Don’t Font All Over My Email

15 Feb

I just can’t remain silent any longer. Some may call it a pet peeve. Some may call it a frivolous complaint. However, I consider it an impediment to my ongoing obsession with working efficiently and responding to emails in a timely manner. So, what is this thorn in my side? It is the email that contains multiple fonts, multiple font colors, and email signatures that are just as miss-matched as the email preceding it.

So with all of the bigger issues confronting the business world why does this bother me? Well, if you read one of my earlier blogs, The New Normal of Email Communication,” then you’ll know there are implications beyond the simple irritant. I won’t rehash those issues here. Instead, the following explains why I prefer you “don’t font all over my email.”

Reading Made Difficult
When you send an email that contains mixed fonts, you make your emails more difficult to read. Example? An email that is a mix of Arial, Times Roman, and various font sizes instantly creates confusion. The reader needs to determine if these mixed fonts are there for a reason, or if they are just a result of the copy/paste function that the email writer used to send the email quickly. This instantly creates a barrier to reading and responding quickly.

If you are using different font colors to differentiate tasks, requests, or topics, consider bullet points instead. Bullet points make it easier for the recipient to interpret your communication and the information you are conveying or requesting.

Note: In my case, I now need to copy/paste your email into a Word or Text document so it’s all in one font so that I can read it clearly and ensure that I can respond effectively. This takes more time on my part and delays a response to the email sender.

Care Enough to Do It Right
We often forget that emails are “the new memo.” They are a reflection of your professional brand. Sending an email that is a hodge-podge of fonts types, font sizes, and font colors may infer that the sender didn’t care enough to send a “clean” and coherent email. If you are using a mix of font colors, make sure there is a reason and explain that reason in the email. (Example: “Answers to your questions are in “red.”)

Note: Our professional communications (written, email, verbal, video) are reflections of our professional brand. They reflect more than just our aesthetics. They reflect our attention to detail, our respect for the communication we are sending, and respect for your recipient’s time.

Your Signature is Your Last Impression
Make your signature consistent with your email. So what do I mean? It only takes a minute to modify your email signature to be consistent with the font of your email. Accordingly, don’t use multiple colors in your email. When your name is in one color/font and your address is yet another, it loses a professional appearance.

Note: It only takes a minute to click “select all” on your email to ensure that your font types, font colors, and font sizes are consistent. If you are unable to change the font on your signature, then use the same font in the body of your email.

Well, perhaps I stand alone in my “fonting” issues. Or, perhaps I’ve brought up an embarrassing topic that many of you have been afraid to talk about. Well, I’ve done it now. I’ve brought “irresponsible fonting” out of the shadows and into the open.  The topic no longer needs to be discussed in hushed tones.


6 Responses to “Don’t Font All Over My Email”

  1. lmiller2k03 February 15, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    Cindy, this is a pet peeve of mine, too. Thanks for your article.

  2. Linda Chreno February 15, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    I agree – it is so disconcerting to see a bunch of fonts used in an email.

  3. mgmichlein February 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Well articulated. Short and to the point. Accurate in my eyes.
    I think I must read your words more often.

  4. Jody Rosen Atkins February 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    The worst is when someone copies/pastes text from someone else’s email into the one sent to you, and he/she doesn’t even have the “smarts” or “professional courtesy” to change the color/font to match the rest of the email!

  5. Gloria Petit-Clair February 19, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Thank you so much for this statement. I am highly visual and increasingly frustrated by less than uniform messages. It reminds me of the early days of powerpoint when we “spun, twirled” blasted and shaded” the readers with our dazzling displays of technical skills. I was just as guilty as everyone else. Simple is elegant!


  1. When One is Definitely Enough! | Think Tank - June 23, 2014

    […] the August 15, 2012 ,“The ‘New Normal’ of Email Communication” and the February 15, 2013, “Don’t Font All Over My Email” . Subsequently, I can only assume I am not […]

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