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Demystifying Custom Fonts in Emails

If you’re a non-technical person like me, it can be confusing at times to understand when custom fonts can be used in emails.

Here are some tips to help you understand when and how it works:

  • Not all email clients support custom fonts. 1, 3 and 5 on this list support them, and that accounts for 52% of opens: http://emailclientmarketshare.com/
  • Javascript is not supported in email, and that is why Adobe Typekit fonts cannot work in emails, because they use a javascript API to inject their fonts
  • Other founderies (fancy word for vendors who supply fonts) like Google Fonts, fonts.com and Hoefler & Co. offer a CSS based method for displaying their custom fonts, and therefore can be supported by 1,3 and 5 from the email client marketshare list

What if you use a completely custom font that is not hosted on any of the foundries above?

It’s okay, you can still use those fonts. However, you need special files in 4 formats: WOFF, EOT, OTF/TTF and SVG. When you buy a desktop font, you only get it in OTF and TTF. Although there are some tools out there that will generate web safe fonts, like https://www.web-font-generator.com/ you need to be careful with legality of doing so and there can be loss of quality when doing it this way. That is why most people choose to use one of the vendors listed above, given they provide the web safe fonts and you know you’re covered from a legal perspective.

If you want even more details on the technical components of setting up a custom font, I’d recommend checking out this awesome presentation from Robert Bertini from the 2015 Litmus Email Design Conference.

Good luck! We support custom fonts in all of our custom email template builds.

Pierce Ujjainwalla has decades of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur, and career marketing leader. He has lived in the marketing trenches at companies like IBM, SAP, NVIDIA, and Marketo. He founded Revenue Pulse and then launched Knak in 2015 as a platform designed to help Marketers simplify email and landing page creation. Visit his personal blog, Unsubscribed, or his Twitter for more of the insight he’s gained as founder and CEO of Knak. Marketing is his jam; doing it better with technology is his passion.

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