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The Top 15 Things Not to Include in Email Signatures

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How you design a professional email signature can influence your company’s perception. Adding extra, unnecessary elements to your signature looks unprofessional and messy. If your email signature is poorly designed, it can negatively impact your reputation.

What not to include in email signatures

Check out the top 15 things you should not include in email signatures to create the best design possible:

1. Unnecessary contact information

Don’t overload your signature template with every possible way to contact you. Keep to the basics:

  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Company name and address
  • Phone number
  • Website URL

Keep these details shorter for internal emails and replies.

2. Custom fonts

Using custom fonts in your email signature template is possible, but it is not advisable. This is because most of your recipient’s 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

Bullet points are something you should not include in email signatures. In fact, good email signatures don’t use bullet points in any way.

This is because they render strangely in different email clients and can ruin the format of your signature. A bullet point in Outlook will look completely different from one in Gmail.

4. Animated GIFs

Now it is true that you can now use animated GIFs in email signatures. However, these will only work in modern email clients. Many will still use older email clients who cannot play animated GIFs.

Instead, only the first frame of the GIF will show, or the dreaded red X. To be safe, animated GIFs should not be used in email signatures.

5. Videos

Unfortunately, embedding videos directly into your email signature is impossible 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. Native video files should essentially never be used in email signatures.

You can use a link with alternate text or a promotional banner if you’d like to share a video in your email signature.

6. Quotes

The best corporate email signatures never include motivational and inspirational quotes. Don’t forget that not everyone’s values will align with yours.

For example, a recipient may get the wrong impression, get offended, and probably won’t even care about the message.

Email signature quotes should be used carefully

7. Personal information

If it’s a work signature, keep it professional. Links to your fundraising page or personal social media pages should not be used in email signatures. Remember, you are representing your organization, not yourself.

8. Multiple color fonts

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.

Multiple fonts make email signatures look unprofessional.

9. An image as your email signature

You should never use 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 won’t be easy to update regularly.

If you use an image for your signature, your email is more likely to end up in the recipient’s junk folder, or spam filters may block it.

10. Links to unused accounts or old posts

Never include links in email signatures that are no longer relevant. Examples include an old blog post or a social media account that hasn’t been used in over six 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! Out-of-date banners are one of the main things you should not include in email signatures. After all, promotional banners should be current and regularly updated.

12. Too many social media icons

Your signature template 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. Also, only choose the channels that are most regularly updated.

Only include your most active social media channels in email signatures.

13. Pointless certifications

Unless the degree or certifications you have obtained is relevant to your job, they should not be used in email signatures.

Only add certifications your company has achieved in the past five years for professional email signatures. A certification from 2017 is very much out-of-date!

14. Too much content

Too much content can ruin the formatting and is a standard email signature mistake. If you have more than 72 characters on one line of your signature, it will likely be wrapped onto the following line, especially on mobile devices.

Format your signatures to be evenly spaced on multiple lines as best practice.

15. Large image files

If you use a logo or a photo of yourself in your email signature, make sure you resize the image to be 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 appear as the original file size.


Check out our 17 Email Signature DOs and DON’Ts to ensure you’re not making any other email signature mistakes.

To ensure that everyone in your company uses a consistent signature template, use professional email signature software from Exclaimer.

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