Are there de facto standards for email/sig block formatting?


Karen P


I've been charged with developing a signature block and setting email
formatting standards for our corporate communication via Outlook. We have
lots of opinions internally about what fonts etc we should use, but I'm
wondering if any de facto standards have developed through the years that I
can use as rationale for decisions.

We're on Outlook 2003 and plan to stay here for the indefinite future. Our
concerns are for our personal/corporate correspondence via Outlook to be
professional and consistent and to keep the "storage" requirement low, and
look good to any recipient independent of their email program.

We've decided not to use an image of our logo in the signature block because
that may come across, annoyingly, as an attachment to some users. Correct?
(Plus the logo would add to the size of the file.)

Using the default white background for emails, rather than wood-grain or
fluffy clouds, is a no-brainer.

What about the font? Our corporate logo is based on Garamond so some of us
use Garamond as our default Outlook font. Is a sans serif font like Arial
for emails preferred? If so, is there a technical reason?

Final question--should the font of email body and the signature block match?
If email body is Arial, should sig block be the same? If sig block is
Garamond, should email body be the same?

Thanks so much--even "informed opinions" will be much better than uninformed
preferences--am finding it hard to make decisions on that basis.



Diane Poremsky [MVP]

I'm not aware of any standard for sigs - as long as you use common sense.

On fonts - I would use a standard font that every computer is expected to
have. Or at least verify it looks ok if it drops down to a basic serif/sans

It's pretty standard in letterhead stationery to use different fonts for the
letterhead than for the letter - for this reason, I would not hesitate to
use a fancier font for the signature, provided it was a common font
available on all computers. The message body should use a basic font that is
easy to read - on computer screens this would be a sans serif font.
Usability studies report that most people prefer Verdana @ 10pt or Arial @

Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]
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Brian Tillman [MVP - Outlook]

I'm wondering if any de facto standards have developed through the years
that I
can use as rationale for decisions.

The only real de facto standard is that the signature should start with one
line containing two hyphens followed by a space. Everything else is up to the
individual company. The company for which I work requires a signature of this
form (without the separating -------------- lines that I used to offset the
Division Name

T +1 123 456 7890
M +1 123 456 7890
F +1 123 456 7890
E (e-mail address removed)

123 Main St.
Mytown, ST. 12345-1234 USA
Company Name

Company Motto

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