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The Art And Science Of The Email Signature

Email signatures are so easy to do well, that it’s really a shame how often they’re done poorly. Many people want their signature to reflect their personality, provide pertinent information and more, but they can easily go overboard. Why are email signatures important? They may be boring and the last item on your list of things to get right, but they affect the tone of every email you write. [Links checked & repaired March/03/2017]

Email Signature

Email signatures contain alternative contact details, pertinent job titles and company names, which help the recipient get in touch when emails are not responded to. Sometimes, they give the recipient an idea of who wrote the email in case it has been a while since they have been in touch. They are also professional: like a letterhead, they show that you run a business (in some countries, you’re required to do so). Here are some tips on how to create a tasteful signature that works.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

Be Concise Link

First and foremost, the sender’s header (the “From” field) should have a name, and you should use a company email address if you can. If someone sees stevies747@hotmail.com5, they’ll suspect it’s spam. If the sender’s header reads, “Steve Stevenson – Mister Stevenson Design Company” <steve@misterstevenson.com6>, they’ll know it’s a professional email from Steve, their trusted designer.

Start by making your website a link. Many email clients convert email addresses and websites into links automatically, but not always. When you’re creating the HTML for an email, make sure the link will appear by adding writing it in HTML. And instead of linking text like “My website,” type out the URL, which will be useful for those who want to copy and paste the address.

An email signature shouldn’t double the email’s length, so make it as short as possible (three lines is usually enough). Don’t get into your life story here. The purpose of a signature is to let them see who you are and how to get in touch with you.

Make Sure to Include… Link

  • Your name,
  • Your company and position,
  • How to get in touch with you.

No need to include 10 different ways to get in touch with you. As in website design, less is more; and then they’ll know which way you prefer to be contacted. Go to two or three lines, with a maximum of 72 character per line (many email applications have a maximum width of 80 characters, so limit the length to avoid unsightly wrapping). An optional fourth line could be your company address, but use caution if you work from home.

<strong>Steve Stevenson, Web Designer</strong>
<a title="Mister Stevenson's website" href=""></a> | <a title="email Steve Stevenson" href=""></a>

Short and Concise, but Check the Rules Link

In some European countries, laws dictate what items you must put in your email signature if you are a registered company. For example, UK law requires private and public limited companies to include the following:

  • Company number,
  • Address of registration,
  • VAT number, if there is one.

You can be fined for not including this information on all electronic correspondence and on your website and stationary. Many freelancers and small businesses have ignored these rules since their inception, risking a fine. Do some research to find out what rules apply in your country.

<strong>Steve Stevenson, Web Designer</strong>
<a title="Mister Stevenson's website" href=""></a> | <a title="email Steve Stevenson" href=""></a>
55 Main Street, London, UK, EC2A 1RE
Company number: 12345678

Don’t Include… Link

  • Personal Twitter, IM or Skype details;
  • Your home phone number or address (unless you want to be called by international clients early in the morning);
  • The URL of your personal website;
  • Random quotes at the bottom;
  • Your entire skill set, CV and lifetime achievements in point form.

Random quotes are fun for friends, but you risk offending business associates with whom you don’t have a personal relationship. Unless you want clients contacting you while you’re watching Lost, don’t share your home details far and wide. Also, don’t share your personal contact information with your corporate partners. They certainly won’t be interested in it, and you may not want them to know certain details about you. However, mentioning your corporate Twitter account or alternative means of contact in your signature might be useful, in case your correspondent is not able to get in touch with you by regular email.

animated duck Steve Stevenson, Web Designer
web: www.misterstevenson.com107
email: steve@misterstevenson.com118
home: 613.555.2654
home (wife): 613.555.3369
work: 613.555.9876
cell: 613.555.123455 Drury Lane
Apartment 22
Ottawa, Ontario

skype: stevie_the_man
messenger: stevie_mrstevenson

I specialize in:
Web design
Graphic design
Logo design
Front-end development
UI design

“Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is
worth the price.”
-Amelia Aerheart

Don’t do this.

Images And Logos In Your Email Signature Link

Let’s get this out of the way now: your entire signature shouldn’t be an image. Sure, it will look exactly how you want, but it is completely impractical. Not only does an image increase the email’s file size, but it will likely be blocked before being opened. And how does someone copy information from an image?

email signature
This signature is too big at 20 KB and impossible to copy.

Any images should be used with care and attention. If you do use one, make it small in both dimensions and size, and make it fit in aesthetically with the rest of the signature. 50 x 50 pixels should be plenty big for any logo. If you want to be taken seriously as a business person, do not make it an animated picture, dancing dog or shooting rainbow!

Most email clients store images as attachments or block them by default. So, if you present your signature as an image, your correspondents will have a hard time guessing when you’ve sent a genuine attachment.

The best way to include an image is to host it on a server somewhere and then use the absolute URL to insert the logo. For example, upload the logo to And then, in your email signature’s HTML, insert the image like so:

<img src="" width="300" height="250" alt="example's logo" />

Don’t Be A Fancy Pants Link

Use vCards With Caution Link

While vCards are a great, convenient way to share contact information, in emails they add bytes and appear as attachments. It is often said that you shouldn’t use a vCard for your email signature, because as helpful as it might be the first time you correspond with someone, receiving it every time after that gets annoying. Besides, the average email user won’t know what it is. Look at the example below. Would an average user know what that is?

<strong>Steve Stevenson, Web Designer</strong>
<a title="Mister Stevenson's website" href=""></a> | <a title="email Steve Stevenson" href=""></a>

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-23543" src="" alt="vcard" width="162" height="52" />

If you do want to provide a vCard, just include a link to a remote copy.

What About Confidentiality Clauses? Link

If your emails include confidential information, you may need to include a non-disclosure agreement to prevent information leaks. However, good practice is never to send sensitive information as plain text in emails because the information could be extracted by third parties or forwarded by recipients to other people. Thus, including a non-disclosure agreement doesn’t make much sense if you do not send sensitive information anyway.

Keep in mind, too, that the longer a confidentiality clause is, the more unlikely someone will actually read it. Again, check your country’s privacy laws. Some big companies require a disclosure with every email, but if you’re at a small company or are a freelancer and don’t really require it, then don’t put it in. The length of such clauses can be annoying, especially in short emails.

Warm Regards & Stay Creative!
Aidan Huang (Editor)
Showcasing Web Treats Without Hitch
web . <a href=""></a>
twi . <a href=""></a>
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely
for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have
received this email in error please notify the sender. This message contains
confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you
are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this
email. Please notify the sender immediately by email if you have received this
email by mistake and delete this email from your system. If you are not the
intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or
taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential. If you have received
this email in error please notify the sender and then delete it immediately.
Please note that any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those
of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Company.

The recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence
of viruses. Company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus
transmitted by this email.

Company may regularly and randomly monitor outgoing and incoming emails
(including the content of them) and other telecommunications on its email
and telecommunications systems. By replying to this email you give your
consent to such monitoring.


Save resources: think before you print.

Don’t Be Afraid to Show Some Personality Link

Although your email signature should be concise and memorable, it doesn’t have to be boring. Feel free to make your email signature stand out by polishing it with your creative design ideas or your personal touch. Using a warm greeting, adding a cheeky key as Dan Rubin does or encouraging people to “stalk” you as Paddy Donnelly does, all show personality behind simple text.

The key to a simple, memorable and beautiful email signature lies in balancing personal data and your contact details. In fact, some designers have quite original email signatures; most of the time, simple ASCII is enough9.

h: <a href=""></a>
w: <a href=""></a>
b: <a href=""></a>

m: +1 234 567 8901
i: aninstantmessanger

k: h = home, w = work, b = blog, m = mobile, i = aim, k = key


The Site: <a href=""></a>
Stalk Me: <a href=""></a>

With optimism,
Dmitry Belitsky
<a href=""></a>
/// Matthias Kretschmann     ///   krema@xxxxxxxx.xx            ///
/// freelance designer &     ///         ///
/// photographer             ///  ///
/// media studies / communication science & art history         ///
/// MLU Halle-Wittenberg                                        ///
With greetings from Freiburg, Germany,
Vitaly Friedman (editor-in-chief)
Smashing Magazine
online magazine for designers and developers

HTML? Link

If you can, stay away from HTML formatting. Every Web designer knows the pain of HTML newsletters, and while HTML is supported for email signatures, you’ll likely have problems with images and divider lines in different email clients. Some nice ASCII formatting may work in some cases.

carole guevin . editor
//// design + digital culture magazine
//// <a href=""></a>
Min, Tran Dinh
Chief Creative Designer - Frexy Studio

Website: | Blog: | Email:
Cellphone: (84) 012 345 678
- --
Rene Schmidt -- Berater für Web-Entwicklung & eCommerce,
Linux-Webserver-Systemadministration & Web-Programmierung
Vordamm 46, 21640 Horneburg; <a href=""></a>
Tel: 0123.456.7.890; Skype:
Steuernummer 43/141/09180; USt-IdNr 219014862
Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (MingW32)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -

Geoff Teehan
Web Platforms  |  Digital Campaigns  |  Mobile Applications  |  Strategic Consulting

T: 416 123 4567 x 890  |  |
Dmitry Dragilev

ZURB | Marketing Lead
<a href=""></a>

Follow our blog at:
<a href=""></a>

Follow us on Twitter: @zurb
<a href=""></a>

Check out Notable - Easiest way for teams to
provide feedback on websites.
<a href=""></a>

Website: <a href=""></a>
Twitter: <a href=""></a>

Matt Ward
Echo Enduring Media

Web - <a href=""></a>
Blog - <a href=""></a>
Twitter - @echoenduring - Follow me!
Dan Rubin
Sidebar Creative { Director of Training & User Experience }

mobile: +1 234 567 8901
<a href=""></a>
David Leggett
Tutorial9 Founder
<a href=""></a>
Gareth Hardy
Graphic Designer | Down With Design

<a href=""></a>
<a href=""></a>
+44 (0) 0123 456 789
Grant Friedman
<a href=""></a>

Follow me on Twitter!
<a href=""></a>
Many thanks,

<a href=""></a> | <a href=""></a> | <a href=""></a>
+44 (0) 1234 567890
skype: inayaili
Jonathan Cutrell, Editor
<a href=""></a> | @FuelInterface | @jCutrell
All the best,

Rob Bowen
Copywriter | Designer | Creative Consultant

Co-Founder/Editor @ Arbenting
& Dead Wings Designs

Please consider the environment before printing this email.
Arseny Vesnin
<a href=""></a>
Calendar: <a href=""></a>
Profile: <a href=""></a>
Twitter: <a href=""></a>
Flickr: <a href=""></a>
Vimeo: <a href=""></a>
Facebook: <a href=""></a>
Warm regards,

Dipti Kankaliya
{ }

Studio March Private Limited
12 Moledina Road Camp Pune 1 India
Phone: +91-20-26334002
{ }

MarchCast – The Studio March blog
{  }
This is an official email from Studio March Private Limited and is protected
by a disclaimer. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, please
visit: .

Of course, if you’re really keen to use HTML, keep it simple:

  • Make sure it still looks good in plain text.
  • Use black and standard-sized fonts, and stay away from big, tiny and rainbow-colored fonts.
  • Don’t use CSS. Inline HTML formatting is universally accepted.
  • Use common Web fonts.
  • Including a logo? Make sure the signature looks nice even when the logo doesn’t load or is blocked.
  • Check how it looks when forwarded. Do all the lines wrap correctly?
  • You may want to load your company image as your gravatar from as Joost de Valk does.
  • Feel free to experiemnt with your e-mail signature: Jan Diblík uses a signature with dynamicaly changed promo image.
mister stevenson logo Steve Stevenson, Web Designer
www.misterstevenson.com107 | steve@misterstevenson.com118

Joost email signature




luke w

Adelle Charles


design informer





Separate Signature From Content Link

Your signature should clearly be a separate entity. Wikipedia explains the correct way to separate the signature:

“The formatting of the sig block is prescribed somewhat more firmly: it should be displayed as plain text in a fixed-width font (no HTML, images, or other rich text), and must be delimited from the body of the message by a single line consisting of exactly two hyphens, followed by a space, followed by the end of line (i.e., “– n”). This … allows software to automatically mark or remove the sig block as the receiver desires.”

There are other less standard ways to separate your signature. While not automatic formatting, a line of —–, ======, or _______ or even just a few spaces will visually separate your signature from your email.

Dan Oliver (editor)
.net magazine (<a href=""></a>)
Twitter: danoliver
Email: <a href=""></a>
Phone: 01234 56789
Address for deliveries:
.net, Units 1 & 2 Cottrell Court,
Monmouth Place, Bath, BA1 2NP
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Elliot Jay Stocks
Elliot Jay Stocks Design Ltd.
Registered in England & Wales #1234567

<a href=""></a>

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Vennlig hilsen
Lars Bæk
Byråleder & Tekstforfatter
Storgata 15, 2408 Elverum
Mob (+47) 01 23 45 67 |
Information Architects Inc.
Tokyo Zurich

Oliver Reichenstein, Founder

<a href=""></a>
<a href=""></a>
<a href=""></a>

Wrestling With Your Email Client Link

Offering general advice on signatures is easy, sure. But anyone who has tried to implement automatic signatures in Outlook, Gmail or Yahoo knows it’s not always that simple. Here are some resources to help you get yours right every time.

Outlook Link

Changing Outlook’s signature is a real pain, but here’s a guide that teaches you a few things. If you use Outlook 2003, here’s another tutorial on custom signatures.

Entourage Link

Microsoft’s mail for mac works differently. Here’s12 a tutorial on how to set it up.

Gmail Link

Want just one basic signature? Here13‘s how to change the text. You’d think Google would allow you multiple signatures, links and a bit of formatting. If you’re looking for something a little more designed or wish to choose between multiple signatures, here14 are five ways to do it in Firefox.

Hotmail Link

Tips on custom images and more for Hotmail (Oh my!) can be found here15. If you use Windows Live, here is a tutorial on adding images and HTML. The detail is helpful, even if the images are awful.

Yahoo Link

After a bit of research, I found that Yahoo used to support HTML signatures, but no longer. Here16‘s how to change your signature using rich text.

Apple Mail Link

Here17 is a pretty decent tutorial, with some inline HTML for formatting. It then explains how to implement it in the application. You even get some hints on how it will look on the iPhone.

iPhone Link

Customize your “Sent from my iPhone” message here18.

BlackBerry Link

Some information on how to change your message on BlackBerry smartphones here19.

Resources Link


Footnotes Link

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  4. 4 /2009/04/01/10-handy-tips-for-web-design-cvs-and-resumes/
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Kat Neville is a freelance Canadian web designer (living in the UK) who is constantly coming up with too many ideas for new websites. She also loves arts and crafts, gardening and going on adventures. You can find her design work at

  1. 1

    Cool, was looking forwards to an article like this! Thank!

  2. 2

    Tony Beninate

    February 4, 2010 6:57 am

    Good article! I hadn’t thought much about this before.

  3. 3

    I think there is a typo with the line :
    Your home phone number or address (unless you want to be called by international clients early in the early);
    If it is indeed a correct usage the phrase. Please ignore the comment.
    By the way a great article. For me the signature was always about the Name, URL and Twitter. And frankly it will still be even after reading the article. Just do not see a reason to change. :)

  4. 5

    I never understand putting your email adress in your sig, if you are SENDING from that address. This is info that’s already apparent.

    Site, direct phone number, job function, perhaps fax. That’s it.

    • 6

      Sabine, sometimes your message is forwarded on to someone else without the mail header information (e.g. it just says “on 12 March ABC wrote:”). Then it is useful to have the email in the signature.

    • 7

      totally agree

    • 8

      It may be convenient for the recipient to be able to copy and paste your entire contact information (including email) in one go.

    • 9

      When the email is forwarded other people have your email address too! :D
      For freelance webdesigners or developers that could mean business… or they could go to the website: point taken :S I still have it in mine

    • 10

      Sweety that is because reply-to email address might be different, since one person might be playing different roles.


  5. 11

    Great post! I keep saying that I need to get my signature together, and now I have the motivation to do so. Thank you.

  6. 12

    What, no mention of that sodding “think of the environment, don’t print this!!!” green tree logo’d e-mail footer? :D

  7. 13

    The attached image or vcard really gets me when you want to search through your mails for ones with real attachments. I had wondered whether embedded inline base64-encoded images would get around that but it seems not:

    BTW, another good reason for keeping the sig short is that long email conversations with lots of messages rapidly collect multiple email sigs at the bottom.

  8. 14

    Yeah! Never use an image as your email signature!
    You cannot copy/paste very important information!

  9. 15

    A good rule of thumb when writing articles like this is to make a clear distinction between screen grabs of ASCII text and actual text, so people won’t miss what you’ve written in between the screen grabs. (or have to scroll up and down countless of times to make sense of what you’re trying to say)

    Also, if you advice people against doing something, be sure that the “inspirational” material you’re showing at the end don’t contain exactly those things you’re advising against..

    Lastly, please refrain from disguising “subjective opinions” as objective guidelines…

  10. 16

    i always thought having your email address in your signature was redundant and unnecessary. i argue to simplify the amount of ways someone can contact you. all you really need is one phone number. the recipient has two choices, reply or call. easy.

    no one cares about your blog or your vimeo account. or your twitter. most of that stuff can be found by googling your email address/name anyway. if someone wants to stalk, they will. no need to scream “hey look at me! over here!” with a ridiculous collection of social media links. no one cares about your dalai lama, einstein, or gandhi quotes either.

    also don’t include a signature on replies. why? because they clearly don’t need it if they got in contact with you.

    ugh, i hate emails. great article tho. :)

  11. 17

    ♥ the mobile version! was just waiting for it, check sm every day on iphone

  12. 18

    How cool of you to publish email addresses in plain text in this article. bravo! :)

  13. 19

    Thanks for all the great tips.

    Personally, I can’t stand signatures that use images or HTML. I keep mine plain text and simple – I know it’ll come across everyone’s email fine that way.

    By the way, I didn’t see any mention of signatures containing what device an email was sent from. I get those “sent from my BlackBerry” or “sent from my iPhone” ones, and before I had such a device, I just assumed people were being oddly egotistical by putting that in their signature.

    I now know it’s important to have in there so people can see that you were likely out on the road when the message was sent.

  14. 20

    I’ve always wondered why people include their contact details the second time. Phone number, sure, but the e-mail is one reply button away or in a e-mail sent to lots of people the address is typically visible too.

    I go with the


  15. 21

    I know this isn’t technically email signature-related, but what about those annoying email backgrounds? Some of them are so obtrusive, I can barely read the content. Ugh.

    Great tips, great article, will be retweeted.

  16. 22

    Comic Sans! The horror, the horror…

    At work we use our name, job title and some general legal statement, that’s it. Nobody will ever read it so what’s the point of including your life story, cat’s name and favourite colour?

  17. 23

    Interesting read, I’d never really thought too much about my email signature. Up till this point I’ve simply had it as my name, company, and URL. Time to rethink! Great post.

  18. 24

    I have been meaning to do a proper signature for ages, and this has inspired me to get it done tonight after work.

    Great article full of everything you will ever need.

  19. 25

    Tanks, very useful ! :) Hugs from Argentina, Buenos Aires

    • 26

      Sally, you are absolutely correct, it shows that youre an authority on the subject. i admire someone that takes the pride you have and with your projecton of information. So when i actually do sit down to read material, I appreciate well written and organized is like this one. i have it bookmarked and will be back.
      myself have a website aswell.

    • 27

      Sally, you are absolutely correct, it shows that youre an authority on da subject. I admire someone that takes da pride you have and with your projecton of information. So when I actually do sit down to read material, I appreciate well written and organized Is like this one. I have it bookmarked and will be back.
      If you want to exchange links let me know.

    • 28

      That was a good reading and informative. You obviously know your stuff!

    • 29

      Ive been reading along for a while now.
      Whats yer opinion on potential?

    • 30

      refreshing and very informative. My bro wish there were more blogs like it.
      Do you do blogroll exchanging?

    • 31

      Hi There
      err myself keep getting an error when trying to skip to teh next article
      myself have a website aswell.

    • 32

      Hi Homie
      Your article has added very nice value to your site. myself say this because to me personally myself find it very nice. Maybe to some one else its not but to me you did very nice. gracias for dha info.

  20. 33

    Francis Baptiste

    February 4, 2010 4:14 pm

    I really hate HTML in an email. 99% of the time it’s just a mess and an eye sore to look at . As soon as I see HTML in an email, I think someone is trying to sell me something, because that’s always been the case. A small bit in the footer might be alright, but still…

    HTML has no place in emails, if you ask me. It’s like getting a flyer in the mail. It’s cool if you’re the kind of person who likes to actually look at every flyer you get in the mail, but I don’t like to waste my time with that crap.

  21. 34

    What Creative

    February 4, 2010 7:51 am

    Great post and very informative! I agree that people should think a lot more about their signature as email is probably the most popular form of communication in this industry.

    Thanks a lot for including our signature in the examples too!

  22. 35

    Great post,
    lots of email signature to see and for inspiration.
    Thanks for sharing!

  23. 36

    Some great tips here that I’ll be implementing in my future emails. I’ve found that DubLi employees usually have a really original and innovative signature too!

  24. 37

    Great article,

    My clients occasionally ask for this sort of thing. So this page is great to direct them too!

    My problem is I keep 3 different signature, depending on who I am talking to, so I just keep everything as a text shortcut using lifehacker’s Texter application. I just type my initals, and a signifying character, and BAM, my signature appears.

  25. 38

    Brilliant article, thanks!
    I hated html-ing until I discovered wisestamp. Makes it fairly simple.
    I love their RSS feature (each of my outgoing emails contains the headline of my latest blog post).
    They work only on FF and Chrome though (as if someone’s still using IE…)

  26. 39

    Brilliant stuff. Companies House has kept their business stationery rules a well-kept secret! Time to change some sigs!

  27. 40

    Rasmus Henriksen

    February 4, 2010 9:09 am

    I completely and deeply disagree with avoiding HTML in email signatures! If you know how to make “old html”, use your head, doesnt use “fancy codes” and also read some tests about which codes does work and which doesnt, it’s not a problem using HTML. Also, if you test your signature in a vary of different clients then there’s really NO problem at all. The use of HTML in signatures makes emailing far more inspiring and gives a great trustworth – if you’re a company or freelancer, you simply just have to use HTML in your email signature – or at least not avoid it if possible – show that you care about design, trust and creativity. At you can test email signature in clients and against a vary of spamfiltres (not my site btw!) – great servicesite. But thx for signature-inspiration!

    Besides, images doesnt have to be attached. If you use embedded images AND tests the signature against spamfilters, you avaoid being marked as spam and your readers doesnt have to click “show images” :)

  28. 41

    Design Informer

    February 4, 2010 9:33 am

    Nice examples and very detailed post. Thanks for including my signature.

    I do agree with the author, you definitely want to keep it as simple as possible.

    LOL @ Steve Stevenson, Web Designer

    By the way, I wonder how many people will actually try to dial these phone numbers on the examples? :)

    • 42

      haha! I don’t know! I should have made them phone one of those joke phone numbers instead! Next time!

  29. 43

    That confidentiality disclaimer isn’t enforceable, either, as far as I know (I’m not a lawyer). Since the other party didn’t agree to it before they received the information, they can’t be bound by the statement.

  30. 44

    Exactly the kind of tips I needed.
    Excellent post, very detailed.
    Thanks Kat

  31. 45

    Totally agree with KISS in all things web and email. This seems to be a trending topic of late, but as always, it’s best just to use plain-text. No need for fancy styling or graphics. For this, just your necessary info is all that’s need AND all that’s going to be read or used.

    Nice points!

  32. 46

    nothing really new,
    but good summary of signature.

  33. 47

    Great article, lots of examples and inspiration.

    And also thanks for including my signature ;)

  34. 48

    Rajesh Trilokhria

    February 4, 2010 9:31 pm

    Totally Agree to your point that HTML sucks when you deal with Newsletters, Mailers and Signatures…. Its high time to think about some other option……

    — Rajesh Trilokhria

  35. 49

    Hi everyone. Can everyone leave a link on tutorial how to create an html format email signature? It would be of great help. I’ve tried the old school html coding, used tables too. BTW, it’s working fine in thunderbird but not with 2003 outlook. Any idea or tweak tips on this?

    Thanks in advance.

  36. 50

    Great article. I’ll be taking on some of this advice.

    However the Apple Mail article you link to contains a signature that features CSS, which you explicitly advise against.

  37. 51

    If you enable the “Canned Responses” lab in Gmail, you can create several signatures and use the feature to simply place them in your emails.

  38. 52

    Simpler is ALWAYS better.

  39. 53

    Thanks Roger! I can’t believe I forgot, as it’s one of those things I’ve had to set up before. I have added it in.

  40. 54

    I liked the variations given in the Personality Section.

  41. 55

    Good article.

  42. 56

    Definitely wise to leave other ways for people to get in touch with you, as the sender’s message will occasionally be an emergency.

    If you want people you email to be able to get a hold of you when it’s urgent WITHOUT giving out your cell phone number, then you can create a personal contact page that filters out urgent messages at You’ll get the sender’s message on your cell phone instantly (via text or automated voice call) without ever revealing your private contact info.

  43. 57

    Nice and informative article.
    I think there is no better way to make an unprofessional impression than having a bad/ridiculous signature.

  44. 58

    This is fabulous! I’d completely neglected this aspect, and you listed TONS of classy ways to go about it. Thank you!

  45. 59

    Nice read!

    The ASCII formatting though, doesn’t work for most people, as they don’t actively set their client to monospaced font like we do. All this “nice” artwork with backslashes and other chars that some people do, that looks just weird for the majority of recipients, as if something went wrong down there.

    The argument “vcard = annoying” goes for everything – cute drawings, small company logos, photos, at least for my taste. I actually take the time to delete these, so they don’t junk up my mail archive.

  46. 60

    It is normaly piece of art, to publish an email signature which looks on every mail client the same!

  47. 61

    One plus neat tip for HTML signature users:

    Set up a URL (with URL Builder) that can be tracked in Google Analytics . So if somebody clicks on your website’s link, you’ll see it in your stats (just like a newsletter campaign).

    For example campaign source is xy_signature, medium is email, etc.

  48. 62

    Wow, thank, complete and interesting article!

  49. 63

    Perfect! Thank you for this dose of inspiration!

    I really like the example with comic sans heading :P

  50. 64

    Thanks a lot for the article! I’d say it’s also useful for freelance translators.

    Yelena, Eng-Rus translator

  51. 65

    ohhhh fluid creativity are still deleted. shame, we were all v.excited being mentioned. :-(

  52. 66

    João Firmino

    February 5, 2010 3:59 am

    Cool! good post Kat ;D

  53. 67

    Great article:)

    I’ve been meaning to do this for ages and it’s given me the impetus to do so.

    Good-by boring e-mails:)

  54. 68

    SM as always rokks!! Fantatstic Article guys.

  55. 69

    Excellent post. Simple and effective tips. Thanks!

  56. 70

    This is freaky, we JUST completed and uploaded the first in our series of mini-tutorial videos which is how to create a signature in Outlook 2007! This is an excellent set of resources (as always) and I’ll be making it available to our students. (I won’t put in the direct links but our Youtube username is CDEDYourOnlineSchool if anybody is interested in the video, it might be a good corollary to the Outlook link above).

  57. 71

    Srecko Bradic

    February 5, 2010 3:26 pm

    Excellent article! Must say that I have recognized my self in my very early days but later I have take a look in some memorandum letters and footer and realize what was most important facts in every contact or communications files. Short and direct- people don’t have all time in the world to read all you include in emailing :)

    Cheers :)

  58. 72

    Excellent post. I’m going to be directing all my clients to this as a must-read. Many people want to include their whole resume or every award they’ve ever received…it just ends up looking messy.

    Another recommendation would be to prepare a few minimalist signatures, tailored to the different types of people you email (potential clients, current clients, colleagues, etc.)

  59. 73

    Cool post !

    I think a good email signature says what you need it to say without distracting from the message.
    ~ Scott Hanselman

  60. 74

    Thunderbird, for some reason, does not include headers when you forward emails – though you can install an extension (I did) to include the time/date/email address. But it is frustrating getting forwarded emails from my bosses with no way of knowing when they received the email or from who (because it usually only says “Jane Doe wrote:” without a link to the email address or anything).

    When I used Eudora, I used to have two signatures – one for outside correspondence (that would list the company and full address) and one for inside correspondence that was shorter. I haven’t figured out how to do this with Thunderbird (because I use a keystroke to add the signature to the emails – it’s not automatic), so I only use the full signature. However, if it’s a back-and-forth email exchange, I don’t bother adding the signature because it is annoying to have an email with like five different signatures at the end (sometimes it’s the same signatures!).

  61. 75

    Nikoloz Asatiani

    February 6, 2010 5:52 am

    Nice job Kat :) Thanks.

  62. 76

    Very nice article. I have to disagree on some points however. A fully graphic email signature can be a fantastic way to introduce branding and a logo for free to potential clients. Impractical? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely. I found a lot of the samples you provided in this article to be cluttered and ineffective just by the lack of ‘brand continuity’.
    People are going to already know what your email address is when you email them. You don’t need to reiterate it for them. Also, some professionals find it absolutely necessary to add a couple different modes of contact. In my opinion, as technology grows and grows, utilizing things like AIM and gTalk are a fantastic way to engage clients. People are instant gratification based. If they can send you a quick IM and get an instant response, that makes them happy. So why be afraid to use IM?

    Just my 2 cents.

  63. 77

    Hey este tema lleva tiempo sin ser revelada me gusta lo que estoy haciendo HOZTdesigns fundador de la empresa de diseño web y siempre vamos por smashingmagazine Su trabajo es Exelente


  64. 78

    You said not to include Twitter, Im details etc. but half the sigs you showcased had those exact details! I think you either missed your own point or don’t understand branding.

  65. 80

    I think you mean “stationery” in “Short and Concise, but Check the Rules”.

  66. 81

    D.A. Gutierrez

    February 8, 2010 2:34 pm

    I haven’t seen anyone mention the use of .TEL domains. Does anyone have any thoughts? Seems like a great way to replace an entire SIG file with a single URL.

  67. 82

    Great article.

    I have to agree I hate receiving HTML emails, especially when using my phone.

  68. 83

    Nicely done!

    The attached image or vcard really gets me when you want to search through your mails for ones with real attachments. I had wondered whether embedded inline base64-encoded images would get around that but it seems not:

    BTW, another good reason for keeping the sig short is that long email conversations with lots of messages rapidly collect multiple email sigs at the bottom.

  69. 84

    Thanks for the info. I figure out i miss the proper way of your email signature. My signature mostly are in the don’t include heheh..


  70. 85

    Hi, Excellent article. I have been working with management at my work to make a nice professional HTML signature (a science based, and as a consequence a company filled with people who couldn’t care less about email signatures and this type of things and, even worse, when they do it is brutal stuff – large .jpg images etc). However, we have a group logo which we outsourced and ideally we would want this on the emails but how do I find a good, safe place to host the image? The servers I have access to are for internal use only and I am looking for a simple place to store the image so I can link to it for external vendors. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  71. 86

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve never worked in an office setting until this month (with my own email address and phone number and everything!) so while I was making my email signature, this article was EXTREMELY useful! :)

  72. 87

    Ouch! Severly poor information. Why Smashing would ask a non direct-response copywriter to write/educate on this information is also puzzling.

  73. 88

    Martin Lucas

    July 29, 2010 4:21 am

    Gmail is now offering specific signatures for each email address on your account, which is great. And so is this article – really helpful, especially the examples at the end.

  74. 89

    Great advice. We will take much of this to heart, but I think using HTML in an email signature can add a lot of value – enough to justify risking its use in an email signature.

  75. 90

    Is there a way to have both an html and a plain text signature and get your mail program to automatically switch between them?

  76. 91

    Craig McKenna

    January 20, 2011 8:18 am

    Sent this as my signature was rubbish! Very useful thanks!

    Its much better now :)
    On to the next thing that needs sorted, any feedback welcome!!

  77. 92

    Connie Wright Designs

    February 25, 2011 9:09 am

    Great Info!
    To the point and simple enough for those of us without PhD’s.
    Looking forward to the next one.

  78. 93

    Thank you. I just had to send a lot of emails out using my new company name, and was trying to figure out what the best sig would be without being distracting. I took the advice and instead of using my company logo in the sig like I did before, I ended up using just a plain web address link. Looks nice and simple now and super easy to read.

  79. 94


    March 6, 2011 6:55 am

    An incredible & very complete overview on email signatures. It’s amazing how many people ignore this as key & free marketing tool. I am adding a link from my shorter article, and likely additional links on how to add signatures to the most common email systems. I happen to use WiseStamp for gmail accounts … which you might cover under your Firefox addons.

  80. 95

    Thanks Kat, I found this one the same day my client asked to update his email signature! Great advice – simple is key! I will stash this article into my archives. Cheers

  81. 96

    Thanks Kat

    keep writing :)

  82. 97

    Thanks for the post. We have been reviewing our company’s signature policy over the past week as we realized we had over 10 versions of the signature going out from HTML-intensive to two-line text. A lot of examples and points made in this article will help us streamline our corporate’s practices ….

  83. 98

    jatin kaklottar

    May 7, 2011 6:58 am

    thanks a lot very useful me and my personality

  84. 99

    dhanesh mane

    May 11, 2011 11:21 am

    hey thx for very nice article. I love almost all of the ideas.

  85. 100

    Calvin Murrill

    May 19, 2011 7:46 am

    Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Thank you

  86. 101

    Martins Kikulis

    June 1, 2011 1:04 pm

    Nice one! thanks for the advice! ;)

  87. 102

    No images in a signature, ever!

    Otherwise, every single email you send someone will show up with an attachment. Then, when you do send them something as an attachment, they’ll have to hunt through a bunch of emails looking for the one with the “right” attachment.

    The corporate logo in the signature is a throwback to business cards, and adds nothing in terms of information. I’m already aware of who you’re working for based on the domain name in the email address – I don’t need to see your snazzy pic, too.

  88. 103

    Interestingly enough, I found this page because I’m currently researching a way to strip out all of the signature images without stripping out useful attachments.

  89. 104

    Darren Rittenhouse

    June 26, 2011 5:00 pm

    I believe that your email should always include your vCard (electronic business card) not as an attachment but as an link as you do email address and url as out lined at

  90. 105

    Anand Mistry

    June 30, 2011 9:32 pm

    I am going to develop such a great signature in my Gmail account with help of this article. Thanks to share great details on small subject like email signature.

  91. 106


    That was an interesting read. Reading it was fun and informative. Many thanks.

  92. 107

    I have been tasked with creating a uniform HTML signature for everyone in my office to use. I was able to get it to work in Mac Mail, and Thunderbird, but I have had no success getting it to work in Entourage. Is there a way to display an HTML signature with styled images/text/links?

    Thanks in advance!

  93. 108

    I disagree with adding links to what you do, especially if what you do is unique… I do agree with all the twitter and fan BS… but often the one chance you have to intrigue and instantly differentiate is with a link to photos of your work if you are in an artistic business.

    My 10cents

  94. 109

    Great post! Lots of different examples to see what can work.

  95. 110

    Very good guide on basics. Conscisely written and good examples.

    Perfect A+

  96. 111

    Very Interesting . Thank you.

  97. 112

    I think it’s a Microsoft 2003 thing, but I created a 5.227K GIF and inserted it into my signature. When sent, the email (consisting only of my name and address=3K) is 40 K. I want to stick close to no bigger than 10K. Can anyone tell me how?

  98. 113

    Thanks very much for the great article! :)

  99. 114

    “This signature is too big at 20KB”

    Oh, yeah, sure… because in the second decade of the 21st century, where we all have Internet connections on the order of anywhere from one to one hundred megabits per second in our homes, where we can get streaming video in HD quality over our cell phone networks, and where we can literally encode the ENTIRE CONTENTS of the signature in a 57×57 pixel QR code… our e-mail is going to break because we used a 20 kilobyte signature graphic.

    When I read your little comment there I literally had to do a double-take and check what date the article was written, because you’re talking like it’s 1996.

    At least that’s a good excuse for designing a signature graphic that someone wouldn’t want to USE after 1996, “Mister Stephenson”. Next time try to color INSIDE the lines with your crayons. If you’re having trouble with that, find any child between the age of three and five years old, and I’m sure they can help you along.

    • 115

      Actually, if we’re talking midsize to large companies that share an email network, and everyone has images in their signatures, and you get 100+ emails a day, it’s amazing how quickly that little 20kb graphic will add up into something that ends up clogging your inbox with needless data.

      Nice attempt at working in an irrelevant insult to the author, by the way– a snarky comment on something that was obviously done on purpose for aesthetic reasons.

    • 116

      @Crates: You failed miserably in your attemp to insult the author and show off your own “expertise” on this subject.

      Please stop commenting on the internet and do something usefull (e.g. read this article again and change your own email signature.)

      @Kat: great article, thanks!

    • 117

      Serenity Digital

      April 16, 2013 6:19 pm

      This is just rude and uncalled for! It’s easy enough to present an opposing view without having to be nasty.

  100. 118

    Bryan Canning

    January 31, 2012 4:27 pm

    Informative article. Given the business networking opportunities inherent in social spaces like Twitter and LinkedIn, my only grievance is that you recommend not having those links in your signature. IMHO, that is a recommendation to miss an opportunity.

  101. 119

    Non disclosure and other legalise in the email signature are meaningless. I don’t believe there has ever been a ruling backing this up. You could add any crazy claims to your email but it doesn’t mean the recipient is bound by it. I don’t know how this started but its just one of those “everyone does it, so it must be right” things.

  102. 120

    You should consider adding at least one pertinent image to each Smashing post so that readers can pin articles to their Pinterest boards. I tried, and all I got as images were a couple of dozen blanks and a few ads. Pinterest is becoming very popular and you will enable a greater degree of sharing by simply adding an image. I have a board for clients where I pin relevant articles – I wish I could pin this one!

  103. 121


    I found this information, well informative, however, re-typing my email seems a mite redundant. Working in education, I find folk like accessibility and professionalism. With these two in mind, I go simple, as your article expresses, so I sport my name, website and best mode of reaching: email. I haven’t had any emailing me back asking, “and what email do I send this to?” That would be tragic and sad.

    A good signature should look clean and organized. Less is more at times.
    …and then there are abstract folk who’s circle encompasses abstract clients. With this as a factor, other modes could be used i.e., IM, Twitter and the like, all capable of a clean organized look. Hey, that’s what makes it a personal signature.

    Thanks for the post!

  104. 122

    Mohamed Hassan

    February 16, 2012 9:49 am

    Amazing article with so much details and presents -unlike many others I’ve reviewed- a professional view.

    So thanks so much


    Mohamed Hassan

    Master’s student

    UPM Aerospace Engineering

    how about this signature, I learned to make it from article :P

  105. 123

    Now this is one article that explains it all and that too very brilliantly…..Nice job Kat…!

  106. 124

    Stay away from HTML?

    When emails are sent, they are usually converted to HTML by your email client to then be sent on to somebody else’s client to render that HTML…. The problem being that email clients can be terrible at converted RTF to HTML!!

    By creating your email signature in HTML, you have full control over your email signature design and it’s your best bet for your signature to be displayed correctly across all clients and mobile devices.

    P.S. If you want to add Lotus Notes to your “Email Clients” guides, feel free to use mine –

  107. 125

    I find it the most annoying when people add “think before you print” message. It often happens that when you do need to print an email it will actually print on a second page and I am wasting one full page on this nonsense. Yes, I can make my own decision on whether I need to print your email, thank you.

    In hloom we make email signature as simple as possible so it is displayed the same way in different email clients:
    Name Surname

    Simple and does the job.

  108. 126

    Hester Destime

    July 13, 2012 2:57 am

    I like the efforts you have put in this, regards for all the great blog posts.

  109. 127

    I have an image I would like to upload as a link to a simple text based signature. The article says to upload the url to your email signatures HTML. Anyone know where i find my email signatures HTML? Or do I need to create a special HTML one to be able to do this? Working with Mail on MAC 10.6.8 Thanks!

  110. 128

    I think your personal website should be in your signature.

  111. 129

    I was following along until the part about confidentiality agreements. These are almost universally not binding. Think about it- when in the first world do you enter into a contract just by somebody sending a note telling you that you are now in a contract? Plus the court will likely recognize that by sending the information via email the sender did not take steps to protect confidentiality.

    I realize that non-savvy companies have such policies, but a web developer should focus on debunking these myths.

  112. 130

    I don’t actually like the examples with images. I think another reason to keep images in sigs short and sweet is that many people check email on their phones, which have slower connections and smaller screens.

  113. 131

    I had to do this for my company a while ago because comic sans, bible quotes, and pictures were being added. Stripped it all away to just name, title, text, website, and phone number. I’m actually not a proponent of putting images in email sigs because on the receiving end, I find it distracting. Don’t a lot of email clients block images that are sourced from a different server anyways? I’ve had trouble with that too.

  114. 132

    Carlin Scuderi

    August 22, 2012 3:30 pm

    What about the typical “Sent from my Android Galaxy Nexus S IIx IVI on the Rogers Mobility Network using Super Mail ++ Pro App” type of sayings that get added to a lot of emails by default? Is it acceptable to add “Please excuse typographical errors, this message was sent from an iPhone” or something along those lines, or is it just annoying for people to read at this point?

  115. 133

    I LOVE this article. Thanks so much for it!

  116. 134

    My client really wants to have an image in the email signature, and I don’t know why but I’m having the hardest time with it. It has this strange, jagged distortion to it in some versions of outlook, no matter what format I try, and it appears slightly differently in gmail, apple mail, etc. Confusing, because some signature images look just fine (and consistent) across all email clients.

    I’m of the opinion that signature images shouldn’t be used at all, but I don’t have a choice in this case. Does anyone know of a guide for best practices for the technical side of signature images?

  117. 135

    Pritesh Desai

    April 8, 2013 3:50 pm

    Thanks for the awesome article. I had neglected email signatures for so long. This has helped.

  118. 136

    Alexandra Skey

    April 17, 2013 12:00 am

    Hi Kat,

    This is a very thorough post on the science of marketing in email signatures, thanks for putting it together.

    I actually showcased you in our most recent post, as I thought what you said is a really good follow up. Hope that’s okay!

    Can you send me your email?

    Thanks Kat,

  119. 137

    Thank you Kat a lot of work must have gone into this article!

    Really useful!

    Thank you again

  120. 138

    Brad Patterson

    December 2, 2013 5:37 pm

    Excellent summary of what’s out there as far as email signatures and as my team’s core competence is email signature analysis (to auto-enrich our clients’ address books), we DEFINITELY agree with the idea to 1) never make the entire signature an image 2) to use HTML as opposed to attached images 3) and to add a bit of your own flair.

    Along the same lines, we created an infographic with the bigdata from 700 million emails and what are statistically the most common elements in an email signature:


  121. 139

    Your article had some valid points but the key is to find a signature solution that offers flexibility and a lot of the issues described can be solved with a product called LetterMark. LetterMark has the option to not include the signature, use a text only or use the html version. It can also default the html signature to not be used for internal emails.


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