Follow this checklist to learn more about the 15 things you should never include in an email signature from personal quotes, animated gifs and out-of-date marketing content.
How you design an email signature can influence how your company is perceived by its contacts. Adding extra, unnecessary elements to your signature looks unprofessional and messy. If your email signature is poorly designed, it can negatively impact your reputation.
Check out the top 15 things you should never include in an email signature below:
1. Unnecessary contact details
Don’t overload your signature with every possible way to contact you. Keep to the basics:
- Job title;
- Company name and address;
- Phone number;
- Website URL;
- Email address.
Keep this shorter for internal emails and replies.
2. Custom fonts
It is possible to use custom fonts in your email signature, but it is not advisable. This is because most recipient devices will not have your custom font installed, so it will automatically change to a default font such as Times New Roman or Arial. If you have to use a custom font, make sure to use a web safe fallback font. You can find a list of web safe fonts here
3. Bullet points
You should avoid using bullet points in email signatures as they will render strangely in different email clients and can ruin the format of your signature. A bullet point in Outlook will look completely different to one in Gmail.
4. Animated gifs
Most email clients will not play animated GIFs. Instead, either the first frame of the GIF will show or the dreaded red X will appear highlighting that the image is broken.
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to embed videos directly into your email signature as most email clients do not support this. This is because videos are seen to be a security issue, so the content will not play.
If you’d like to share a video in your email signature, you can use a link with alternate text or a promotional banner.
Email signatures are not the best place for motivational and inspirational quotes. Not everyone’s values will align with yours; the recipient may get the wrong impression, may get offended and probably won’t even care about the message.
7. Personal information
If it’s a work signature, keep it professional. Don’t include links to your fundraising page or personal social media pages.
8. Multiple color fonts
Having an email signature with multiple font colors looks messy, especially if they are too bright. Use a maximum of two neutral colors that match your company’s branding.
9. An image as your email signature
You should never use just an image as your email signature for multiple reasons:
- Most email clients do not automatically download and display images.
- The recipient cannot copy your contact details.
- You will not be able to include multiple hyperlinks in the image.
- It will be difficult to update regularly.
If you use an image for your signature, your email is also more likely to end up in the recipient’s junk folder or be blocked by spam filters.
10. Links to unused accounts or old posts
Never include links in your email signature to an old blog post or a social media account that hasn’t been used in over 6 months. It will look unprofessional if a customer goes to a page you haven’t updated in a long time.
11. Out-of-date promotional banners
Do you still have a Christmas promotional banner in your email signature in May? Time to remove it! All promotional banners should be current and regularly updated.
12. Too many social media icons
Your signature will look cluttered if you add an icon for every social media channel your company uses. We recommend using a maximum of four icons in your email signature. Only choose the channels that are most regularly updated.
13. Pointless certifications
Unless the degree or certifications you have obtained is relevant to your job, it’s best to not include them in your email signature.
For corporate email signatures, only add certifications your company has achieved in the past five years. A certification from 1999 is very much out-of-date!
14. Too much content
Too much content can ruin the formatting of your email signature. If you have more than 72 characters on one line of your signature, it is likely to be wrapped onto the next line, especially on mobiles.
Format your signatures to be evenly spaced on multiple lines as best practice.
15. Large image files
If you are using a logo or a photo of yourself in your email signature, make sure that you resize the image to the size you want it to appear.
If you have a 2000x1500px image file linked in the HTML, but it is coded to display at 500x375px, this may be ignored by email clients and actually appear as the original file size.
Watch our video below on the 17 Email Signature DOs and DON’Ts
to make sure you’re not making any other mistakes with your email signature.