Patrick Gleeson, Ph.D. reports:
"There is no one font or group of fonts that [is] always your best choice for a business letter. A lot depends on the context, who you are writing to, for what purpose and the impression you wish to make. The good news is that fonts are available for every situation. The trick is choosing the right font for your purpose...One of the first decisions to make when choosing the right font for a business letter is whether it should be a serif or sans-serif font. A sans-serif font...consists of the major strokes that identify the letter without any embellishments or added strokes. A Helvetica capital H has two major vertical strokes and a horizontal stroke connecting them. A serif font such as Times and Garamond are popular, particularly on computers, and have the same major strokes as a sans-serif font, with the addition of some minor strokes...[S]ince earlier typefaces invariably had serifs, when you use a serif font you are giving your business letter a traditional look. Some typeface professionals believe this conveys to the reader that you are a more traditional kind of person and dependable. Choosing a more contemporary[-]looking san[s]-serif type conveys to the reader that you are a modern kind of person, a full-blown citizen of the contemporary world. It’s easy to read too much into typefaces and personality types...A serif font...seems to be a better choice if writing to a law firm, while a non[-]serif font may be a better choice for a resume to Apple...Another thing to consider when choosing a font is how readable it is. Your email program may not offer the most readable default fonts. If you are using Arial or Helvetica because they come with your email program, consider switching to more readable fonts such as Georgia and Verdana...Do you get extra points for originality? Not really. While you should carefully choose the font you use in a letter, don’t make your letter self-aware. The typography and layout of a business letter should never take away from the content of your letter...You [don’t] have to stick with the most common typefaces and it’s fine to choose a less frequently used typeface, so long as you're not hitting the reader over the head with your impeccable sense of design...If you are sending a resume to a design firm, HTF Didot 1991 might be a perfect choice...Something else to think about whenever you are sending a business letter is typeface size, which also affects readability. Typeface size 12 is a good choice. It’s large enough to be readable, but not so large as to appear aggressive. And speaking of aggressive[,] never write a business letter in all caps. If you are new to the business world, it might seem like an effective way to draw attention. It does, but not in a positive way. Caps are the typographic equivalent of shouting."
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