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Does Size Matter? Email & Font Sizes

Think twice before increasing email font sizes.

Does font size matter in emails? This topic comes up from time to time because folks wonder why someone would take the deliberate steps to increase font sizes.

What if you receive an email where the font is much larger than normal? Does the larger text mean that the person is yelling or screaming at you? Not necessarily.

When it comes to email, you need to look at the entire email in context to determine intent, from appearance and structure to the vocabulary used.

The difference is why and how the larger font is used. For example, does the entire email contain a larger font size or just certain words? Only certain words increased in size would most certainly indicate emphasis, and if capped, most would naturally assume the sender is “raising their voice.”

Emphasis and Formatting

Using font sizes, colors, or formatting to create emphasis is risky at best. The primary reason is that you then leave the level of emphasis up to the other side. And that will almost always be more emphasis than you intended. So you can take that to the bank.

Unless the sender or recipient is vision impaired and requires a larger font size for obvious reasons, anything more significant than the standard default font size can mistakenly be perceived as adding emphasis. Otherwise, why would one make the font larger?

This is all about perception and trying to determine one’s intent by choosing to communicate with the written word – a.k.a. email. Since it takes a manual setting change to increase the font size — folks will try to determine the reason for doing so.

And if the font is much larger, yes, they may think you meant to yell or scream.

Thinking of Others

A site visitor recently scolded me, claiming that making the font size larger for the sender made it easier for her to type. So I should “deal with it.”

That is truly a one-sided point of view. So how’s this for a suggestion? When you are finished composing your email, put the font size back to the default before your click send. Simple.

You get to use your preference, and then, because you are thoughtful and considerate towards the person on the other side who may wonder or not like your larger font choice, you put the font size back to the default. Win-win!

Unless visually impaired, keep your font size set at the default of your email software program. This way, by choosing your words carefully in place of formatting, you can avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.

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