Guidelines for email signatures:

  • Text only works best
  • Avoid images (logos, social media links, photographs, etc)
  • Avoid HTML formatting — some recipients will see a text-only version
  • Avoid wise sayings and witty aphorisms

The email signature in the illustration shows how confusing images (logos, social media links, etc) can be. The sender, in the illustration below, believes that he is sending a message with no attachments, but the receiver sees five attachments. If there were an attachment, how would he know which of the (now six) attachments is the one he needs? In addition, attachments in emails may be viewed with suspicion by spam filters and security software.

One thing that this sender did correctly was to make the contact portions of the signature live text. If that information is part of a logo image, it can’t be copied and pasted. He also used web-safe typefaces (Georgia and Tahoma). There is simply no guarantee that the recipient will see your message in the type you specified, but the chances are increased with web-safe fonts.

Aphorisms and wise sayings have no place in business correspondence. It may seem innocuous or well-intentioned, but you risk offending people, and there is nothing to be gained.

Keep the signature on your professional emails attachment-free and text only.