Your email signature is more than just your name and title. It's also a part of your personal branding. It needs to encourage reader response, provide contact information, and catch the reader's eye in a way that's positive and memorable.
In this article, we take a close look at email signatures. Here are nine tips for creating email signatures that are both attractive and informative. Your reader will want to respond when they see a professional email signature on the messages you send.
Basic Elements of a Good Email Signature
An email signature has two jobs:
- to attract the reader’s attention
- to convey information about you to the reader
Here are some elements of a good email signature:
- Name, title and company. Your name tells the reader who sent the email. If you are representing a company, you should also include your name and title at the company.
- Contact information. Your contact information should include your business website. It should also include at least one phone number. It’s okay to include your email address although many experts say it’s unnecessary.
- Social links. It’s becoming increasingly important to include social media contact information in your email signature. Choose your most professional social media accounts to link to. LinkedIn is a good example. Avoid linking to frivolous or irrelevant social accounts.
- Logo (optional). If you work for a company or own your own business, you may wish to include your logo in your email signature.
- Photo (optional). Many email signatures include a photo of the sender. This can help the reader put your face to your name.
- Responsive design. The usage of smartphones and other mobile devices has increased. Chances are your email recipient will open your email on a mobile device. A responsive design adjusts for mobile readers.
- Legal requirements. Some countries have specific legal requirements that all business communications must meet. Check with your attorney to see if the country where your business is located has specific laws governing email signatures.
Don’t make your email signature too long or include an overwhelming amount of information. Studies have shown that recipients tend to ignore email signatures with too much information. For example, one or two phone numbers is usually enough.
Also, be careful about adding irrelevant information such as long quotes or controversial sayings. These often add nothing of value to your email signature. At the worst, a quote could offend or annoy your reader—causing you to lose business.
9 Email Signature Tips (With Examples)
Today’s professional email signatures make a statement about you and your business. They are as much a part of your branding as a business card or a piece of stationery. That’s why it’s important to get your email signature right.
Email signature templates can help you build a memorable and informative email signature. In this section, I share nine email signature tips, with an inspiring sample of email signature templates available from Envato Market. This way, you can get a professional email signature design that's just the right fit for your business needs.
1. Keep it Simple
You’ve heard the saying, “less is more.” When it comes to your email signature, it can be true. If your email signature is too busy or contains too much information your reader can become distracted or overwhelmed. Plus, some companies require the use of a uniform simple email signature for company business emails.
Here are two examples from a simple email signature template that would make a great standard for a corporation or a small business.
If you use a simple, minimalist email signature be sure to include enough information so that your reader can reach you.
2. Get Social
Social media provides another way for your readers to connect with you, which can be an important part of building an ongoing business relationship.
If you include social media contact information, the social media accounts you link to should be professional. If you’re not sure about a specific social media account, it’s a good idea to review that account and remove any unprofessional posts. It may help to have a friend review your social media account and notify you of any posts that make you look bad.
This professional email signature template has prominent social media information. Here are two sample email signatures with social media information and one without:
A large percentage of business professionals are on social media. Your readers will appreciate that you’ve made it easier to connect with your social accounts.
3. A Photo Finish
If you use a photo in your email signature it needs to be a professional image. Avoid using selfies or obvious crops from other photos.
Here are some pointers to help you get the most from photos in your email signature:
- The image should be small. An image that’s too large takes too long to load.
- Use a neutral photo background. A busy background distracts the reader.
- Dress professionally. Make sure your hair and grooming are also professional.
- Look straight at the camera for a more approachable image.
- Use a headshot rather than a full body photo. (Your face will be too small in a full body image.)
This email signature design template includes a prominent placeholder for your photograph:
Email signatures with photos are often perceived to be friendlier. This is a great choice for professionals with client contacts. Some examples include sales people, freelancers, or those in customer support.
4. Be Colorful
One of the easiest ways to catch attention is to use color. Readers are more likely to pay attention to a signature with a pop of color.
You can overdo color in your signature, though. Too many colors can make your email signature look childish or sloppy. Here are some guidelines for using color:
- Pick one or two colors that complement each other and stick with them.
- Don’t use too many colors.
- Avoid using colors that clash (like purple and orange) unless those colors are part of your brand.
- If you are in a creative field, you can get away with brighter colors. Otherwise, stick to subdued tones.
- Make sure that the colors you select fit in with other branded materials such as your website, your stationery, and your business cards.
The two email signatures below make an effective use of bright colors, one of hudreds of choices available in this colorful email signature template:
A good, colorful email signature is sure to attract attention. Color is a good choice for most businesses. Creative professionals can get away with using more colors in brighter tones.
5. Be Bold with Black and White
A flashy email signature is not appropriate for some industries and brands. The use of too much color may be against corporate policy. Or it may be frowned upon in more formal business communications.
Just because you don’t use color, that doesn’t mean that your professional email signature can’t be eye-catching. A black and white signature can be just as effective as one that uses color. The key is in the design and font usage.
Look for a design with a bold, crisp font and lots of white space for contrast. Here's an effective black and white design template:
Black and white email signatures can be perceived as more conservative or formal. That makes them a good fit if you are in a more formal profession such as finance or law. Depending on the design, a black and white signature may also be perceived as modern.
6. Options Galore
Since your email signature represents your brand, it’s good to have choices. It’s also a good idea to have choices if your email signature needs a change.
For example, if you change careers or companies you need to change your email signature to reflect your new position. Also, if you’re currently branding or rebranding your business, it’s a good idea to choose a flexible template that you can adjust once you finalize your business look.
The flexible signature template below lets you combine 50 designs with 10 colors, giving you up to 500 unique email signature choices. Here are a few examples:
So, if you expect to change your email signature soon, make sure that any template you use is flexible enough to accommodate your changes.
7. A Corporate Look
If you work for a business or organization, you may want a more uniform corporate look to your email signatures. You may also need to display your corporate logo in your email signature.
Remember, business emails sent using your corporate email signature represent your company. It’s important to meet corporate standards with your email signature, which may include:
- Confidentiality statement. Many companies require that you include this statement with each corporate email.
- Corporate colors and fonts. To help standardize the look and feel of corporate communications, your organization may limit the colors and fonts you use.
- Corporate links. Your company may prefer that you link to their site and social media accounts rather than your own.
- Address. Corporate email signatures usually include the location of the main corporate office.
Some countries have laws requiring business emails to contain certain elements. In the UK, for example, there are specific legal requirements for business communication for certain types of businesses. Those laws also apply to email. Check with an attorney familiar with business law in your area to see what regulations might apply to you.
The corporate email signature template below provides ten different email signatures that all have a similar professional look and feel. Here are two samples:
8. Use a Builder
Use an email signature template with an online editor. This allows you to build and customize your email signature, without having to know any coding skills or HTML knowledge.
You can use a builder to quickly edit the text, change the colors, add in your social links, company logo, and export the customized result.
Otrion e-signature builder offers an online editor, a number of choices, and exports a fully responsive result.
9. Get Modern
A modern email signature design fits well with many brands. The sleek, clean font and fresh look conveys a timeless feel without seeming dated.
If you feel a modern design style fits your business, here are some things to look for:
- uncluttered look
- crisp, clean font (avoid script or calligraphy fonts)
- flat or semi-flat design (avoid textures or 3-D looks)
- a small splash of a bold color
- large text
Here is a unique modern email signature style:
A modern email signature style is great for any company that wants to project a progressive image. It works equally well for a tech firm or a creative professional.
Your Next Step
Your next step is to create an attractive professional email signature that's uniquely yours. A great place to start looking for the right email signature templates at Envato Market, which has dozens of designs available to choose from.
When designing your professional email signature, remember to think about:
- social media links
- including a headshot
- staying simple or going modern
- using a color design or sticking with black and white
- corporate and legal standards
- using a template or email signature builder
Some Final Tips
Once you’ve created your professional email signature, keep it updated. Check it often to make sure that the links, phone numbers, and other information are current. Replace outdated links and add new information as needed.
An email signature with outdated information leaves a bad impression about your brand and your business.