Why Less is More in Email Signature Design

What is the most visible item in a law firm’s brand? There is a strong case for the email signature. It is the mark left on most communications with clients, colleagues and prospects and as such is an often taken for granted, yet vitally important, brand element. So making sure it puts forth the best impression is crucial. And there is one particular faux pas we see over and over again: the inclusion of a logo. This may seem harmless, but let me assure you it is not.

1. That annoying paperclip

First, if you embed your logo, which is currently one of only two ways to add it (the other way is discussed below), it will show up as an attachment in each and every single email that you send (shown here). That means that the paperclip icon will appear on all of your messages. So when your client is hunting for an email from you with an important document attached, it will be a lot harder to find. That makes your client annoyed. Annoyed is not good. 

2. Increases email size

Additionally, the attachment will by default increase the size of all your emails. Keeping email size as small as possible is important to conserve space. Similarly, larger emails can be a problem when trying to send a big attachment. There is a limit to what message size most, if not all, providers will accept. If you go over the limit, the email is blocked. There are services that will upload and link to large files, but that is added step in everyone’s already busy day.

3. The dreaded x

What looks worst than having an email signature without a logo? Having an email signature with a big X in it. Not all email programs handle images the same way. Some may block the image outright, and others may have settings that do not allow the image to display (for example, this site). That is when the white box with the big X appears. Not good.

4. No! Not the spam folder!

Finally, having an image in your email signature may raise your spam score. MailChimp explains, “the most common reason MailChimp customers have been flagged by spam filters is ‘too many images, not enough text.’”(Read about it here). Everyone’s spam filter is different, and while adding one image may not increase your score significantly, why take the risk?

5. There must be another way

The alternative to embedding your logo is hosting it online and linking to it. But this method is also problematic and not recommended. First, the logo will not show up automatically. Your recipient will have to click a button to download the image. Before they do, or if they can’t be bothered, they won’t see it. Another issue is that the recipient has to be online to view the image. 


There are plenty of other clever ways to add color and interest to your signature without adding a logo, such as the use of symbols, lines, spacing and character weight.  So until email technology gets more sophisticated, which will hopefully be soon, it is best to drop the logo and get creative in other ways. 

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