Let’s set some ground rules for email signatures, shall we?

Let’s set some ground rules for email signatures, shall we?

Dear person emailing me,

Email signatures are weird. Seriously. The header of an email already contains your name and email address, but still a lot of people insist in replicating them below the message too. Signatures are often six or seven lines long. I just received an email from someone that contained just one word (‘yes’) but also 20 lines of signature.

Now I know that email signatures aren’t melting the poles or crashing the internets. But regardless of that, I still see most of them as waste. Sending me your phone number, in every email we exchange? Really? Is that necessary? Can’t we just exchange vCards when we first get to know each other? Or wait until I ask you?

How about images and logos in signatures? Often my email will interpret the signature picture as an attachment. Now I’m anxious to find out what the attachment is going to be! But of course there is no attachment, just a pixelated logo that doesn’t add value to the message.

How many links is enough? One? Do you need to include your LinkedIn and Twitter URL too? How about just one link to a page that contains all your info? Get an About.me page or something!

How about vertical space? How many white lines do you need to separate all those URLs you’ve included? How long, literally, can a signature be?

Moving on to divider lines. Some people put them directly above their signature so it becomes clear that “HERE STARTS THE SIGNATURE”. Yep, got it. I can read. Not needed.

Then that totally irrelevant and too politically correct ‘Please consider the environment when printing this email’ line. Stop it already. People aren’t printing out emails anymore and if they are, they are lost anyway. Your signature isn’t saving trees. Snap out of it.

Lets end with the absolute worst part of signatures. The legalese, “if I screwed up and mailed this to the wrong Boris you should delete this message and prepare to get sued,” messages. Seriously, if you are a lawyer this doesn’t make you appear smart. It makes it seem like you are regularly emailing random people sensitive information and it has happened so often that you are now ordered to include that statement by a judge who’s simply had it with your shit.

My ground rules for email signatures are simple: at the most 3 lines. You can include your name if you want and one URL, but not three. No dividers and no logos. Keep it simple and efficient.


Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten


Co-founder The Next Web, Twitter Counter and some other stuff.


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