Overview of the 8 Step Process

The enterprise-wide deployment of a well-branded email signature is an essential component of an overall branding strategy. The reach is wide and is directed primarily to what is likely your most important audience - those with whom you have established relationships. Unfortunately, in many organizations, email signatures are still treated more as an afterthought than as the powerful tool they can, and should, be.

Based on 18 years of experience, the following action steps are required to create, deploy, and maintain a great professional email signature program.

  1. Problem Recognition
  2. Valuing an Email Signature Investment
  3. Selecting an Email Signature Vendor
  4. Designing the Email Signature
  5. Populating the Email Signatures
  6. Deploying the Email Signatures
  7. Keeping Your Email Signature Program Current
  8. Leveraging Your Email Signature Program

In this article I will address each of these eight steps, providing a level of detail that should assist you in confidently moving through the process from start to finish.


Companion Article: Deriving Maximum Branding Benefit from an Email Signature Program.

There are three approaches typically taken to creating an email signature:

  1. Create it in Microsoft Word, and then copy it from there.
  2. Create it directly in your email program’s signature editor.
  3. Create it from scratch using HTML coding.

If you’re looking for a full-featured email signature, it’s only the third approach that’s likely to yield a robust, standardized, and understandable result.

Having worked at this full-time for 16 years, I’ve got a good sense of the limitations, problems and solutions pertaining to HTML email signatures. There are four aspects to deploying an email signature program, all of which are of considerable importance - these are:

  1. Design / layout.
  2. The use of graphics and the HTML coding.
  3. Installation of the signature and the configuration of your email program.
  4. Educating end-users regarding the performance of the email signature.


Email signatures are the equivalent of your printed business cards - small, simple, but no-less essential to your brand and to your individual professional persona.

Using a poorly constructed email signature is like writing your name on a scrap of paper and handing it to a client or prospect - it accomplishes the task, but at what cost to professionalism?


We only get one default email signature, and it’s this signature that we use time after time. As a result, it’s almost always somewhat inappropriate - maybe too much or too little, too formal or too casual. If you’re faced with the task of coming up with a “one size fits all” email signature design for your company, you may find it useful to look at the content on a constituency by constituency basis.


Anyone who has overseen the development and implementation of an organizational-wide email signature program has almost certainly been surprised by the complexity of the process and the inability to fully achieve the intended result. The frustration is magnified due to an email signature’s:

  • apparent simplicity;
  • use by virtually everyone in the organization;
  • front-and-center role played all day, every day.

Getting an email signature program right is as important as it is difficult. In this article I will explain the problems and then suggest a paradigm-shift that in one fell swoop provides an effective resolution.


Designers face some unique challenges when it comes to the creation of email signatures. In this article I share my experience over fourteen years and thousands of email signature designs. Following is my insight into how email signatures fail, and more importantly, how to push past their shortcomings to a successful design.