How should I perceive large font use in email?
Folks ask about font size a lot. When we receive an email, we look at every word, and the formatting used to determine tone and intent. Unfortunately, some folks rely too much on formatting instead of building their vocabulary to get their points across.
Does Font Size Matter in Email?
We have to look at how the larger font is being used. Is it the entire email or just certain words/terms? This is where you can determine intent.
Unless you know that the sender or recipient is visually impaired and requires the larger font size so they can see better, anything larger than the standard default font size for only certain words or phrases can be perceived as adding emphasis. Otherwise, why would one make the font larger?
In professional business communications, there is no room for formatting. Remember my simple golden rule?
What About Visually Impaired Emailers?
I know folks who make the fonts in their emails larger because it makes writing and reading emails easier. If that’s the case, the courteous thing to do after typing your message is to reduce the font back to default before clicking Send. That is unless the person on the other side likes larger fonts as well.
You can both agree to increase the font size if that makes it easier for both of you. Personally speaking, it seems the older I get, the smaller fonts get!
This is all about perception and determining one’s intent and tone, right? So we look at every character, dash, dot, and choice made to try and determine what the other side means.
Since it takes a manual setting change to increase the font size (and can make your email spammy and cause it to be misidentified as spam and possibly blocked) — folks will wonder what the reason is for the larger font. And if certain words or phrases are much larger, yes, one can assume the sender meant to “raise their voice” — or at the very least add strong emphasis.
If you are unsure, ask before assuming.
As I always recommend, it is better to rely on your words for intent and tone — not formatting –and you’ll never be misunderstood!