15 mistakes to avoid in email signatures

what not to include in email signatures

How do you design a professional email signature that can influence the perception of your company? By making sure that the elements you add to your email signatures are relevant, look professional, and are designed well.

This is where having an email signature management platform can help. A central platform removes all the fuss and gives you peace of mind that you’re avoiding the pitfalls.  

What to avoid in email signatures 

What are the pitfalls and common mistakes to avoid in email signatures? We’ve put together the 15 biggest mistakes so you can put your best foot forward. 

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 

  • Phone number 

  • Website URL 

  • Email address

Keep these details shorter for internal emails and replies. 

2. Custom fonts 

Using custom fonts in your email signature template is possible, but it’s not advisable. This is because most of your recipient’s devices won’t have your custom font installed, so it’ll 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 shouldn’t 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’s true that you can use animated GIFs in email signatures. However, these will only work in modern email clients. Many will still use older email clients that can’t play animated GIFs. 

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

5. Videos 

Unfortunately, embedding videos directly into your email signature is impossible as most email clients don’t support this. This is because videos are seen to be a security issue, so the content won’t 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. 

7. Personal information 

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

8. Multiple color fonts 

An email signature with multiple font colors looks messy, especially if they’re too bright. Use a maximum of two neutral colors that match your company’s branding. 

9. An image as your email signature 

You should never use an image as your email signature for multiple reasons: 

  • Most email clients don't automatically download and display images. 

  • The recipient can’t copy your contact details. 

  • You won’t 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’ll look unprofessional and create a bad user experience 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 shouldn’t 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. 

13. Pointless certifications 

Unless the degree or certifications you have obtained are relevant to your job, they shouldn't 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’ll 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’s 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 make sure that everyone in your company uses a consistent signature template, use professional email signature software from Exclaimer. 

Jump in to Exclaimer’s email signature management solution

And find out how to ignite your email’s full potential

start an exclaimer free trial

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