Please Don’t Use Comic Sans In Your Company Email.
Before the advent of email, businesses primarily used snail mail for written communications. At that time, branded stationery and a well-formatted letter were really important because it projected the image of the company, and oftentimes was the first line of communication.
Today, the majority of our professional interactions occur via email. While it’s great for communicating quickly and efficiently, it’s unrestricted nature opens the door for employees to be “creative.” This creativity often manifests in the form of poor font choices like Comic Sans and rainbow signatures. This may have been acceptable, or even clever, in the early days of AOL, but today it is completely unacceptable and makes a negative brand impression.
If your organization struggles with this problem, you’re not alone. At Tag, we work hard helping our clients keep their brands consistent across all forms of communication including those pesky emails. Here are a few simple guidelines for reigning in the outliers.
1. Body Fonts – Close enough.
Stick with a web safe font that is close to the font you typically use for body copy in marketing materials. Web safe fonts display the same no matter what operating system or email service provider you use. That ensures everyone sees what you see! With web safe fonts you are limited to the following:
- Lucida Sans
- Times New Roman
- Trebuchet MS
2. The Signature – This is not an ad.
Your audience and brand will dictate what and how much information to include, but this is a good checklist. Keep the information relevant and have it professionally designed.
- Your logo
- Your name
- Your title
- Your phone number(s)
- Your website
- Your postal address
- Your tagline
- Your social properties
- Your fax number
- Upcoming events
- Personal crusades (e.g. “Please consider the environment before printing.”)
- Motivational quotes
- Disclaimers (e.g. “Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse any typos)
3. Embedded Images vs Hosted Images – Embed is dead.
There are two options when including images in your email signature – embedded and hosted. Embedded images appear as attachments in many email clients, with filenames like “image001.png”. They look unprofessional and can confuse recipients. We always recommend hosted images. A hosted image resides on a web server. It uses HTML code to display the image in the signature instead of placing it within your email client. Your IT department should be familiar with how to implement a hosted solution. More information can be found here.
Bonus Tip: GIFs in email signatures.
At Tag, we’re big fans of animation. Until very recently, I’d never seen a GIF used in an email signature. Not surprisingly, it was Google and they really hit it out of the park. If you are going to use animation in your email signature, here are some guidelines:
- Keep it simple
- Keep it short
- Use a white background
While your coworkers may think it isn’t a big deal to colorize the text in their emails or use Comic Sans, as marketers, we know better. Every expression of your brand matters. We hope these tips help you create the right framework for your email standards. And don’t forget to document those protocols in your brand style guide.