HTML mail but you don't have the font -- what do you see?
September 24, 2008 10:58 AM   Subscribe

If I send someone an email in HTML format, using a font (Droid Sans Mono) that the recipient (who has a client set to read HTML or Rich Text email) does NOT have installed on their machine, what do they see? Does the recipient's client choose another font automatically?

You'd think this would be simple to find via Google, but I can't seem to.

Bonus points for suggestions for arranging email for max readability. No plain text suggestions, please -- I fully understand the argument.
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Best answer: If the requested font isn't installed, the mail client will default to a standard system font like Times or Helvetica or Arial.

Assuming that the mail client handles HTML mail using one of the major rendering engines, you ought to be able to use CSS style rules to specify the font type you wish to use. Something like {font-family="Droid Sans Mono", verdana, sans-serif;} should work, specifying the preferred font, and acceptable alternative, and a default fallback font style in case the first two requirements are not met.

Typically when sending HTML email I just use one of the standard web-safe fonts; I feel that the font used by the mail client should be whatever is most legible to the end recipient, so I use one that he/she is sure to have. This is of course all up to the recipient - he or she may have configured the client to always use a specific set of fonts / styles no matter what.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:17 AM on September 24, 2008

Best answer: From Droid Sans Mono you would probably want your fallback fonts to be:

Consolas, Monaco, "Andale Mono", "Courier New", Fixed, monospace

...rather than the "verdana, sans-serif" that caution live frogs mentioned.

(Although in all other respects clf's answer is dead on)
posted by bcwinters at 11:30 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just wanted to add that a great resource when the discussion of designing HTML emails comes up is CampaignMonitor. Their research and guidelines are both exhaustive and quite informative.
posted by genial at 12:11 PM on September 24, 2008

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