Our design team are frequently asked to assist regarding design challenges/requirements:
I've created our company email signature, but it doesn't preview correct on my iPhone.
We don't have a design enforced yet, but we want our new company email signature to look great in all recipient inboxes - Regardless of which email client they use (desktop/web/mobile).
Does this sound familiar?
- Graphic designers have an eye for what looks great.
- But knowing what looks great and knowing what works great in email signatures are two different things.
We help you steer them away from common email-design mistakes.
- If you need a detailed overview, we recommend this blog post by Rex Weston.
- Rex has submitted many of the built-in Agency templates you'll find in your Xink account.
It just seems intuitive that creating a great company email signature would be simple.
It's usually no more than contact information, a logo, and a few links.
This shouldn't pose any problems? Not true.
Virtually everyone has received a beautifully designed email signature - an email signature that worked perfectly in their inbox.
Jumping to the (erroneous) conclusion that what they see is what everyone sees.
This “perfect” email signature now sets the standard for the email signature they want for the company.
We want our email signature always functioning flawlessly. Not possible.
In reality, creating a great working email signature is far more challenging than creating great working webpage because email clients don't follow any standards. Thus, you need to know (or test) what works and what doesn't work. You cannot expect that because it works great in one inbox, that it also works like that for everyone else (desktop/web/mobile).
Your webpages also doesn't function flawless and look the same on different web and mobile browsers.
Don't set higher expectation to your new email signature than you do to your webpages.
Design for small screens (smartphones)
If you campaign analytics show that the majority of email recipients are opening and reading your company emails on their smartphones and tablets, then your email signature and marketing campaigns must follow below requirement:
- Max. 320px design width.
TIP: Add a one row/one column table and set table width to 320px. Then you can easily compare with your email signature design.
Using Word to generate HTML is a bad idea
Word inserts Office-specific markup tags into your HTML which is not following HTML standards.
This can cause problems if recipients are not using Outlook on Windows.
Instead use the built-in designer in Xink - or a professional editor and copy/paste your HTML-source.
You can also upload your existing email signature - Then it works in the same way when you start updating for employees.
If you must use CSS, then use in-line CSS
In the Web world, designers rely on CSS to specify colors, fonts and other aspects of the layout. But it doesn't work the same way for email clients, and your designer might not have a clue. Designers typically create an external CSS file with all the layout information, and then they link to it in the header area of the HTML code.
Since major email clients (incl. Outlook) don't honor CSS in the way that web designers are accustomed to, they must code all fonts, colors and other details in-line. In other words, they must specify formatting instructions throughout the email, table cell by table cell, paragraph by paragraph.
While this seems inefficient, it’s the only way of ensuring that your design will work.
Use JPG or PNG image format
We recommend .jpg format as there are instances where .png images get degraded in certain circumstances when they come back from others.
Attachment free 100% of the time cannot be achieved
No one wants their email signature to result in attachments.
Unless you’re willing to skip the inclusion of your logo and other graphics, you cannot avoid attachments all the time.
The top of the email is not for pretty images
Your designer might want to put your company logo or something eye-catching in the top of your email. Bad idea.
This section of your email might be all that readers see in the "preview pane". You don't have a whole lot of room or a whole lot of time to convince readers to open your message or scroll down. Put your logo and images beneath the primary message area.