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Best Fonts for Newsletters

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Mix and Match Styles for an Interesting Newsletter
Some sample newsletter templates with fonts

These newsletter templates (top from Adobe InDesign; bottom from Microsoft Publisher) use serif, sans serif, and script fonts.

Image @copy; Jacci Howard Bear / Adobe / Microsoft
For the most part, the fonts used in print newsletters should be much like fonts for books. That is, they should stay in the background and not distract the reader from the message. However, because most newsletters feature shorter articles and a variety of types of pieces there is more room for variety. The newsletter nameplate, headlines, kickers, page numbers, pull-quotes, and other small bits of text can often take much more decorative and fun or distinctive fonts.

Fonts for Newsletter Articles

These four guidelines will help you pick the right fonts for your newsletter. This advice applies specifically to newsletters in print. For tips on email newsletter fonts, see the related links further down in this article.
  • Serif or sans serif.
    That is, the body of the main articles is not the place for blackletter, script, and most decorative fonts. As with books, you won't go horribly wrong with most of these classic serif or classic sans serif choices.

  • Unobtrusive.
    For most newsletter articles, the best fonts are ones that do not stand up and shout at the reader. It won't have an extreme x-height, unusually long ascenders or descenders. or overly elaborate letterforms with extra flourishes. While a professional designer may see the unique beauty in each typeface, for most readers the face is just another font and they probably wouldn't even know that it wasn't the ubiquitous Times New Roman or Arial. In most cases, that's a good thing.

  • Clearly Legible at 14 Points or Less.
    Actual font size depends on the specific font but the main copy for most newsletters are set at between 10 and 14 points. Decorative fonts are generally not as legible at those sizes. You could go smaller for some other newsletter parts such as the masthead, photo captions, and page numbers.
    Line lengths (text column widths) and hyphenation are closely tied to font size. In general, the smaller the font size the shorter the line length should be for comfortable reading.

  • Leading.
    The space between lines of type is just as important as the specific typeface and point size. Some typefaces may require more leading than others to accommodate longer ascenders or descenders or to avoid the appearance of gray pages. However, more leading can lead to more pages in the newsletter.
    "One rule of thumb suggests adding about 20% or around 2 points to the point size of your text as a starting point for adjusting line spacing. Less is generally too crowded." Setting Leading in Desktop Publishing Software

Fonts for Newsletter Heads and Titles

While legibility is still important, the larger size and shorter length of most headlines and similar bits of text lend themselves to more decorative or distinctive font choices. While you may still use such guidelines as pairing serif body copy with a sans serif headline font, you could use a more distinctive sans serif font than you would use for body copy.
"Headlines and other short phrases or blocks of text are often set in display type sizes of 18 points and larger. While readability is still important, there is more leeway for using fun or decorative typefaces in headlines. Beyond what the headline says, it needs contrast — of size or font choice or color — to make it stand out."How to Choose Fonts for Headlines

Specific Newsletter Font Selections

The lists presented below represent the opinions of numerous designers, typographers, and both print and Web designers. They provide a great resource for finding the perfect combination of fonts for your newsletter.
  • 30 of the Best Fonts Designers Should Use for Print
    From Design Reviver, you'll find a mix of serif and sans serif fonts.
    "Many times the choice that seems obvious for designers is serif fonts, due in part to the fact that they work well in the form of a headline or body content. Though with the following fonts you’ll see that we have digressed from filling up this list with serif fonts. Instead, we hand-picked a variety of well-known and a few obscure fonts that we believe do a good job of conveying readability when used for print."
  • 50 Incredible Fonts for Professional Web and Print Design
    Once you've found the perfect body copy font, pair it with one or more of these fun, funky, or big and bold decorative faces for your newsletter nameplate and headlines. Compiled by the Noupe editorial team.
    "This collection will sure help you improve your typography skills! Let’s take a close look at some of the most beautiful fonts we’ve found on the web."
  • Best Fonts for Titles and Headlines
    Designmodo helps you find a decorative font that is both interesting and legible at display sizes. These are all sans serif fonts so consider pairing them with a classic serif for body text.
    " A bold headline or a title with a captivating font is the first step to win the whole battle. They grow the reader’s interest to stay on the page, instead of giving it a look and move for another interesting one. "

Related Font and Layout Choices for Newsletter Designers

Readers Respond: Best Ways to Mix and Match Fonts

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