Open Thread: What’s Your Email Signature?

Email SignaturesDo you ever look at peoples email signatures? You might think you don’t — but you do.

You do it subconsciously when you are looking for their contact information. But how much information is too much information? What do you believe is acceptable?

How many lines of peoples email signatures do you read? Personally I tend not to read more than the first 3 lines, but what about you?

Below I have outlined some of the most common email signatures that I have found in my inbox, replaced with different names of course.


No Signature

Blank

The Initial

- JS

The First Name

- John

The Full Name

John Smith

Full Name + Website

John Smith

http://website.com

Full Name + Website + Logo

John Smith

http://website.com

LOGO

Full Name + Position + Website

John Smith
Super King Of Company

http://website.com

The Full Name + Position + Website + Contact Details

John Smith
Super King Of Company

http://website.com

(02) 376 473 494 | john@smith.com

The Full Name + Position + Website + Contact Details + Logo

John Smith
Super King Of Company

http://website.com

(02) 376 473 494 | john@smith.com
LOGO

The Full Name + Position + Website + Contact Details + More!

John Smith
Super King Of Company

http://website.com

(02) 376 473 494 | john@smith.com
Social Media Sites
Addresses
Sites You Own
Awards Won
etc.

Long Signatures

Some people believe the longer your email, the further down the food chain you are but others such as identity designer Jeff Fisher use email as a powerful branding tool. Let’s take a look at his signature to see what I mean.

Jeff Fisher :: Engineer of Creative Identity
Jeff Fisher LogoMotives
PO Box 17155 :: Portland, OR 97217-0155
P: 503/283-8673 :: F:  503/283-8995
E-mail: jeff@jfisherlogomotives.com
W: http://www.jfisherlogomotives.com
B: http://bLog-oMotives.blogspot.com
B: http://IdentityCrisisBook.blogspot.com/
 
Hours:  Monday – Thursday  8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
 
::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::
 
Member – UCDA Designer Magazine Advisory Board
Member – HOW Design Conference Advisory Council
Past Member – HOW Magazine Editorial Advisory Board
Author – “Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands” (HOW Books, 2007)
Author – “The Savvy Designer’s Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer career” (HOW Books, 2004)

What do you think? Overkill or a great way to market yourself?

Short Signatures

Personally I use a short signature and I believe this works for me. People can click on the link to go to my website to find out what they want to know without chewing up email space. Below you can find my email signature.

Regards,
Jacob Cass

http://justcreativedesign.com

I know there are pros & cons for both methods but what is your take? How long is too long? How short is too short? Should you include an image or not? Do you believe that the longer your email signature the further down the food chain you are or should we be using our email signatures as powerful branding tools?

Comments

  1. says

    Kindly,
    Frank Burder
    D2L Graphics
    http://www.d2lgraphics.com

    Personally, I like short signatures. I really think it is a matter of personal preference. Some like short signatures while others prefer to have all the info.

    This would be a great question to have in a sidebar poll? I’d bet people are split about 50/50 on this one.

  2. says

    My signature heavily depends on the recipient. Have we met in person and exchanged business-cards (so they know how to contact me)? Then a short signature suffices:

    Kind regards,
    Jakob Buis
    Cubiso Webdesign

    An email to a new contact lists additional handy contact information like telephone numbers, my email address and my website.

  3. says

    Thanks to the Firefox extension, “Blank Canvas Signatures” I have the ability to create multiple email signatures. Depending on the type of client/customer I have several customized signatures.

    Natasha

  4. says

    Jacob – Thanks for including my signature in your article. The long signature works for me in covering all the bases as I am often responding as a designer, or author, or in some other professional capacity. It prevents the need for multiple signatures – and remembering which one I need to be using with specific emails – J.

  5. says

    Cool article Jacob!
    I try to stick to three lines

    Personal Sig:
    Aaron Irizarry
    talk: 951.294.8949
    web:www.thisisaaronslife.com

    Sometimes i change it depending on who it is going to.
    My work sig is a bit longer

    My work sig:
    Aaron Irizarry – eLocal Listing LLC
    Webmaster / Web Project Manager
    talk: 800.285.0484 ext. 8008
    cell:951.294,8949
    email: aaron.irizarry@elocallisting.com

  6. says

    I use the longer sig like Jeff Fisher does. It also depends who I’m sending emails to and how long my email are. Sometimes I have shorter versions.

    Some emails end up in the spam folder by the spam filter when there is too much text in body of the email.

    - Cal

  7. says

    I’m with Jacob Buis and Natasha — my email sig varies depending on the recipient. In general, though, I prefer short signatures to longer ones.

    My reason for the short sig preference is that I want to give people the required info in a way that’s unobtrusive. I want to give them enough to contact or find out more information, but I’ll leave that decision up to the recipient.

    Mason Hipp

    http://www.Smallfuel.com
    http://www.FreelanceFolder.com

  8. says

    Here in Germany law tells us how much information we have to share in our business emails’ signatures. So mine goes like this:

    Webseiter
    Inh. Alexander Langer
    Altenaer Str. 53
    58642 Iserlohn

    Web : http://webseiter.de
    Mail : info_AT_webseiter.de

    Fon : 02374 – 5093823
    Fax : 02374 – 5093829
    Mobil : 0151 – 23015405

    USt-IdNr : DE261161100

  9. says

    Mine has my name, company name, website, email and phone. Just recently i added links to my Twitter and Facebook pages under all my contact info. i think that’s plenty! or maybe even too much.

  10. says

    Just recently I started putting something more than just name, and stopped writing it manually. Now it is

    Thanks,
    Nick Charlton
    http://nickcharlton.org.uk

    Although, with a bit more space.

    I think it is important to have something similar across all of your emails, but at the same time it’s rather annoying when it’s over done. Because mine is automated, I felt that it should be short, and concise.

  11. says

    As a company that offers an email stationery service we recommend reducing your signature to one or two lines and putting the other contact information in a fixed banner at the bottom or left side.

  12. says

    Nice and short. I find that I don’t read any of a signature unless it is. (I switch off automatically when I find fifty lines of legalese explaining why I should not read the email if I am not the intended recipient. (Why are these messages always at the bottom of the email so that I have broken the rule before I know about it?)

    Richard
    http://www.blackwasp.co.uk/

  13. says

    As a designer, my sig has to look good, so I use HTML (don’t shoot me… ).
    For business:

    Nicholas Burman
    NBurman Design
    Voice/SMS: 403.680.1968
    [business logo] [blog logo] [linked-in logo]

    For personal:
    ~nick
    [some goofy quote...]

    Each logo is 80×15, a standard for web buttons.
    Including your email address in your email signature is overkill and tautological – it’s an email, the recipient already has your email address!

    Using Mac OS X’s Mail, I can set a number of signatures and make one a default for each email address. Some are also used for standard replies.

    The main problem with long sigs is that an email being replied to back and forth a number of times can end up being longer than the Dead Sea Scrolls. I’m sure Jeff Fisher has that problem a lot sooner than everyone else.
    Also, when you are given too many options, how on earth do you contact someone? Which number do I call? Should I call the cell number?

  14. says

    Dare I plug personal branding here? I tend to include just my name because I’ve taken the time to make myself and my properties very findable. It does help that my name is unique though.

  15. says

    Cheers -
    Daved Brosche / aka: DannyNoSleeves
    Creative Genius
    Powered By Pirates, Ltd.

    W: http://www.OutlawDesignBlog.com
    E: danny@outlawdesignblog.com
    P: 770-878-1070
    Skype: dannynosleeves

    ————————————————————————————————————
    The ideas expressed in this email are the sole property of David Brosche until otherwise stated.
    This Message (including any attachments) contains confidential information intended for a specific individual and purpose, and is protected by law. Any dissemination, disclosure, copying, or distribution of this message, or the taking of any action based on it, is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and destroy the original message and all attachments. Thank you.

  16. says

    I have a tendency to change my signature every six months or so, though I always keep my name and a link to my site there. Currently I also promote my blog in my sig with a prompt question followed by a link. I find that clients don’t say much about signatures but friends and family do and it serves as a good reminder to them to keep you in mind for referrals.

  17. says

    Mine’s a bit longer than most comments above, and references my weekly newsletter.

    Slow time down for a moment…
    Get 7 photos and a story every Thursday morning:
    http://www.toddsmithphotography.com/newsletter.html.

    Todd Smith Photography, LLC
    P.O. Box 1802
    Oroville, WA 98844
    (509) 340-3505

    What do you (or anyone commenting) think of this kind of message in a signature?
    Regarding postal address and phone, maybe it’s superfluous. I don’t know… they could get the same info online. You got me thinking. Thanks.

  18. says

    I think that it really has to fit the needs of the person & the people they are reaching through their e-mail signature. It’s very individual.

    I include my name, company name, my position, address, e-mail, phone & fax. It gives options for contacting me & makes it easy as they don’t have to look up any information. My fax isn’t used that much & maybe I should remove it, but I have all the information in my signature that is on my business card.

  19. says

    I try and keep my signature as short as possible – my name, telephone number and website.

    However at work, my signure is much larger. Name, title, company name, telephone number, fax number, address. Then followed by all the legal information such as company number, registered office etc. Unfortunately, all this extra information has to be added by law now :-(

  20. says

    Alexander,
    Interesting to note that you have to display a certain amount of information in your business email signature by law.

    Thank you everyone else for your views on email branding.

  21. says

    I use a relatively short signature:


    Jason Lengstorf
    Ennui Design
    Phone [ 406.270.4435 ]
    Email [ jason.lengstorf@ennuidesign.com ]

    http://www.EnnuiDesign.com

    I include my email address because I have some old email addresses in places I’m unable to update (old business cards, etc) that forward to my new email address, so I want anyone I’m corresponding with to have my correct email address.

    I feel like anything beyond that, for me at least, would be overkill.

    -Jason

  22. says

    Preston Lee
    http://www.blog.clickpreston.com

    I like the simple name+website. It gives people enough information to get in contact with you without cluttering up your sig area. Besides, if people need more information about you, or need more contact info, they can visit your site. This’ll increase traffic and if they like what they see while they are there, they’ll likely come back.

  23. says

    It all depends, I use the add-on for FF “wisestamp” which has the option for a personal signature and one for personal. It all depends on how you want to brand yourself, some think simplicity works for them, while others like to go that extra mile.

  24. says

    I generally prefer a short signature. My reads like this:

    Joeke-Remkus de Vries

    Ademastrjitte 4 | 9251 RA | Burgum | 0622-164385 | http://www.balancedmind.nl

    “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

    I believe that if you think you need more info to share, why not add a link to your about page on your website. Makes way more sense to me…

  25. says

    A little off topic, but the email account name itself is an opportunity for clarification and promotion, if kept painfully brief. Instead of my name appearing in an inbox as just Bruce Colthart, mine reads “Bruce Colthart Creative :: Designing for Business ”

    Signature-wise, there’s clearly no one right way. My initial messages in an email conversation are rather formal, with several contact options. As the relationship warms, subsequent emails are very informal and are simply signed

    Thanks,

    :: bruce ::

  26. says

    I have two, one for my day job and one for my freelance business, both are of the shorter variety:

    Sincerly,
    Michael D. Risser
    Web Developer – North County Times
    http://www.nctimes.com

    Sincerly,
    Michael D. Risser
    Owner – R1 Design Studios
    http://www.r1designs.net

    I think the shorter ones are perfect, they give just enough information to give people a better understanding of who they are conversing with. I’ve noticed that many times, people will ask for your contact information, even if its already in your signature, which leads me to believe that they don’t really pay that much attention to them.

    Personally, I usually just scan a signature, with out paying a whole lot of attention to it.

  27. says

    I’ve made mine considerably shorter than it used to be (I used to list full mailing address as well as phone/fax info). I think it can still use some shortening though…

    I did also recently remove the email address because it’s in the From / Reply-to field of the email itself, so it seems a bit redundant. I rather share additional information.

    I like seeing all of the options here though… I do believe it’s time for an update soon! Here’s my current signature…

    Selene M. Bowlby
    Owner / Web Designer

    iDesign Studios – We help you stand out from the crowd
    View our portfolio at http://www.idesignstudios.com

    (888) 297-3799

  28. says

    I actually use different email signatures based on what I’m doing for a client and for how well I know people. I specialize in traditional media relations, SEO PR, and production of social media like blogs and podcasts. My podcast production service has a different name, but is listed as a service of my PR firm. Confusing? Yes. Bad branding? Yes. Planning to fix it soon? Yes.

    Regardless, I think it’s a good idea to have one long, complete signature for more formal contacts or for people you don’t know well, and another for everyone else. Here’s one of my more formal signatures:

    Steve Mullen
    EndGame Public Relations, LLC
    BizPodz Productions
    Phone: (804) 382-0017
    Email: steve@endgamepr.com
    Web: http://www.endgamepr.com
    Podcasts: http://www.endgamepr.com/podcasts

    Subscribe to the EndGame PR client news feed at http://feeds.feedburner.com/endgame-public-relations-news

    Here’s my shortened one:

    Steve Mullen
    EndGame Public Relations, LLC
    BizPodz Productions
    Phone: (804) 382-0017
    Web: http://www.endgamepr.com

    I won’t even bother to get into signatures I use when contacting the media for my clients. That’s a different ball o’ wax entirely :)

  29. says

    Hi,

    for private I use no signature, all the people I am writing to know me, my address and my contact information.
    For business it is always very useful using contact information like address, phone number(s), email, website, twitter, blog etc. This is even more useful if you contact someone and he/she forwards the message. Your contact information will remain.
    Additionally to all the web addresses I use a view to my calendar using a link to google calendar, so the one I’m contacting can better plan appointments. I think this is very useful.

    Stefan

    PS: if you want to have a copy of my signature mail me: info@intuitiv.de, subject: email signature

  30. says

    I have a long one (name, company name, email, etc.) for people that don’t have my contact information yet, but I usually just sign of with my first name or maybe two lines.
    As other people have been saying: it really depends on who you are mailing with.

  31. says

    Well, like many people, my signature really depends on the recipient. I got my ‘default’ signature and change it around depending on the recipient. Default is:

    Jon Phillips
    http://www.spyrestudios.com
    http://www.spyremag.com
    http://www.jonathan-phillips.com
    http://www.freelancefolder.com
    http://www.twitter.com/jophillips
    http://www.twitter.com/freelancefolder

    And when I send an email to a client it’ll sometimes be something simpler, like this:

    Jon Phillips
    Lead Designer: http://www.spyrestudios.com

    (I’m not sure I want all my clients to follow my rants on Twitter, ya know :) )

    And for anything that is music related, it’s usually:

    Jon
    http://www.thegodsofnow.com
    http://www.myspace.com/thegodsofnow
    jon@thegodsofnow.com

    Voila! :)

  32. says

    I think it would be clever not to include images into the signature before the recipients replies, since there is a high probability that their email software will think it is spam. Better go for the short one, with name and website. I make a habit include my phone number for people who have less in common with technology.

  33. Nicole says

    If you do include a logo, animation is probably not a great idea. I’ve been working in media, first as a magazine editor and now in advertising, for about 8 years now. In that short amount of time, I can’t count the number of clients, agencies, vendors and freelancers that have driven me crazy with animated logos within emails — the simple act of opening an email takes two minutes while the logo loads. Also, unless you provide some sort of design services where a logo would showcase your work, consider keeping to text — you can’t copy and paste text from an image to easily take contact info from an email to another program.
    I don’t necessarily think that including your email is totally redundant. A year or two after sending an email, the printed version randomly stuck in a folder may be the only way an editor taking over from the previous editor can find you. If you happen to be collaborating with a large number of people and emailing around the group, the actual email address doesn’t always show if you weren’t the original recipient.

  34. says

    I have everything but my postal address, and it looks like this:

    Parkbench Publishing Services
    http://www.parkbenchps.com
    office: + 353 1 443 4090
    mobile: +353 87 923 8255
    skype: parkbenchps

    I’d prefer to have a tiny, click-thru logo in lieu of the first two lines, or indeed a Skype logo. I mail-manage through Gmail – do they support this? Or would it make my emails too heavy? It’s annoying that in Gmail, email sigs pile up at the bottom of the email, unlike Outlook.

  35. says

    OK I confess – My sig is WAY to large.. BUT HEY! I have a lot going on! LOL
    I currently have over 350 signatures that I use… all with different quotes on different subjects. I have been a online moderator for a list serve for over 2 years. At last check I am at somewhere around 2000 posts. I try to match the sig with the topic that I am writing about. Now that my virtual convention center is taking off, the one I use the most often is below.

    Dan Parks
    President / Creative Director
    Corporate Planners Unlimited, Inc.
    http://www.corporateplanners.com
    Creator of the Virtualis Convention and Learning Center
    http://www.mabventures.com/virtualis/
    Monday Moderator of the Meetings Community (MeCo)
    http://www.meetingscommunity.org

    Proud Member of:
    MPI (Meeting Professionals International) http://www.mpiweb.org
    PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) http://www.pcma.org
    ISES (International Special Events Society) http://www.ises.com
    ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) http://www.astanet.com
    IATAN (International Airlines Travel Agent Network) http://www.iatan.org

    ”The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.”
    - John Scully

    RECYCLE, REUSE, REDUCE & RETHINK

  36. says

    My e-sig varies based on to whom I’m corresponding.

    I really don’t like the auto-signatures, v-cards etc. It’s too impersonal and isn’t e-mail impersonal to begin with?

    If it’s a first-time contact or correspondence I believe might be forwarded, then I include:

    Joann Sondy
    Creative Aces
    tel: 231.932.0945
    e-portfolio: http://www.creativeaces.com
    twitter.com/jsondy

    For more casual and on-going communications:
    Joann Sondy
    tel: 231.932.0945

  37. Justin Long says

    I tend to go with a large signature with HTML and CSS I have started to stray away from that a little bit now that I have an iPhone and I am sending more and more emails from that while I am out and about.

    In my sig:

    Name
    Cell
    Office
    Fax
    email
    website
    Logo
    Picture
    Twitter
    Skype status
    Skype voicemail
    AIM status
    link to recipients personal project status URL

    Then based upon time of day. Best place to reach me.

  38. says

    I have never thought about this but it is quite interesting, I don’t think a long signature would put me off but I have seen a few which just have, ‘Regards, Joe Blogs’ in my opinion this is too short.

    My signature is:

    David Henderson, BSc Hons SIDI
    Multimedia Designer.

    web design | branding | graphic design | 3D & visuals

    Mobile: +44(0)77 4289 8311
    Office: 08454292716
    Skype: davidhenderson10
    Twitter: davidhender

    http://www.davidhendersondesign.com

  39. says

    Heres mine…

    Kind Regards,
    Stefan

    T: 0800 135 7544 | E: contact@faithinme.co.uk
    http://www.faithinme.co.uk/

    Design – Web Design, Ecommerce, CMS, Online Payments
    Marketing – SEO, Banner Ads, Email Marketing, PPC, Google Ads
    Print – Identity, Leaflets, Flyers, Business Cards

    =>

    Might seem like a lot of info but I only attach it to the bottom of every email. On a reply my email program strips out the previous and attaches it to the bottom again, meaning the info isn’t repeated 100x.

    Having my services listed has also given an edge a few times as people don’t have to ask if I do print work or marketing work, it’s all there.

    Great post! I’m begging to wonder if people are now using this as a marketing method :)

  40. says

    My sig will contain either some or all of the information below but, no matter which companies are relevant to the conversation, HOWEVER I ALWAYS include the link to my LinkedIn account so people can see all the companies we own and hopefully invite me to link up with them.

    Thanks!

    J. A. Lohmann
    214.679.9673

    founder / creative partner
    TagTeam Advertising & Web Design LP
    TagTeamCreative.com

    founder / general manager
    Incite Public Relations & Promotions
    IncitePublicRelations.com

    founder / ceo
    Freelance Nation, LLC
    TheFreelanceNation.com

    owner
    Invest In URLs
    InvestInURLs.com

    LinkedIn.com/in/JayLohmann
    +4700

  41. Samuel says

    I show a link to map and link to send message to my mobile device in my email signature. Used a site called sig22.com to do this.

  42. says

    Good article, glad this was tweeted! I’ve been thinking about changing mine. Maybe adding my logo.

    Jen | adrinahDESIGN
    Graphic Design & Photography
    Website |Twitter | Blog | Flickr

  43. says

    I personally prefer shorter signatures. I believe that if people want more information regarding myself or the company I work for, they can refer to the website link included in my signature. If I have your name, phone and company website, I’m set.

  44. says

    Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

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  46. says

    I truly love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself?
    Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own personal site and would love to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Kudos!

  47. says

    Great post! I believe that ones email signature is the perfect place to market your product you company. People spend hundreds of dollars on business cards so they can hand them out when they meet someone. Why not have your brand image and company details at the bottom of every email.

    But not just in a boring way, make it look attractive, companies should place small promotions about current deals or sales and obviously links to their social media pages.

    I agree, a long signature is just annoying and ugly for the reader so the balance is important,

    There are a few product out there that can do it automatically for your company which means your employees cant tamper with it and everyones is the same which gives a professional feel. My company called Crossware Mail Signature specializes in Mail signatures for Lotus Notes, its worth a look.

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