I need to send some professional/commercial e-mails, my design currently look like this:
Helvetica is very widely used in printing, and according to Wikipedia:
Miedinger and Hoffmann set out to create a neutral typeface that had great clarity, no intrinsic meaning in its form, and could be used on a wide variety of signage.
- The font looks ugly (but they don’t talk about Helvetica Neue and its 51 versions)
- Most users don’t have the font, and Windows systematically redirect its call to Arial via registry key (but they don’t talk about embedding legally a subset). In the case of e-mails they also tell support to
@font-faceis very poor (which is true, but they don’t talk about the combination of several other fall-back methods which “solve” this issue).
The second reason is the most important, because the suggested replacements I saw : widely available on users computers, which means “using non-professional typefaces” but which are safe value (still without considering embedding).
So, does HelveticaNeue is a good typeface strictly in terms of legibility?
Or a different typeface would be better… even a serif one?
When designing for emails, I go for the lowest common denominator.
If a particular font is important, limit it to a few words and make it a graphic. Otherwise, just assume “serif/sans serif” and don’t try to design with fonts.
There is no way to control or predict what the user will have installed, what email client is being used, or what version of what email client is being used. That’s not even counting desktop vs. phone vs. tablet.
You can make a case for “Helvetica/Arial” vs. “Times,” but not for “Helevetica Neue.” And you can do all sorts of things with embedded fonts on the web. But in emails? Design as simply as possible with as much flexibility as possible, so you don’t risk breakage.