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A Definitive Guide on Creating a Professional Email Signature Template



Brand Management is all about communication. Every time we communicate in a professional capacity, our brand is impacted. This is true both personally and as a company. There is no sign of email waning as a vital medium of business communication, meaning it remains a key venue for brand management. A professional email without a signature is like a car without a badge. It leaves you wondering what kind of dubious operation it came from.

Why you need an effective business email signature template


Think of an email signature as a digital business card standing both for the individual sender and the company that they represent. A good email signature will appear dynamic, spark interest, and remain memorable. It should provide the right amount of information and encourage response from the recipient. Research shows that a bad first impression can be next to impossible to reverse.


Email can also be the first medium through which prospective customers or collaborators interact with you or your company. First impressions are as swiftly made and impactful as ever. Getting your signature right can make all the difference. It doesn’t matter whether you are running a cold email campaign, responding to customer service inquiries, communicating with contractors, or whatever else. Your email signature should reflect the image that you want to project in that interaction.

Who needs a professional email signature?


Impeccable email signatures are a must-have for company owners, CEOs, CTO, and CMOs. They are also vital for personnel who deal with clients, including sales representatives, communication managers, and customer support specialists. HR, especially recruiters, also benefit from the image boost that a good email signature provides. If you are in HR, you can also benefit from checking out our Linkedin recommendation examples. Even freelancers should conduct professional correspondence with a well-designed personal email signature template.


A variety of factors determines the best signature design for you. These include your field of business, your image, and who the recipients of your emails are. Despite the wide room for customization that you have with your signature, certain guidelines should be followed in practically all instances. We will go over these below.



Who needs an email signature template

Benefits they get from email signature templates

Owners and top-level management

Guarantee that all personnel use a uniformly branded and professional email signature

Marketing Personnel

Tailor your signature with a call to action and use custom URL tags to analyze the effectiveness of a campaign

HR departments

Customize the information that you share with employees and applicants 

Entrepreneurs and freelancers

Optimize your email signature for clients, colleagues, and investors


What do email signature templates offer over one-off email signatures?


Email signature templates, also known as email footer templates, give you a few major benefits. First, they can make it easy to design an effective signature without knowing HTML. Second, they make it easy to update and improve your signature whenever needed. Third, they let you easily standardize email signatures for all personnel in your company. Finally, email signature templates let you optimize your email signatures for different contexts.


Steps to designing a great email signature:


  1. Identify any company guidelines on design and content

  2. Determine the information you need to include

  3. Choose whether to code your own or use an online generator

  4. Find a brand-appropriate design including the right colors and fonts

  5. Format and align the components of your signature effectively

  6. Save the template to be edited for different senders and purposes

What information should you include in your email signature?


The first thing to think about is what information to include in your email signature. You should limit it to three or four lines of text. The absolute necessities are the sender’s name, position, company, and a link to the company’s site. Including one or two phone numbers is highly recommended. Including any more can make the signature look busy and lose the recipient’s attention. 


Would you bother picking through this long signature?


email signature template

Image source: Mailbird


In contrast, this example from Xink has the perfect number of lines:


html email signature template


You don’t need to include your email address. Your recipients can always find your address in the ‘from’ field of the message. Including your email address in your signature is about as tech-savvy as accidentally posting your password to Twitter. It is best practice to remove any email addresses from the body of an email before forwarding it. This doesn’t always happen, so that address in your signature could end up being more public that you like. You will feel it in your spam folder.


Some countries, such as the UK, require business emails to contain certain information. Familiarize yourself with the applicable laws and include the necessary information in your email signature.


Links to your professional or company social media accounts are practically obligatory additions to your email signature. Link icons are the established standard for this rather than URLs or @ handles. They are an elegant and efficient way to promote engagement with your social media presence. Only link to your professional social media accounts. Ensure that any accounts linked to are curated to appear as professional and dynamic as possible. Follow our guide to making the best Linkedin Profiles.


Check out how the social media links have been blended into the overall design in this example from Tutsplus:


email signature template outlook


Information to include in your email signature:


  • Your name and position

  • Company name, link, and physical address

  • A phone number or two

  • Any necessary legal information

  • Social media links

  • Consider a call to action

Does your email signature need a call to action?


Your email signature can be the perfect platform for a call to action, such as a link to your company blog. Be careful. You don’t want this to resemble clickbait. Avoid things like quotes or catchphrases. These are self-limiting in the impression you leave and distract from the valuable information in your email signature. A call to action can be as simple as an invitation to create a Linkedin connection. This can be a big help for Linkedin lead generation.


Here is an excellent example from sigstr.com:


free email signature template


This email signature actually has two calls to action, the link to ‘get a live preview now’ and the banner below. Use both styles or one or the other as the context dictates.

Using graphics in a business email signature template


Graphics are a highly recommended element for any email signature. There are three main options for email signature graphics, a logo, a headshot, or the sender’s signature. Most of the time, you want to stick to one graphic, but it is possible to squeeze in a second one. Keep it simple. Remember that everything needs to look good on small mobile platforms. 


In most cases, you will want just a flash of color. You don’t want your signature to look too busy or too flat. Graphics are usually located to the left of the email signature’s text, but other positions, especially up top, are possible.


This example from Mail Signatures takes the classic and classy approach:


html email signatures template


Wouldn’t it look better if the social media links adhered to the orange color scheme though? This one from Darlene Cain tastefully incorporates both a logo and a headshot:


professional email signatures template

Photos


Photos should be headshots. Full body shots will get your recipients squinting at their phones to see your face. The point is, after all, to put a face to the message. 


A professional appearance with a neutral background is usually best. Look sharp but approachable and look into the camera to appear engaging. 


As for photography, composition, lighting, and sharpness should be on point. Keep it in color, black and white is best for obituary photos. You want yourself and your company to look dynamic.


For the best photo:


  • Use a high-quality color photo

  • A professional, neutral background

  • Clothing suitable for your professional field

  • Use a headshot

  • Look into the camera


Here is a fantastic example from Snovi Labs:


professional email signature template


Handwritten signature images


Consider if you really want everyone your emails reach to have a copy of your handwritten signature. If your signature is already public, for example, if you are in a creative field, including an image of your John Hancock in your email signature can inspire confidence. 


An easy way is to simply write your signature on a piece of paper and photograph it with your phone. Your phone’s photo editing software should let you crop the image. You can also try turning the contrast all the way up and the saturation all the way down for a sharper, monochrome image.


To make a handwritten signature image:


  1. Write your signature on paper

  2. Take a photo with your phone

  3. Use your phone’s photo editor to crop the image

  4. Adjust the contrast up and the saturation down

  5. Add the image to your email signature


You will be left with something like this example from Email Signature Rescue. Notice how sharp and modern it looks with just one font and one color:


email signature template free

Logos


If you include a company logo, try to include a version that looks clear on small, mobile platforms. Most logos feature a restrained color scheme. This makes it easy to match the color scheme to the rest of your email signature. Design techniques can be used to integrate your text and formatting with your logo in the most seamless way.


Notice how the logo, fonts, colors, and overall design are integrated into the example from Rocket Steed:


outlook email signature template

Awards or certifications


If you have some awards or certifications that you want to showcase in your email signature, these can be included in addition to the standard logo or headshot, usually underneath. Official graphics representing such awards or certifications should be freely available for use. This is a great way to inspire trust and to partake in some acceptable, professional flexing.


Think something like this bold design from Mail Signatures:


email signature html template


If such a prominent award graphic feels too much like flexing, try something like this low-key flex from Pinterest:


gmail email signature template

Designing the perfect email signature for free


It isn’t enough to combine all the right information and graphics. How you combine them is also important. You will want to tie all the information in your email signature together with an effective design. There are various details to consider here:


  • Layout

  • Hierarchy

  • Color

  • Fonts

  • Dividers


Your email signature should be responsive, meaning it should look perfect on any platform, especially on mobile, where size is an issue. Graphics must be clear, the text must be easy to read, and links must be easily clickable. This means that links should be large enough and well enough buffered for recipients to tap on their phones. 


We have already highlighted that brevity is a virtue in the content of your email signature. Simplicity in its layout and design is also something to aim for. Too much color, flashing gifs, or other unnecessary design elements simply look unbusinesslike. 


As usual, less is more. If your email signature is cluttered or too busy, your recipient’s eyes will glaze over, and the impression left upon them will be sub-optimal. Never settle for that.


One addition that can enhance the organization and readability of your email signature is the divider. These can be tiny graphics, wingdings or, most effectively the vertical bar glyph that shares a keyboard key with the backslash. The latter offers a simple and elegant way to organize information within your email signature. 


When a recipient quickly scans an email signature with effective dividers, everything they need to know falls into place without getting jumbled together. The efficiency of it also leaves a good impression, even if only subconsciously.


This example from sitepoint.com achieves a crisp, clean look with vertical bar dividers:


free html email signature template

Visual hierarchy


You can draw the recipient’s attention to the most vital information in your email signature using a toolbox of design tricks, creating what is known as a visual hierarchy. First, there is alignment and positioning. Depending on your overall design, the top right or possibly the center are the best places for the information you most want to draw attention to. Adjustments to the font size, weight, and color are also key ways to create visual hierarchy. Other uses of color, like highlighting or using differently colored dividers can also help. Integration with graphics or other branding elements works too. 


Check out how this example from WiseStamp uses the color, size, and weight of one font to establish visual hierarchy:


email signature template gmail

Economy in design elements


Design elements like colors and fonts should be brand appropriate. Colorful elements like text, dividers, social media icons, or highlighting should match your branding colors. As noted above, use one or at most two colors and use them sparingly. 


Fonts should also match your professional image. Within classic serif or modern sans-serif, there are endless options to give you just the right look. Whatever you use, clarity and minimalism should be rules of thumb. In accordance with that, avoid using more than two different fonts. Instead of using a different font, it is better to vary the size, weight, and color of one font. 

Putting everything together


Your email signature should be unique and compelling. By including just the right amount of content and following the design tips above, you should come out with a winning email signature.



 

Do

Don’t

Information

Use only three or four lines of text

Include your email address

Social media links

Match the color to your branding

Link to personal accounts

Photos

Dress professionally and look into the camera

Use anything but a headshot

Logos

Match the color scheme of your signature to it

Use one that is too busy on mobile platforms

Calls to action

Keep it short but engaging

Let it look like clickbait

Layout

Use dividers to organize information

Forget to use spacing and alignment to get a sleek look 

Focus attention

Use font color, size, and weight for visual hierarchy

Use too many fonts, colors, links or graphics


What sets signature templates apart from one-off email signatures?


Composing an outstanding one-off email signature is one thing, but what if you want to standardize the email signatures for everyone at your company? Email signature templates are the answer. 


Another handy trick is to use email signature templates to create different email signatures for different recipient categories. You can have one for marketing, such as a cold email campaign, one for customer service and another for dealing with investors or contractors. Even independent professionals like freelancers can benefit from them, as templates make updating the information in your signature easier. 


The benefits of a template include:


  • brand consistency

  • adherence to company guidelines

  • optimization for each recipient category. 


With a template, you can ensure that the email signatures of all of your personnel adhere to the corporate colors and fonts, include the company logo and other vital information. This can even include a standard confidentiality agreement or other legal necessities.

How to make email signature templates: raw code vs. free html generators


Practically every email service out there offers a way to create an email signature template. For example, Microsoft makes it easy to design an Outlook email signature template. You can also make a Gmail email signature template. Check out our guide to Linkedin Inmail templates


The problem here can be responsiveness. You want something that looks consistent and impressive on every platform. That’s where platform-independent standards like HTML come in.

File Formats: choosing PSD versus an HTML 


There are countless online services to help you create a free email signature template. However, beware, as some of these produce templates in the PSD or AI file formats. These represent editable images. An email signature in the form of an image is unlikely to be responsive, meaning it may not appear correctly on all platforms. Don’t compromise. You should ensure that your email signature looks perfect every single time.


That is why it is better to use an email signature template formatted in the responsive HTML format. If you have someone on hand who knows HTML, they can whip up a great email signature template from scratch. Otherwise, there are still endless easy-to-use online tools to choose from. Either way, you can get a great, free HTML email signature. A good email signature template generator will provide perfect formatting for every platform, especially mobile.


Here are some of the top online email signature template generators. Each offers easy-to-follow instructions on making your own new template:


  1. Newoldstamp

  2. WiseStamp

  3. HubSpot

  4. ZippySig

  5. MySignature

Including analytics in your HTML email signatures template


Such a template can include a handy built-in analytic to track how effective your email signature is, especially when used for marketing. All you need is links with urchin tracking module (UTM) parameters, also known as custom URL tags. These can be set up to send data to Google Analytics. From there, you can see when and how many times the links in your email signature have been clicked on. Custom URL tags can be created with the Google Analytics URL builder. A good online email signature tool should do this for you.

Add the signature template to your email account


Each email service provider or email client has its own procedure for you to add a signature. For instructions on how to do it with all the most popular services, click the links below.


Conclusion

Remember that you want your signature to be unique and to stand out but in a good way. Rules are made to be broken, and that goes for our guidelines here as well. Just consider that if you want to use more than a couple of colors, you should probably balance that out by minimizing another design feature like the number of fonts. Just don’t compromise on the core information that you need to get out to your email recipients. Your email signature stands for you and your company. Make one that you are thrilled to send out.

 

Author

Mathieu Picard

CEO, Anyleads, San Francisco

We are the leading marketing automation platform serving more than 100,000 businesses daily. We operate in 3 countries, based in San Francisco, New York, Paris & London.

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