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Email Signature
I need help to create the perfect email sig.
The Cricketer

 2:57 pm on Nov 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I work in an office where we use Microsoft Outlook 2002. Over the last couple of months I have been experimenting with, plain-text only, rich text format and html email signatures. Today, at the end of my experiment, I have not found an 'ideal' or 'perfect' solution and I am wondering if anyone else has a 'perfect' solution. My issues are:

text only - as you'd expect, very basic, doesn't allow much design, change of colour etc. Is boring.

Rich text format
allows good editing, produces an aesthetically pleasing signature. However, some email clients turn the rtf into plain text. This I can live with once in a while, but as well as losing colour and font, it misaligns any alignment resulting in an ugly look.

Good general look, but some email clients again do not respond well to HTML, losing some alignment. Looking ugly.

Produced an email signature in photoshop and saved as a gif, looks good, but it will disappear in html non compliers, not good.

Hope you can lend some advice. Has anyone got the perfect solution?



 7:58 pm on Nov 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

How much are you earning while creating the perfect email signature? This sounds like a managerial position. :)

Have you tried looking up some ascii art for a plain text solution?


 9:42 pm on Nov 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

___________________________( )


 10:49 pm on Nov 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

How much are you earning while creating the perfect email signature? This sounds like a managerial position.

Sounds like a Dilbert scenario. But then again, the pointy haired boss wouldn't know ASCII from RTF from Heiroglyphics. Maybe if you went with a mauve database, the bits would be smaller, resulting in a hypertext algorythm with a parameter based, results oriented paradigm. Better call a consultant.

The Cricketer

 9:52 am on Nov 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

when I said signature i meant simple contact details with some good formatting, not weird images, thanks anyway.

I don't think this is the "Take the P***" forum, all I needed was a straight answer.


 11:08 am on Nov 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Having pondered about those darn signatures myself lately (switch of mail program) I finally decided to do plain text, classical format:

My Name
tag line

Is boring, but then everything else tends to look a bit spammy IMO. In the end it's all about the information.


 11:22 am on Nov 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree with Heini and use the same... it's the information that is important in this case. And with all the caveats and filters and viri and the like keeping email generally plain simple text is good.

Take the p** forum? - I think there's always a little of that here but it's good natured. Guys surely this is something that Wally would spend his time doing not the pointed haired boss?


 11:27 am on Nov 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I was about to post very similar to heini, rather than say 'me too' I'll try to add to that:

Fancy signitures get the 'banner blindness' triggered in me. I miss them almost entirely.

However, a simple, plain text format looks more part of the msg so it tends to get noticed better and often acted upon if there is a url.

Personally I like to sign somthing like this:

Nick_W // www.mysite.com
Senior bigwig // Big wigs for Seniors!

formatting didn't really worked but you get the point...



 11:42 am on Nov 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Signatures should be short and snappy. Ideally three lines long with the first line comprising of '--'. Why? This is the signature start character sequence. Good email clients (Outlook is not one of them) will search for this and it allows them to display the signature seperately.

Signatures themselves should be three lines long and show basic contact info. Why? Because its to show how to contact you. Do you write "I'm fab" when you are writing your handwritten signature? Anything other than just the details doesn't look unprofessional. The thing that'll sell you, sell your business or sell your product is what is written above the signature.

Text Only - Professional. Accepted everywhere. If its in the correct format it shows someone how is modest yet polite.

RTF - **** is RTF? Dunno about your email client but everyone else either uses HTML or text.

HTML - Used by people who have just learnt how to use Outlook or by Marketing Depts.

HTML + Image - Used by people with no clue on what email is about. Quite often used by CEO's. Useful as one can discard email without having to read.


 11:48 am on Nov 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've always use plain text:

Co Name
Co Address
Co Address
Co Address
Co Address
tel: +44 (0)111 111 1111
fax: +44 (0)111 111 1111
e-mail: info @example.com

DrDoc - LOL


 12:55 pm on Nov 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

HTML - Used by people who have just learnt outlook

I have just fallen into that trap :(

I created a page containing 12 images and a tabulated text using inline CSS for styles (total 120K (what was I thinking?!))

Big mistake and I am not afraid to admit it! From the 1200 users I sent it to 24 wrote back at their annoyance that I had crashed there e-mail client. So I have no idea how many othjers I have p*ssed off in the process.

I tested the HTML e-mail on Hotmail, yahooo, Outlook, Oulook express and eudora using Win2K, XP and an IMAC. I had no problems but this happended nonetheless - I will not be making that mistake again! - use text and links THATS ALL!


 2:10 pm on Nov 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Are you selling or corresponding?

Selling shouldn't generally need a specific personal signature (contact details in main body, sign as Company)

Correspondance I favour plain text of the traditional hardcopy format:

Mr. Joe Bloggs
Senior Research Fellow
Imaginary Institution


 5:06 pm on Nov 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Has anyone got the perfect solution?

Yes, don't send HTML email, unless they have SPECIFICALLY requested that you do so (via a web form or something similar). I'd recommend never doing so for personal correspondance.

Keep your sig to four lines, no more than 72 characters across.

The Cricketer

 2:09 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

ok folks, thanks a lot for all the feedback, much appreciated. I will now go away and ponder.


 4:49 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Depends on the industry and business model. In my day job I am heading up the e-business group of a major chemicals corporation.

The sig looks like that, text only:

Firstname Lastname
Group Name
Phone: +xx.xx.xxx-xxxx
Fax: +xx.xx.xxx-xxxx
E-Mail: myname@company.com

Company Corp.
Country Code ZIP City
Country Name


...not very sexy, I agree but our clients are very conservative, most don't even use the web (they are NOT working on the moon or Saturn).

For my on-the-side company I am heavily promotional:

Get your FREE webmail account today at: http://www.example.com

http://example.com - Punchline 1

Secondary Promotion:
http://example1.com/ - Punchline 2.
http://example2.com/ - Punchline 3.
http://example3.com/ - Punchline 4.

Closing message or disclaimer, details: http://example1.com/abc.htm

Cheers, Jens

[edited by: engine at 5:00 pm (utc) on Nov. 5, 2003]
[edit reason] examplifield & de-linked [/edit]


 4:57 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question, but do you really need a signature?



 5:01 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Isn't it rather self absorbed to believe that your email signature is given a second look by the recipient?

Count yourself fortunate if they're interested in the body.


 5:22 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

My sig is there only to save me typing, which I believe was the original purpose:

Name Surname
email@ example.com

Very simple. Oh, and I HATE havign to click THREE TIMES to change back to plain text when I reply an HTML email, so PELASE don'T send me HTML email. thanks.


[edited by: engine at 8:44 pm (utc) on Nov. 5, 2003]
[edit reason] examplified & delinked [/edit]


 5:36 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

my signature is formated text but includes the necesay legal jargon.

Patrick Berry

Company Name
Tel Number


[edited by: engine at 8:42 pm (utc) on Nov. 5, 2003]
[edit reason] examplified. No specifics, please. Enlish language only. Thanks [/edit]


 5:58 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Remember the more url's you still in a message the more like you are to trigger spam filters. And the person may have just read 25 messages before yours and have email fatigue. The simplier, the better. I just use

My Name

(that way its not a fully formed URL but the person will still remember it)


 5:59 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

but includes the necesay legal jargon

Certainly don't do that. There's no such thing as "necessary legal jargon" in email [except in Spain, apparently :-)].


[edited by: bakedjake at 8:08 pm (utc) on Nov. 5, 2003]


 6:21 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Certainly don't do that. There's no such thing as "necessary legal jargon" in email.

Oh yes there is. In Spain, we have the LOPD and the LSSI which both make us add some good - and daft - things to our sites and emails.

Such is progress!


 6:38 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have found that good, informative email signatures are one of the best 'viral marketing' tools around - far from being a 'Dilbert issue'.

A lot does depend on the industry and the proposition. I also find that people DO look at email signatures, particularly if they are interesting and the receipient is a 'prospect' rather than someone who is used to receiving emails routinely from the sender.

I have also got excellent returns on varying the tagline which sits above and below the 'standard' contact details. This can be used for a whole range of uses:

Links to news releases
Links to 'special offers' or sales promos
New product launches etc. etc. etc.

Let those who snigger continue to pay for their AdWords and PFC listings, whilst you generate traffic by merely sending emails :)


 7:41 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)


I use a plain text signature, but I think the style isn't necessarily boring. I don't know if this will look right once I post it because it only works in a fixed-width font.

Company : My Company, Inc. Phone : 555-123-4567
Website : http://www.example.com Location : City, State Country

The border I picked up from a game on a BBS that I used to run years ago :-).

[edited by: engine at 8:46 pm (utc) on Nov. 5, 2003]
[edit reason] examplified & delinked [/edit]


 7:48 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Why do people include their email address in their signature?! Is it that hard for people to hit the reply button, instead of "noticing" the email address in the signature and copying/pasting it in a newly composed message. Or am I missing something...


 8:04 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

In spain there is a law that DOES require the legal jargon.


 8:06 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, just read up on it re: Sanenet's post. Interesting stuff.


 8:33 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)


There used to be an RFC stating that signatures must be 4 lines or less (of limited length).

Some (older) unix software used to enforce this by refusing to work for longer .signature files.


 8:48 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Why do people include their email address in their signature

It may be a different e-mail address for tracking purposes, for promotional purposes, or a general e-mail as part of the signature.


 9:12 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Surprised no-one has mentioned disclaimers regarding email confidentiality, virus transmission etc. I have one after the contact details section and most of the staff from companies I deal with have something similar.

FWIW I use plain text too :).

This 56 message thread spans 2 pages: 56 ( [1] 2 > >
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