The font plays a very important role in the way we perceive the written text. It can be the difference between simple and formal or fun and informal. If you’ve changed the font in your email client, you probably shouldn’t.
It’s tempting to put your personal touch on your emails with a carefully selected font and maybe even a unique color. After all, everyone else just uses the boring default settings, right? It will definitely stand out, but it may not be the way you want.
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Email is the Wild West
Email is one of the last true universal standards left to us. Even phone numbers have been hijacked by Apple’s proprietary iMessage. But once you have an email address, you can basically send emails to any other email address.
It doesn’t matter if you use Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo or ProtonMail. You are free to email people no matter what provider they use. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it, especially when compared to how modern messaging apps work. However, it causes some problems.
Formatting can sometimes be lost in translation. An email from one Gmail user to another will look pretty good, but what about Gmail to Outlook or vice versa? This can really become a problem when you have threads between multiple people on different providers.
Changing the font settings only accentuates this. You can change the font and format of your emails and the recipient can’t do much about it. Customization is fun, but sometimes it can cause problems.
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It’s my inbox, not yours
Here’s the thing: I respect your customization choices, but they are its customization options. Reading emails isn’t always fun and it’s worse if some of the emails come with random fonts and colors.
I admit that it is a strange situation. If you’re sending a physical letter to someone, you can choose the font and no one will care that much, unless you use Comic Sans. You can even write it in your own handwriting. However, an email feels different.
There’s something about an email in a quirky font that feels invasive. Take care of your inbox, keep it clean and tidy, and then comes this email in purple Garamond font. What happened to my inbox? How did this get here?
Email is much more like instant messaging than physical mail, and that comes with certain expectations. If you use Facebook Messenger, you expect messages to look a certain way. Even if you personally change the font on your device, that doesn’t mean the recipient sees that font.
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let’s help each other
See, there’s nothing stopping you from choosing the nastiest font you can and changing the color to lime green. However, I think email would be much better if we all just kept the default settings.
Some fonts are not as easy to read as others. Colors may not display correctly on different screens. What if the recipient has a dark email theme? There are so many variables when it comes to formatting an email.
Let’s all agree to keep things simple and keep our font choices to ourselves. Slowly but surely, we can improve email a bit.
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