I remember a heated philosophy discussion in college. The topic was beauty, and as budding philosophers we had to convince one another of our opinions. We debated the perennial question: is beauty in “the eye of the beholder?” We never concluded our discussion (pretty normal for philosophy) but it made me think.
When I was planning this blog, I recalled this debate with my fellow students. No, I still haven’t arrived at any conclusion, but I have come to a different but similar one. When you’re doing direct mail, it’s not beauty that’s in the eye of the beholder. It’s appeal. And the more appeal you can create with your envelope fonts, the better the open-rate for your mailers, translating to more profit.
If you want to add energy to your envelope, charge it with a new font. You might find that one font works better than others. And often, it’s fonts you might not expect. We’ve tested many envelope fonts, and these five fonts all have high open rates. But it’s for different reasons. So let’s look at five different fonts and see what makes them special and appealing to the eye.
If you want to proclaim rather than tell your message, choose Impact. It does what its name implies—it has an impact! If you’re sending a #10 envelope and want to tease your customer about the contents with a teaser, use this font to do so. “Your Free Gift Inside.” (And for sales copy, try using this font for your headlines to snatch their attention.) It’s a font that stops your readers, grabs them by the lapels, and forces them to read. It’s like when Gandalf slammed his staff into the bridge to stop the smoldering Balrog—YOU SHALL NOT PASS! It’s got that effect.
Next we have Copy Doodles Brad. This is a handwritten font that resembles a harried or flustered person. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s ugly. But that’s not the point — and that’s why it’s effective. It’s such a hideous font that your customers will have a difficult time distinguishing it from a real person’s. So when to use this font? Use it only for marketing. It’s not meant for professional or business transactions (for that we recommend Arial or Calibri). Second, be sure it appeals to your customer. If you’re sending a marketing piece to doctors or engineers, you’ll have a difficult time selling your services with this font. Finally, be sure this font meshes with your industry. If you run a funeral home, don’t use this font. You get the point.
Now if Copy Doodles Brad is 100% informal, then Edwardian Script is 100% formal. This is one of the fanciest, most elegant fonts you can use. It harkens us back to the idyllic time of Jane
Austen and Henry James. When should you use it? On invitations. Especially invitations to a wedding and other important events. For marketing, use it for an event you’re hosting—like a conference with an important guest speaker or for a swanky auction. It’s classic and timeless, and it’s sure to give the appeal of importance.
Arial. When Google launched Google Docs nearly a decade ago, they chose Arial as their default font. And for good reason. Arial is simple, straightforward, and easy to read. It doesn’t contain the dynamite of impact, but that’s not its purpose. And now with Google’s success, Arial has become one of the most used fonts—up there with Microsoft’s beloved Times New Roman. And because it’s so popular, your readers will have an instant familiarity with it. They’ll appreciate your simple, no-nonsense approach.
Finally, Corradine. Here’s a font we love here at Handy Mailing Service. It’s a script font, but it’s not as “scripty” like Edwardian. It doesn’t contain the restricted, Victorian feel of Edwardian. Instead, it has the appearance of someone with methodical, cursive handwriting. It’s easy to read, and it’s clear. It’s best to use this font on pieces where you want people to think you hand wrote them an envelope. It has that power. Try it out. It’s pretty cool.
These are only five envelope fonts, but they’re thousands you can choose for your mailing. But for any font, choose one with these two factors in mind.
- It must be consistent with your message.
- Your audience must be receptive.
If you’re a doctor or a lawyer and you’re running ads for your service, a font like Arial might work best. Do not use CopyDoodles Brad. People will think it’s a joke. But if you want to market to your audience as a dear friend, try using a font like CopyDoodles Brad or Corradine. They work great for that.
Remember, keep your brand in mind and study your audience for the envelope fonts that best suits them.