What Would John Hancock Do?

“When I was your age, we didn’t type our signature in an email, we WROTE it, with a pen, in CURSIVE. And we liked it!”

My, how things have changed. Gone are the days of pen to paper. Now I’m typing emails to people and signing my name with a cute font in a pretty color, and perhaps adding a gif that makes me laugh. And while this may be enormously entertaining to me when I send things to my friends, this isn’t best practices for emails I send at work.

But secondly, it is a good branding strategy to have a solid email signature format for team members to follow. Doing so not only strengthens your branding and creates a consistent experience for those you communicate with, but it also increases the chances of the recipient visiting your website, connecting with you on social media, or seeing an important message you want to get out. People are doing more than simply responding to your email!

But what makes a good email signature? In my mind, it is one that is clean clear, and consistent. Who you are, what you are, how to get ahold of you, and maybe a call to action.  Gone are the days of fancy wallpapers, and crazy colors. Why? Because they are distracting – not to mention many folks are reading email on multiple platforms and some systems and devices cannot translate the cute email touches we all used to love, which means many people won’t be able to see it.

Where can you begin, and what makes a good email signature? My advice:

Brand it.

Your email signature is a branding opportunity, so take advantage of that. If you have certain fonts and a standard color that you use (that are legible I might add), then incorporate them.

Keep it Simple

Your signature should be short and sweet, and contact information easy to retrieve. If your signature spreads over 6 lines, cut it in half! 2-3 lines is sufficient

Big isn’t better (In this case anyway)

Remember your email is the important piece. You don’t want your signature to swallow up the page.

Remember mobile.

Keep in mind your email will be received on many devices, so test it out on various types of devices before you finalize it to ensure that it’s legible on the receiving end.

Include the Essentials:

  • Your NAME & title
  • Phone number
  • Email (because if this gets forwarded to someone else, that person may need it)
  • Website
  • Extras: social media icons with links and a Call to Action line are great.
  • Specials, events, awards: Is your business trying to call attention to something special? Drop in a simple mention in your signature!

(Furthermore, you can make links you add to your signature trackable if you like to see who is clicking through your email signature. (See how HERE.)

Avoid the Excess:

  • Long extensive lines of copy
  • Big pictures, backgrounds, or oversized logos
  • Lots of colors
  • Gifs
  • Unnecessary numbers – some industries deem it necessary to have multiple contact numbers, but if you don’t utilize the fax machine, don’t put it on your card

Hopefully I’ve provided you with a little guidance for creating your own signature. If you find you are creating too many lines, take a step back and see how you can scale back. And remember you and your website hold the additional information your client needs. While there is no exact science, remember less is more!


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