuse the underscore with a hyperlink (only hot links should be underlined)
• avoid red (even if that is your corporate color),
• stay away from blue (again because of confusion with a hot link),
• don’t use all CAPS (except when you have really good news and want to begin with CONGRATULATIONS! or YOU ROCK! or something you know will bring a smile to the recipient) and
• be thoughtful about the font you select to represent yourself.
My choice? Century Gothic. 12p font. Yours?