How to add an image to an email signature

Adding an image to your email signature is one of the best ways to capture attention in your email signature. Words are plentiful in emails, but images are scarce. We are visual creatures and it is important to communicate visually to your audience.

What are some ways to include an image in an email signature

  • Use an email signature generator: When you use a tool like Signature.email you have more control over the image you want to add. You can upload your image, resize it, crop it as a circle, square, or any size of rectangle. You also have a greater amount of control over how it can be placed into the layout your email signature. It can be easier to put it into two columns or control the spacing of the elements that are around it. We also have a deep knowledge of email signatures and how to keep them looking as good as possible across Outlook, Gmail, Mac Mail, and all of the other email clients out there.
  • Use the signature management options of your email client: You can also open up your email client and insert images directly into your email signature then (on many of the popular ones anyway). This will have you choose an image from your computer and add it into your email client. Beware! Many of them will not change your image in any way, so its possible to add images that are very large in file size if you aren't careful and greatly annoying the people who you are sending emails to.

Specific Instructions for Various Email Clients:

What file format of images should I use in an email signature?

  • JPG:This is the most common format and also the most portable format. It works well with photos and does ok with logos. It is usually relatively small in size and has 100% compatibility across all email clients.
  • PNG: This is a slightly newer format that has most of the same advantages of a JPG, but also can have full high quality transparency to let a background show through the box of an image.
  • GIF: This format doesn't work well for photos, but works great for specific use cases like logos or illustrations with flat and limited colors. It can also include animations sometimes.

What kinds of images and photos might you want to include in an email signature?

  • A Logo: If you are a company or organization the most obvious thing to add to your signature would be your logo. Your brand is just as important in your email signature as on your website and it can communicate a lot about you at just a glance. It doesn't have to be large or obnoxious, often a small logo is a great addition above or below your name and contact information.
  • Your Photo: Communicating via email isn't very personal. If you want your customers to connect with you on a more personal level then adding your photo can be a great tough. Your customers will almost always remember a face more than a logo or something you said.
  • A Banner or Button: Images can be clickable, and so like the web you can use images as a banner or button to ask people to take action. Examples might be "Donate Now", or "Schedule a Call With Me", or "View our Latest Products". This turns your email signature into a valuable piece of your marketing mix.
  • Social Media Icons: Customers like to see what's going on behind the scenes of a company and get a better feel for what they care about at a deeper and more personal level. If you can leverage your social media to increase customer touch points and deepen engagement, then by all means direct your recipient to them via your email signature!

What Ways Can an Image be Added to an Email Signature?

  • Hosted on a Server:

    This is generally the method we recommend and what we use on Signature.email. The idea is that you use an HTML tag to "reference" the image. The image isn't stored in the email itself, but when the email is opened the client know where to find the image out on the Internet and can go download it from there.

    Benefit: More likely to work across all platforms (including mobile email clients) and it doesn't increase the file size of the message itself, getting downloaded when needed.
    Disadvantage: The disadvantage is that some email clients treat these images as insecure, and the first time they are downloaded the recipient of the email must click to choose to download the images in the email.

  • Embedded In Email:

    Some email clients (namely Outlook) have a method of including the image in the code of the email itself. This is neither a hosted image, nor is it the same as an attachment. The HTML tag we mention above still exists, but this time instead of referencing an image stored on an external server, it references an image that is stored (kinda like an attachment) within the email message itself. Unfortunately we have often found that when you paste an email signature into Outlook, the images will often be embedded without you choosing for that to happen.

    Benefit: Within the world of Outlook these inserted images work well because recipients of the email don't have to give their permission to see the images.
    Disadvantage: These images can have more issues appearing on mobile devices, especially after a reply or a forward of the email from another email client they often disappear. They also increase the file size of an email message which can be especially frustrating on a mobile device with a slow connection.

  • Attachment:

    I mention attachments here because they are another way of adding an image to an email. That said, I'm not necessarily recommending them as a way to add an image to an email signature. The previous two methods are much more practical and useful for that purpose. If your email signature is just an image added as an attachment I would suggest that there are probably better ways to accomplish your goals.

    Benefit: None that I can think of.
    Disadvantage: Increases message file size, different email clients handle attachments different (especially images), some might not display it inline with the email.

What dimensions should an image be in an email signature?

Ideally you would keep the image displayed less than 600 pixels wide. If it is a logo we recommend saving the actual logo at two times the resolution you want to display it at. For example if it is a 250px logo, then save it at 500px and make it smaller once you are in the generator or signature settings. Read our comprehensive image sizing guide if you'd like.

Think about the quality of the image you are adding. If you put a small image into your email signature and view it on a mobile device, it can end up looking fuzzy. This is because that mobile devices screen is "retina" or high density. It has more pixels in a smaller space, so it is blowing up your image to 150% - 200% of what you put in there. Saving it at double the resolution can help your logo look crystal clear on both desktops and mobile devices and help your organization look more professional.

What file size should an image be in an email signature?

You should also try to keep your image sizes below 15kb if possible! Adding an image that is very large in file size can annoy users who open your message if you aren't careful!

Are there disadvantages to adding an image to your email signature?

It's important to understand that when you add a picture or logo to your signature there can be disadvantages. Some people get frustrated by these and choose not to include images for these reasons, but in our opinion having the image is worth it and just needs to be handled as carefully as possible.

  • File Size: Adding it to the email can increase the file size and thus the time it takes for your recipient to download it.
  • Looks Broken Later in Email Chain: It often looks great for the first person that receives the message, but as the message gets replied to and forwarded it often can end up looking broken.

Adding an image to your email signature is a great way to catch users attention, to be more personable, and to communicate who you are more clearly. It usually takes a little bit of experimentation to figure out the right way to do things in your situation and circumstances but the payoff is usually worth it.

Let me know if I didn't answer your question on adding pictures to your email signatures! I would love to expand this article further to help you and others. You may also want to check out my beginners guide on creating email signatures.

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