your email does not require a special font

If you have set up your email to use a special font when you send people emails, rather than just the normal plain text default, it is time to stop.

The fake cursive font, the weird typewriter font, the colors — none of these are good, and they make you look out of touch with technology.

The same goes for those fake stationery backgrounds that some people send emails on.

Plain text, no fluffy features. Really.

{ 290 comments… read them below }

    1. Elizabeth

      I’m especially baffled by people who append the exact same quote to every email, no matter the content. I’m a teacher, and last year I got an email from a parent who was angry about their child’s report card. The body of the email itself was very harsh and contained thinly-veiled suggestions that I wasn’t a very good teacher. At the bottom, after the parent’s name, was an inspirational quote about bliss, living in the moment, and being at peace with the world.

    2. Thursday's child

      Wasn’t that a topic on a past post? Religious quotes on the email? Or maybe that is just my own personal peeve, cannot remember!

      1. Jamie

        I think it was this time last year. About someone having Merry CHRISTmas in their sig and the capitalized CHRIST had religious meaning (aside from the normal holiday greeting.)

        Is that the one you’re thinking of?

        1. Thursday's child

          YES! Yay, so happy to know my mind is not completely blown away by .net trivia, frameworks, and factoids.

    3. anon

      I got a cold email from someone wanting to do business with me last week that included a religious quote. I did not reply, because if you have so little common sense, I can’t trust your judgement in other business dealings either.

      Ironically, it was a quote I actually really like – in my private, religious life, not in my workplace!

      1. Anon

        This a million times over but with every type of quote. Someone I work with has one reminding everyone about September 11th….

        It’s good to remember things but goodness it’s depressing reading it every single time I get an email from that person.

      2. Jamie

        I have a business contact that is always wishing me something “blessed” both verbally and in email.

        I know she means well, and she’s so nice and it works with the southern drawl…but I cringe a little bit because we’ve never discussed religion and it always strikes me as odd when people throw that out without knowing anything about the beliefs of the recipient.

        It doesn’t offend me as much as I just don’t think it’s the smartest thing to do. But I’ve been wished everything from a blessed Christmas to a blessed weekend to a blessed version upgrade.

        Yes. And it so wasn’t – that upgrade was a nightmare. Her blessing didn’t even work.

        1. Tamara

          Darn. I was hoping the blessed version upgrade worked – I was going to try it next time. That would have been awesome.

              1. Anonymous

                However, always remember that there are fundamental technical reasons why it is necessary to sacrifice a young goat to your SCSI chain every now and then…. J. F. Woods

        2. perrik

          Our project manager has the “have a blessed day” in her .sig, as well as a fancy font and other fluffy elements. It’s a weird contrast to her all-business professional demeanor. It would annoy me more if she weren’t otherwise thoroughly awesome.

          There is no such thing as a blessed version upgrade. They are all cursed to the bottomless depths of despair and woe.

        3. Lils

          Saying “have a blessed day” is a common Southern-ism, especially among African-Americans. It doesn’t mean anything more than “have a nice day.”

          1. The IT Manager

            I disagree. Whenever anyone says or signs their emails “have a blessed day” I get a feeling that they’re pushing their religion in my face. It’s minor and I avoid commenting on it, but it is not the same as “have a nice day” to me. IMO opinion it’s unprofessional.

            BTW: I am a southerner who has lived most of my life in different parts of the south. From my experience, this phrase is new but becoming more common.

            1. Really?

              I doubt they are pushing their religion on you. In fact, they are probably just wishing you the absolute best they can, by using a phrase that has deep meaning to them. You’re right, “a nice day” and “a blessed day” are not the same; to that person, “a blessed day” is most certainly better. Acknowledgement: I grew up in the South, and there are certainly people who ARE trying to push religion.

              I do agree that it is unprofessional, and salutations and valedictions should be kept brief & simple: “hello” “hi” “greetings” “thank you” “best” “sincerely” and not be followed by quotes.

              1. jmkenrick

                You’re right, “a nice day” and “a blessed day” are not the same; to that person, “a blessed day” is most certainly better

                To play devil’s advocate: just because something is nicer for you doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nicer for ME.

            2. Emily

              I think it’s a bit unfair to say they’re pushing religion in your face. In your face would be quoting the Bible or directly conversing about it, not a routine valediction that is vaguely only-sometimes non-denominationally religious. For some people “have a blessed day” might be religious but for many others it’s just a pleasantry common to their culture. Maybe it’s still unprofessional, but I wouldn’t class it with pushy proselytizing as being in-your-face religion.

          2. Laura L

            Interesting. The only person I’ve ever known who has used it was a white person from the Pacific Northwest!
            I wonder where she picked it up.

        4. anon.

          Being ‘Blessed’ doesn’t apply to any particular religion. So, unless you are an atheist, why be bothered by it?

          1. Min

            So, as an atheist, is it ok for me to be bothered by it? Why does anyone feel the need to put there religion out there in an inappropriate setting? It’s not like I make a habit of ending my emails with “most of the world is frighteningly delusional” so why do others feel like it’s ok for them to go around blessing everybody?

            1. Jamie

              “most of the world is frighteningly delusional”

              I am not an atheist, but I love this quote. I think this sentiment works universally.

    4. Anonymous

      Wait.. people actually put quotes in their work/professional emails? My work email signature is simply my name, position, my phone number and a link to my company’s website. I thought quotes were a big no-no in the professional world?

      1. Sharon

        I have one coworker at the management level who inserts cutesy little pretend quotes in his name at the bottom of each email. He changes them on every email depending on the subject. So he’ll sign off with something like

        Mike “need more information” man

        It’s hard to take him seriously.

        1. fposte

          Is he old enough to have been on Usenet? That was actually a thing in some corners there–usually known as the “internym.”

        2. Heather

          Ha! I had a project with an account manager whose signature was
          Joe “FIRED UP” Schmoe

          with the “fired up part” in bolded red. I always felt like he had attended one too many Tony Robbins seminars.

      2. Sasha

        Sad but true. In my organization there are many, many people who love the email sig quote, and a lot of them are rather controversial. It is definitely unprofessional.

      3. Vicki

        At my last job, I had a program that pulled a quote from a file and inserted it into every message I sent. My job was writer / content manager / support. The quotes were all job related — about writing, editing, quality, productivity…

        No one ever complained (privately or publicly) and several people asked me where I got my collection, if they could have a copy, and what program I used to insert them into the email.

        It was a tech company and other people I worked with also used quotes that coud be appreciated by techies in general.

        I think the question of whether or not to put quotes in your work/professional email really depends on the type of job, the type of quote, and the company culture.

        > I thought quotes were a big no-no in the professional world?
        Not the world I work in. But the Silicon Valley technical world is, likely very different from, e.g., the Legal world or High Finance world. :-)

      4. Megan

        Putting a link to your company’s website seems equally out-of-touch when your professional email ends in @companyswebsite – seems really redundant. Does this bother anyone else? (Not quite as bad as people who include their email address in their email signature.)

        1. Lala

          Putting in the link makes it easier to click.
          Email addresses in the signature makes it possible for people who may have been forwarded your email to contact you.
          Some mails strip the email address of previous senders.

          My corporate email signature template has this but I don’t insert it. Ha

    5. Ellie H.

      A girl I went to college with had that variously attributed quotation “I have made this email longer, because I have not had time to make it shorter” (she attributed it to Blaise Pascal) in her email signature. I disapprove of quotation signatures in general, but that made me smile every time I saw it.

    6. lsay

      Can we get rid of the work-approved snippets too? I work for a cultural organization and we’re supposed to have a PR-approved quote or blurb at the bottom of our emails about the latest show/exhibit and I really, really, really hate it.

    7. anonymous

      snort. I had a client who was incredibly bad at communication or getting me ANYTHING I needed in a timely fashion. And he had as his email signature some statement about striving to work efficiently and be the best one could be at one’s job…

  1. Ellie H.

    Here, if you get an email from someone who uses a fake stationery background, it puts it on the whole email chain and I don’t know how to remove it. It is weird to write email about, like, NIH grant co-sponsorship on top of someone else’s yellow pastel background with pink and blue sparkly dots (100% true story).

    Even some of my colleagues who are otherwise incredibly professional have different fonts and colors in their signatures, especially the cursive-y ones. My signature is in 10pt as opposed to 11pt font.

    1. Janet

      Yes, and I use an archaic e-mail system at work and I don’t have a lot of space. Images and fancy background take up space and fill my inbox pretty fast.

      No fake stationary and it’s really not necessary to add your company’s logo as an attachment. If I want to see their logo, I’ll go to the website.

      1. Blinx

        These fake-attachment files used to bug me no end! You see the little paperclip next to the email in your inbox and think, finally they sent me that PDF I requested. Nope. Just another logo.

        We also had very limited email space at my old job and cleaning out email was a constant chore.

        1. Anne

          This. This. Thisthisthis. Yes.

          “Oh thank the gods, he’s finally gotten back to me with the signed renewal quote a week after the deadline – oh. Nope.”

      2. BW

        Some companies require employees to use a standard signature that includes the logo, and sometimes *cringe* whatever the company slogan is.

        1. KellyK

          Yeah, we have a standard signature. Fortunately the logo is optional. Nothing against our logo, I’m just not a fan of unnecessary attachments or signatures that are longer than the message.

      3. Rana

        Oh, I freakin’ hate those attached sig file things. Luckily my mail program allows me to view them without opening them, but they are annoying.

    2. Anonymous

      You *can* edit out the html if you view the source (with most systems), although it’s a pain. I have a client who uses that cursive signature, and it makes his text teensy tiny, about 4pt. I have to copy and paste into a browser to read it.

      But honestly, can there ever be too many sparkles? And rainbows?

      1. Jamie

        But honestly, can there ever be too many sparkles? And rainbows?

        Unfortunately for most people, yes.

        If left to my own devices my home and office would look as if it were decorated by an 8 year old girl – but even I have to temper it because conducting an audit using a Lisa Frank notebook would erode my authority.

        The fact that I wear my ID on a pink Hello Kitty lanyard is ostensibly so I appear fun and approachable…a subtle touch of whimsy. In reality it’s probably why I’m not more successful.

        1. Anonymous

          So, it is okay that I named my new server “Goldberry” and am seriously considering naming the next one “TheEye”? Thank Elbereth.

          1. Kelly L.

            I name all my computers after goddesses of the underworld. The one I had the longest, Persephone, had a whole naming scheme where the various drives were named after rivers in the underworld, like Cocytus and Phlegethon, and I was mad that the computer wouldn’t let me name the trash Lethe.

            1. LJL

              I thought all server admins did this? I was always suspicious of servers named after the Three Stooges, and, yes, in a production environment.

              1. Jamie

                I’m a little disheartened by all of this.

                I thought everyone knew servers should be named after members of Van Halen.

                1. class factotum

                  I was the business liaison on a project to develop a desktop application making all sales data from the factories – well, anyhow.

                  I named it “Picasso,” although I tried to get “Ceres” or “Athena” through. I was told nobody would know who the Greek goddesses were, which made me wonder if anyone I’d worked with had been through 8th grade. But then, I did work with people who did not know how to forward their phone calls to voicemail, so it was not the best of the best.

                  After a year, Legal put the kibosh on “Picasso.” I was already out of the department, so had no power. They renamed the database “Powercube.” It’s been over eight years and I am still sad that they gave it such a pathetic name.

            2. Joe

              At my current job, the naming scheme for servers, databases, projects, and other things was “trees”, with things like “redwood”, “oak”, “poplar”, etc. So when I set up my dev workstation, I named it “yggdrasil”. Sadly, nobody had any idea what the heck that was.

        2. perrik

          If I was approached by an auditor wearing a Hello Kitty lanyard, I’d be terrified. Fear the kawaii!

          (which is odd because I’m half-Japanese and therefore genetically susceptible to The Cute)

        3. Kelly O

          Yes. God yes there can be too many sparkles, too many smilies, and too much stuff going on in your email.

          I especially hate seeing people who use brightly colored bold font for everything – these are the people who inevitably use Comic Sans. For me, that is the equivalent of scribbling your message in crayon on the back of your Dora the Explorer coloring pages. I always wonder if they also put little hearts over their i’s if they have to write things in longhand.

          1. Jamie

            For me, that is the equivalent of scribbling your message in crayon on the back of your Dora the Explorer coloring pages.

            I see you’ve found the first draft of my QC manual.

      2. Blinx

        One colleague always had a lavender pattern in the back of her emails. If she could, I think it would be scented and play Yanni when you opened it. Some day, technology will catch up with her dreams!

        1. Jamie

          People complain about being assaulted by co-workers wearing perfume – can you imagine if they were able to stink bomb you with it in your own office?!

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I have dreamt of being able to send smells to other people ever since I was a kid. The other day I baked banana bread and really wanted to text the smell to someone.

    3. Julie

      You could try setting the email to plain text instead of HTML. You’ll lose some formatting, but you’ll also lose the weird background.

    4. BW

      Ugh the cursive-y font in the signature line irks me! Really, do you think this looks like you signed this email? Really? Why? WHY????!! Oh just make it stop!

    5. Andrea

      If you change your reply or forward email to plain text, it’ll get rid of the fake stationary. (In Outlook 2007 and 2010, that’s in the ribbon tab Format Text.)

  2. Elizabeth

    Also, depending on the program that your recipient is using to read your email, your special font or background could possibly not be visible or be rendered as a few lines of code appended to your message. While many modern email clients support fonts, not all do.

    1. KV

      I think it’s not just the email client that has to support the weird fonts, but also that font needs to be installed on the recipient’s computer.
      Of course, even if the font is not available on the computer, most email programs will display the text in the default font.

    1. Jamie

      :::small voice::: Sometimes it just means I prefer blue to black – and it is a nice visual in long email threads.

      I swear I didn’t just learn how to use a computer. I’ve been computing for weeks now! :)

      1. A Bug!

        As in pens, I don’t think there’s a problem using a dark blue font color instead of black. I also don’t personally mind other very dark colors, like a very deep green or a very deep burgundy. Basically, if it’s going to look black and not grey if I have to print the e-mail to my black and white printer, then I’m not bothered.

      2. Natalie

        Blue or black seems fine to me, or using a brighter but still legible color when replying inline, to differentiate your words from theirs.

      3. Rana

        I don’t mind dark colored writing on a functional level, but it does call attention to itself. (I’m sensitive to color gradations, so it would be impossible for me to not notice.)

        1. Anonymous

          To me all of this silly black on white nowadays that is used to pretend a screen was like paper which it is not feels so bright as if it was almost hurting my eyes.
          It felt much better when it was white on black at the screen in the olden days as they still knew black was free and white cost electricity, same as noone would print a whole piece of paper black leaving a few white gaps where letters are.

          1. Rana

            If you have a Mac, you might look into getting Flux. It changes the color tone of your screen to match the surrounding lighting, and it makes it a lot easier on the eyes.

    1. Kim

      Nope, you can’t use Comic Sans because you’re not a horrible person. :) Down with Comic Sans! And Papyrus.

      1. Sasha

        Gah! Yes!! One of the people I support regularly emails in bright blue, 14 pt Comic Sans. She writes really long, confusing emails with roudabout questions and often doesn’t make sense. I have to paste them into a plain text file just to read them, before trying to decode her nonsense.

        1. Kelly L.

          On a related topic, I want to declare a moratorium on using Comic Sans for serious and/or sad topics. I lost a pet this year and you’d be surprised how many pet-grief websites are coded in effing Comic Sans.

          1. Anonymous

            The cat sweatshirt people are usually fond of comic sans. And listing the birth and death dates of every pet they ever owned – ie, Fluffy 1988 – 1994.

        2. Rana

          Oh, geez. The only way that could be worse is if it were on a yellow background and there was blinky text involved.

      2. jill

        What is WITH Comic Sans though? My mom uses it exclusively for all communications, and has set it as the default font on her home computer (so the text in the task bar, for example, is Comic Sans). That is effort! What about this font appeals so deeply to people?

        1. Jamie

          It’s cute.

          I don’t use it except when adding text boxes to photoshopped pics of cats to send to my daughter (don’t judge me) but it is cute.

          My grownup font is Calibri, but I am also partial to Arial. I hate times new roman…it’s so stern.

          1. KayDay

            “I don’t use it except when adding text boxes to photoshopped pics of cats to send to my daughter (don’t judge me) but it is cute.”

            That is awesome.

          2. AMG

            I love Garamond. I do put everything in Garamond and will convert things I am working on to Garamond. I swear it’s easier for me to read and process.

            1. Ariancita

              Garamond is a very classic old printers font used in lots of books–it’s very beautiful and elegant. My favorite.

            1. Victoria

              I’m not sure if you’re saying that I’m self-righteous, or if comic-sans haters are self-righteous. If it’s me, then I apologize – didn’t mean to be snotty. I just truly don’t understand the (rather large) anti-Comic Sans movement.

              (I’m lazy, so I use Arial for anything on a screen and Times New Roman for anything printed. Oh, and I think my resume is Garamond.)

              1. Sasha

                I can’t speak for all Comic Sans-haters, but for me, the font is ugly and hard to read, no matter the size or color, which makes reading and comprehending long bodies of text difficult.

                And I will readily admit I am a snob, not just about fonts, but a lot of things. Beer. Star Wars. Anime. The fact that I am a snob.

                1. Kelly L.

                  Me too. And in college I liked Palatino because it was just enough bigger than Times New Roman that it sometimes bumped a slightly short paper up to the required page count while remaining 12pt.

                2. Kelly O

                  I actually like Garamond and Book Antiqua myself, as well as Palatino.

                  I am a serif font sort of person, and I like that they’re just different enough to differentiate from Times, but not over the top.

                  I have recently begun using Georgia a bit more. While it’s not a personal favorite, I discovered it in a blog Alison linked me to, and the typography discussion of the drop on the descender fascinated me. I’m using it more and it’s growing on me. (Although I must admit part of me prefers things lining up as I’ve become accustomed to seeing them.)

                3. Rana

                  Palatino is my default font for everything.

                  What’s funny about the “font games” students play (myself included) is that everyone assumes it’s invisible to the professor. Guess what: we did it as undergrads too, so we know exactly what’s going on. ;)

              2. jill

                No no! I’m so sorry! I meant that any objection I have (and I think most kneejerk haters of Comic Sans) is pretty heavily based in self-righteousness and general snobbery. Sorry about that!

              3. Megan

                I’m pretty sure jill was saying that comic-sans haters are self-righteous. I’m not proud, but I’ll admit there’s a bit of that flavor on most of my font-hating thoughts.

                That’s just how I read it, Victoria. I think your comment was fine.

            1. Esra

              Hey, for some of us, it’s our job to be font snobs!

              Seriously, colour, fonts, design, it all has an impact on how you and the content you are presenting is perceived. It’s important in business and can be make-or-break in job hunting.

              1. Ariancita

                Yes! I have a deep love for typography–a left over from my graphic design days. I still follow typography blogs for the pure joy of it.

          1. Kelly L.

            It’s a font for cute, lighthearted things, which means it probably won’t do much for, say, a business correspondence or a scholarly article. It’s fine for its intended purpose.

            1. Louis

              My tought exactly.

              Comic sans is great for my 6yo when he’s writing a letter to Santa on the computer… it’s not so great when my 40 yo coworker uses it in a business setting.

          2. perrik

            Think of fonts like clothing.

            For work purposes, you can play it safe with the conservative navy blue suit (Times New Roman) or a gray wool shift dress paired with a navy blazer (Helvetica). If you’re in DC, you might default to the blue button-down shirt with khakis (Calibri). Book Antiqua is a classic suit worn with vintage jewelry.

            Comic Sans is a big fluffy pink sweatshirt with a picture of two kittens in a basket.

            1. Karyn

              I’m going to copy/paste this to IT Boyfriend who has an unnatural hatred of the ability users have to choose fonts in their emails… this is my favorite metaphor of all time.

            2. Victoria

              Yes, I understand fonts as branding.

              It’s not a business font. Some people use it in business. It doesn’t look professional, and it makes them look out-of-touch. That’s all true, and I get that.

              What I don’t get is why thousands (millions?) of people are obsessed with hating Comic Sans specifically: http://bancomicsans.com/

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                I think because it’s so horrifically juvenile and unprofessional looking, and yet businesses and employees still continue to use it in professional contexts, and it baffles people.

              2. Kelly O

                And because people who use it think they are being all whimsical and creative, when they are mainly just looking the proverbial fool in a world of basic serif and san serif fonts.

                I mean, it may be a bit harsh to say it, but when I’m reading an email chain and I see your purple Comic Sans, I wonder how seriously I can take you.

                (I will also add the person who types everything in Lucida Calligraphy bugs the ever loving you know out of me too. It takes twice as long to read her emails.)

            3. Megan

              Yes yes yes! Love it! Helvetica is one of my favorites, and I love your description of it. Agree with all that this is perfect.

            4. Ellie H.

              I feel compelled to share that I have an actual cat sweatshirt (it’s not pink though) and I wear it all the time. Just not to work. It’s pretty much my favorite garment.

            5. Anonymous

              I have to confess my favorite font of all time is “Ebola”, but that has more to do with my admiration of emerging infectious diseases than anything else.

            6. Heather

              Would it be an acceptable exception to the anti-signature-quote movement to add this to the bottom of every email I send from now until the day I die? :) You nailed it!

          1. FreeThinkerTX

            That was awesome! Thank you for the nerdiest laugh I’ve had in a few days. (Even though I sit squarely in the Comic Sans Hater camp).

        1. Rana

          We did our wedding invitations in Papyrus. It wasn’t until I’d sent them all out that I learned that some people view it as only slightly less awful than Comic Sans.

          *small voice* I still like it, though.

          1. Heather

            I am OK with Papyrus for wedding invitations, if the opinion of a total stranger on the internet makes you feel any better ;)

      3. Anne

        I agree that it is an unprofessional style, but there has been some evidence to suggest that Comic Sans is easier to read for dyslexic people. There are other fonts which have similar effects, but they’re harder to access and use. Comic Sans is available from install on most operating systems and email clients.

        My office is only 9 people, and I’ve had at LEAST two co-workers with dyslexia. So I wouldn’t be surprised if some offices used it regularly to try and help with this issue.

        1. Min

          There is a free open-source font specifically designed for dyslexics available at http://dyslexicfonts.com/ . As someone without this problem, I find it difficult to read, but since I’m not the target audience, who am I to judge? :)

    2. Anonymous

      See, I thought Comic Sans was back in again, especially among the more cutting edge ironic hipsters. At least here where I work. But as always with my crew, it’s black all the way. No lavender.

    3. books

      I want comic sans to become sarcasm font. And then every time someone uses comic sans intentionally, we’ll think they’re being sarcastic. The problem with this – most of my emails would be in comic sans.

  3. Jen

    I disagree about the font, as long as it is a standard font. I love my Book Antiqua font in my email. It’s different but not weird or hard to read. Stationery and silly quotes are horrible, yet they are encouraged in my organization.

  4. Eric

    My company encouraged people to add a signature reminding others that if they print the e-mail they will be killing trees.
    I refused.

    1. moe

      My old company did that. The result was that long email chains would still get printed out, but would be longer than before because of all the please-don’t-print-me messages.

    2. KayDay

      Bah, I hate those, especially when you have a lot of short exchanges and every other line is don’t kill trees don’t kill tress don’t kill trees.

      At least it’s easier to say no to the line about killing trees without getting in trouble. The long legal disclaimers are even more annoying, and I’m assuming you can’t just say “no” to those.

      1. perrik

        “Bah, I hate those, especially when you have a lot of short exchanges and every other line is don’t kill trees don’t kill tress don’t kill trees.”

        Very annoying. Always makes me want to go outside with a chainsaw.

        1. Jamie

          Hee. Those ‘don’t print and save a tree’ notices inspire so much rage in almost everyone who comments about them.

          They inspire anger even in people who have a pretty serious commitment to sustainability. It’s a strange phenomenon. I think people just resent being told what to do.

          1. A Bug!

            It’s true, though. I would genuinely like to know if, for all of those “save a tree” blurbs, even one person who would have otherwise printed it chose not to.

            It’s a carpet bomb. The people who already make the effort to conserve paper get a condescending “reminder” that they didn’t need. The people who don’t care get to roll their eyes at the holier-than-thou and then cackle when the blurb ends up causing the print job to be two pages instead of one.

            1. Emily

              Yeah, I always wonder, who are these people who were all set to print out that email until they read the post-sig and thought, “You know what, I actually have no need whatsoever to print this!” Maybe in the 90s people were still compulsively printing all electronic correspondence and filing it away because that was The Way Communication Is Done, but we’ve been doing things electronically long enough, and printers are so nightmarish and universally hated by all computer users, that I’m reasonably certain that already nobody is printing anything unless they actually have to.

              1. Jamie

                Yeah, I always wonder, who are these people who were all set to print out that email until they read the post-sig and thought, “You know what, I actually have no need whatsoever to print this!”

                These are the same people who smoke for 40 years, but one day read on the side of the box that there are health concerns associated with this activity, facepalm, and never smoke again.

                In other words, they are imaginary people.

                and printers are so nightmarish and universally hated

                Amen

          2. Henning Makholm

            Forget sustainability here. Trees are a renewable resource. They are grown by professional foresters explicitly in order to be harvested, whether for timber or for pulp, and the first thing the forester does after harvesting his trees is the plant new ones so he will still have a source of income 20 or 50 years from now. It’s a trade that is intimately familiar with long planning horizons. And anyway, the alternative would be to leave your tracts of prime forest land lying around producing nothing, and where’s the fun or profit in that?

            You don’t see any exhortions to eat less bread and save a wheat plant, do you? Or eat less pork and save a pig?

            Some kinds of exotic wood come from wild-growing trees in pristine forests, felled by indiscriminate robber-baron types who are perfectly alright with leaving a dead dustbowl behind. (Generally in developing countries, because industrialized ones tends to have regulations about that). However, that kind of stuff isn’t driven by demand for wood pulp to make paper. Oh, some non-valuable trees will fall prey to the chainsaw when you liquidate an acre of rainforest, and they may well end up pulped, but that’s just getting rid of waste product. Where the money is is in decorative wood for flooring, furniture and so forth — not paper.

            1. Elizabeth West

              My boss used to say “Trees are a renewable resource” when I would tell him how much money we were spending on paper. Then he would call a meeting and complain we were spending too much money. *facepalm* Not a digital guy.

                1. Anonymous

                  Corks for wine bottles are even funnier – a natural cork is far more environmentally friendly than a synthetic one (one could, of course, debate the merits of screw caps over either).

                2. Anonymous

                  I heared there are only a few of those cork trees in a small area of the world and they take ages until it can be harvested, which gets a problem as the need grows much faster than the supply.

        2. Twentymilehike

          It’s reminds me of a website I encountered a while back. I wish for the life of me that I could remember what it was … But basically it was an organization dedicated to educating people about the paper making process. Their stance, if I recall correctly, was that paper is made from trees specifically farmed to make paper. When we use less paper, the farmers that own the land don’t make as much money, therefore they end up selling the land to be used to build things in instead of planting trees. So in turn we were actually doing the opposite of saving trees by NOT printing.

      2. BW

        The legal disclaimers are added after the fact by the server before it goes out. I am always a bit taken aback when I get a reply back with my email quoted and there’s this legalese novel at the bottom of it that I didn’t put there.

      3. Natalie

        Argh, the legal notices.

        We correspond a lot with attorneys and some of my former co-workers would always keep the page/s of repeated legal disclaimers. I must have recycled an entire ream of paper full of legal disclaimers when I first started.

    3. Ellie H.

      That is the worst. I rarely print email but find it rage-inspiringly obnoxious. It’s so idiotic because anybody who legit needs to print out an email will not and should not be deterred by the message, and will find it annoying, and it won’t even register kind of person who blindly prints out unnecessary items. It does nothing but make the person with that signature look smug and self-righteous.

    1. Jamie

      Really? I had that at a place I worked and I thought it looked so cool. I wanted to do that here, but too many of the people we send to don’t like the jpg sig attachments so went with text.

      I love that look, though.

      1. Janet

        I also like the way it looks but it hogs up so much space in my inbox. We work with a company that does this so I get a lot of e-mails with scanned business card image attachment signatures. It just quadruples the size of the e-mail.

      2. KayDay

        I did this before we switched to google enterprise where I don’t have so much flexibility in the signature (and I realized how annoying the constant jpeg attachments were). It wasn’t a photo of the entire business card, but a text recreation of it, with an image of the logo–so even if people didn’t get the image they would have the signature info. It looked nice, but I now get annoyed when I see all those attachments listed on my emails.

      3. Sasha

        I guess it depends on how your business cards look. Ours are overly cluttered with too much information and our organization’s ugly color scheme. Also, there is the jpg issue. I have seen people successfully replicate a nice business card as an email sig without the use of images.

    2. ExceptionToTheRule

      Oh God, they want us to do that too. Fortunately for me, my business cards are so outdated, they’re from 3 promotions ago and have the wrong phone number on them. If anyone asks I say I’ll do it when someone approves me for new business cards – which will never happen.

      1. Jamie

        My sig tag is outdated from one promotion ago…I was trying to use that as incentive to go live with the new sig tag software I bought to standardize everyone.

        Yep, one of these days I’m totally going to do that…

    3. Rana

      Personally, I’d rather just have clickable and cut-and-paste-able links. If the information is in a jpg or other image file, it’s a royal pain in the butt to use.

  5. Sabrina

    At my job emails that are sent to our production inbox get ripped into an imaging system. And all those fancy backgrounds, social media icons, company logos, etc, get separated out as attachments that I have to mark as irrelevant to the document. One or two is annoying. Ten is completely overboard. And I hate, hate, hate, HATE VCF file attachments. HATE.

      1. Twentymilehike

        That. And the stupid QR codes that my boss made is put on EVERYTHING. Everyone tells me they never scan them. They just ask me what they say so they don’t have to. My boss is the king of making things overly complicated with technology that’s supposed to “make life easier.” Pfft.

        1. Rana

          QR codes are one of my on-going aggravations. Nine times out of ten, a simple URL will do the trick just as well. The only times those stupid codes make sense is when you anticipate the vast majority of people seeing it will be needing the information while out and about, and that the only way they can get it is through their smart phones (and that they are likely to have smart phones).

          So they are stupid on business cards, and even stupider in an email.

          1. JT

            I still don’t understand your hate on QR codes. Are you actually seeing QR codes *instead* of the info in text on business cards? That’s unwise, but I haven’t seen that. I’ve seen it in addition to the info.

            1. Rana

              I see it in a lot of catalogs or newsletters, where they put up the code with a note to use it to view more information, but provide no URL.

              But basically, I don’t understand why, if you have the card, you need (or would want) to take a picture of it and scan it right then. Why not take it home and type in the URL when you are in a position to appreciate it?

              Part of this may be that I’m a person who doesn’t have a smartphone, and so the idea of scanning random things with one doesn’t occur to me.

              So I get the value of having them up, say, outside a theater so that people can sign up for movie times using one, but on a business card? Which is small and pocket-sized so you can take it with you?

              1. Jamie

                I just noticed one of these today on a box of tampons.

                So this is why people bring their phones into the bathroom.

              2. JT

                QR codes on business cards can have full contact info and not just go to a website (either via a vCard at a URL or having the vCard embedded in the code itself – which is how I do it.)

                So scan it and the phone prompts to save full contact info. Three or five keystrokes instead of, say, 60 and someone’s who contact info is in your phone. With far less chance of error than typing.

                And it’s not “scanning random things” – it’s someone handing you a card and telling you “Oh, my info’s in the code in the back too” which offers you value if you want to save that info. If you don’t want to store the person’t info, you don’t – but the QR code it not making it harder either way.

                I don’t have a smartphone either, but I’ve watched people use them, and when done right QR codes can make things easier.

                1. JT

                  Rana – here is one of my business cards
                  http://www.johntomlinson.com/images/synergoscards2012.jpg
                  Scanning the code at the back loads the my name and contact info into the phone (generally with an “OK” button for the user to confirm that). Compare that to typing the same info.

                  If someone doesn’t have a smart phone, they still have my info on the card.

                  The main downside is a tiny bit more cost printing the card double-sided, though in our case the off-white color is ink, not the paper, so we were printing on both sides anyway.

  6. KV

    Agree !
    Weird fonts / signatures ==> doesn’t look professional.

    I’ve also seen animated gif smileys in work emails, where a simple :) might convey the message :)

    And, I’ve also seen a fair amount of casual chat-room acronyms sprinkled in emails — e.g. LOL, ROTFL, TTYL, etc.

  7. Not So NewReader

    People actually have time for all that stuff? (LOL)

    Depending on how a person connects to the internet the “stationery” can make it take longer for the email to load on screen.
    In the few computer classes I have had the profs said the same thing over and over “Think about the viewer, think about what it is like on their end.” This covers anything that takes too long to load or is decorated to the point of distraction.

    1. fishy

      Our IT department is notorious for the background stationery. The worst offense is when they send out an email saying they will not being doing updates this weekend because it’s on the background stationery and takes minutes to open in our antiquated Outlook software.

  8. A Bug!

    Some kinds of e-mail attachments will also trigger some spam filters, so just for that reason alone it’s a good idea to keep extraneous cosmetic stuff out of your e-mails.

  9. Juana

    You also lose all credibility if your signature contains happy cartoon flowers captioned “have a nice day.”

  10. Blinx

    And please, learn how to use the shift key, it’s really not that difficult. Professional emails sent in all lower case, including their name, look like they were sent by a third grader.

    1. Jamie

      Opposite problem for me. Because our ERP requires all uppercase that’s an excuse for a few to SEND ALL EMAILS IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THE CAPS LOCK ON BECAUSE I WAS IN THE ERP.

      Last I checked it takes exactly one tap of the caps lock to unlock it. Seems like that’s worth the effort to avoid screaming at everyone in their inbox all day.

      Oh and if you hate spellcheck and rail against it like it’s from the bowels of hell itself, then either get a job where you’re not emailing customers or learn to freaking spell. Because I don’t like getting complaints from your boss that I should config Outlook to not allow you to turn off spell check.

      Seriously. / rant

        1. A Bug!

          But when I get an e-mail in all caps I think I’m being yelled at so I run to the washroom to hide until it blows over!

            1. Jamie

              You know what’s funny? One of the people who does it is a very nice, but quite and soft spoken person.

              I’m not sure he would yell if he were on fire – but his emails are very emphatic.

            2. AMG

              OK, THANKS!!!!!!

              or anything similar makes me want to find that person and smack them with thier own keyboard.

        2. Thomas

          There are certain teams at the company I work for that use all caps all the time. I get to wondering if, for those teams, the rule that caps lock always be on is part of their new employee orientation or something.

          1. moss

            It makes people sound kinda ignorant, in my opinion. Like, “Someone let Grampaw on the computer again.”

        3. KarenT

          i have always preferred all caps 2 those 2 lazy 2 use the shift key. it is unprofessional. im stressing myself out typing this.

      1. Rana

        Ugh, all caps! Not only because of ALL THE YELLING but because it’s hard to read. Part of reading is pattern recognition, and the lowercase letters are easier to make out than a BIG BLOCK OF ALL-CAPS TEXT.

      2. Katie

        Okay, can we give some serious consideration to where the capslock phenomena comes from? What compels people to do it? I see it a lot in uneducated folks, and I’m wondering how one learns to type in this fashion. Any thoughts?

          1. Katie

            OMG, I’m going to start texting in telegram speech.

            TO LADY ALLISON GREEN STOP THANK YOU FOR CONSIDERING MY APPLICATION STOP I AM THE PERFECT MEMBER FOR YOUR TEAM STOP PLEASE ACCEPT THIS FRAMED PHOTO AS GIFT STOP DID YOU RECEIVE CHOCOLATE TEAPOT GIFT SET QUESTION MARK

        1. Jamie

          I just got one – minutes ago.

          4 sentences (1 run on). 8 typos (or misspellings) and about 1/4 of the punctuation it should have. The syntax reads as if it were written by a non-English speaker.

          Yet it was written by a soft spoken very intelligent man with a PhD in philosophy from Northwestern.

          I have never understood how some people “sound” so different when they write as opposed to how they speak. I’m quieter in person than I am on this forum, but if I’m feeling chatty I sound the same as I write. I make the same stupid jokes, use the same verbiage…I just will never understand why some people sound so very different in text than they do verbally.

          It baffles me.

          1. Anonymous

            I think such people are just lazy and/or think their time is more valuable than the readers, which gets especially silly on postings which many people have to decipher.

      3. JT

        I got an email from someone in all caps recently and I simply wrote back to the person and asked them not to do that because it was hard to read. They said thanks and seem to have agreed.

    2. Jane Doe

      Ugh. I worked at a company where you’d think some of the employees were borderline illiterate based on their emails. Most of these people made two or three times what I made, and were speaking with and writing to customers on a daily basis.

      1. Kelly O

        Same.

        I was just saying this morning my job of figuring out people’s issues with purchase orders would be so much easier if they figured out the shift and enter keys.

        Because it is SO simple to figure out a big block of bold text with PO numbers, style numbers, quantities, and what they did or didn’t get, as well as all their exposition.

  11. Tracy

    YES.

    Using stationery also has the side effect that some email programs read it as an attachment, so when you sort by attachments to try to quickly find that spreadsheet someone sent you, you have to wade through a bunch of “attachments” that are either stationery or logos in a signature.

  12. Tango

    Dislike the cute or inspirational quotes. Really dislike people who not only use funky fonts but then it’s not standardized throughout the signature. The name will be one font and size, their business title another size font, their company information such as address/email is a second font and color and size and their supposed inspirational quote a third color and/or font. So it looks like a madhouse of colors, fonts and sizes.

    1. Jamie

      If I were ever to use a quote as a sig tag there would only be one choice…my favorite Alison Green quote of all time (and there have been many):

      You are not in a brothel line-up. You’re in a two-way business discussion.

      I want so badly to have the courage to bust that out in a contentious meeting.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Ha! I was just thinking how amusing it would be if people quoted themselves in their signature block, attributed to themselves. Just whatever special piece of wisdom you’re especially impressed with yourself for coming up with, living in your emails forever afterwards.

        1. Jamie

          That would be awesome – and unfortunately I’m affected with enough hubris that I might be capable of that!

        2. Samantha

          I actually once received an email from someone, the mayor of a small city, who did just that! Definitely provided a good laugh for my coworkers and me.

  13. ChristineH

    The woman who sends emails to an advisory council I’m on uses 14-pt Comic Sans purple font as well as a very subtle stationery. She otherwise seems professional (she attends our meetings too), so I’m surprised she’d use that kind of font. I’ll admit, however, that before I met her, I was expecting someone less professional because of the way her emails looked, so emails can serve as a first impression.

    Another email gripe for me is when they have a lot of obvious grammar and/or spelling errors.

  14. Natalie

    For some reason I’ve noticed a lot of people using non-standard line spacing in their email stationery. So, for example, each line has 18 points of white space above it and if you put two carriage returns between your paragraphs it makes a vast expanse of white space.

    I’ve known how to type practically as long as I’ve known how to write, and it’s so.effing.hard. to not double tap the return button when I want to start a new paragraph.

    1. Kelly O

      Especially when you never know how someone has their signature set up, so you wind up hitting it anyway, and then you have to go back and fix it.

      The other thing about stationery that bothers me is people who use a lighter colored font with a colored background. Or that one stationery that has the blue swirly thing in the background, which is great except I use dark blue for my replies, and it gets lost if the letters hit that swirly bit.

      1. Jamie

        I can honestly say I’ve never seen stationary in a professional context. I had a couple of friends in the late 90’s early 2000s who used it to annoy people (not their purpose, but was the result) but I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen it.

        And this may be OT but you all have put me in a very good mood today for some reason (I love pleasant banter), so I’m sure the people I’ll be auditing this afternoon thank you…even if they never know about you.

    2. Ellie H.

      Some people I email with have some setting so that when you reply to them, it puts huge spaces between all the lines of text in their message. I’ve never been sure why that happens.

  15. Mike B.

    My organization has an official font and signature template (contact information only), both of which I use. Is that inappropriate? Most of my coworkers don’t bother (or use their own personalized fonts and templates).

    1. A Bug!

      If the prescribed font is a “standard” font that is professional, easy to read, and that most computer systems already have (inside and outside of your organization), I don’t see a problem with it.

      If your coworkers actually adhered to it I’d say that it would be a good way to present a consistent “face” of the company. But given that your coworkers don’t, I fail to see the point of having such a policy in the first place!

    2. Kelly O

      We are supposed to, but you would never know it to see some people’s emails.

      We don’t use a stationery, and our signatures are supposed to be Times New Roman, with our small logo after the title. It’s quite tasteful and appropriate. I use TNR for my email font, just to keep it consistent.

      But we have people who use all sorts of combinations. The hot pink and purple ones bug me the most. They also use giant bold fonts.

  16. Paralegal

    Since we are discussing email gripes…I hate emails that have instructions or correspondence on a scanned letter instead of pasted into the body of the email.

    I am guilty of this sometimes (it is still common in my office in certain practice areas), but I am trying my hardest to switch communication to text email only. It is difficult to read a scanned letter on an iPhone or Blackberry, so people ignore the email until they get back to the office, at which point they have forgotten about it.

    1. A Bug!

      In my office, we do the scanning and attaching thing for actual correspondence. If it’s something that I would have addressed by telephone, then do that in a regular e-mail.

      I’m not 100% clear on why, but I think part of the reason is that the courts don’t seem to have quite caught up with technology yet and the lawyer wants to ensure that correspondence is “formal” in the event that an issue arises from it that needs to be brought to the court’s attention.

      1. K

        I think that’s right, but 99 times out of a 100 an electronic signature is just fine, so it’s much easier to just PDF the word document directly. That makes it easily viewable on smart phones and avoids compromising picture quality (or whatever you call it).

        1. Blanziflor

          Well, a plain text email is trivial to alter. A scanned page much less so. Of course, for ultimate security, you’d want a digital signature. That should be unforgeable (with a possible exception, if you know the right warehouse in Maryland).

          1. K

            I mean, you’d want to just sign the letter in Word with a /s/name and then send it as a PDF that you create digitally (instead of scanning it in). For these purposes we’re not really talking about making something impossible to fake; any of this stuff can be faked trivially. We’re talking about creating a record of what you sent that (a) you can produce if needed, and (b) makes it obvious what version of a document (because their might be a zillion drafts you e-mailed back and forth) can be treated as the final and official one.

    2. Rana

      Oh, I freakin’ hate that.

      It was particularly bad at one place I worked, where doing that was common and there was no way to view the attachment’s contents without downloading it first. No, I do not want to download this PDF and open up another program so that I can get information that you could have just pasted into the email itself.

  17. Mints

    I’d like to show everybody this http://dyslexicfonts.com/demo.php

    It’s font that’s supposed to help with dyslexia! Isn’t that cool? I didn’t actually install it on my computer (since I’m not dyslexic), but kept it book marked to install on my boyfriends computer whenever he gets one.

    It looks a bit weird, but I’m doing this PSA in case you see it, you won’t lump it together with the hated comic sans or other unprofessional weirdness.

    1. Sasha

      Very interesting. I didn’t realize that “bottom heavy” characters are easier to read. Thanks for sharing!

    2. Henning Makholm

      But does it work? I don’t know the first thing about dyslexia, but have a strong hunch that it is not a anywhere near a simple condition. So if someone claims they can mitigate it with something as simple as a typeface, I’d like to see data from some controlled experiments with actual dyslexics.

      1. A Bug!

        I’m by no means educated in this area, but I can see on a surface level how it could work.

        My understanding is that people with dyslexia often have trouble distinguishing letters that are a similar shape but different orientation. b, q, p, d being a common example, or 6 and 9. A person with dyslexia can’t immediately identify the orientation because the letters are less spatially “fixed” the way they are for non-dyslexic people.

        By making the letters bottom-heavy, it tells the reader which way the letter anchors.

        To illustrate my point a little, picture a set of pool balls. The 6 and the 9 usually have a line to indicate the orientation of the number – otherwise you wouldn’t be able to tell without using additional information.

        I would be interested in seeing actual studies to back up whether or not the font is effective, but I would not be surprised that it does help some dyslexic readers.

        1. Abelardo Gonzalez

          Your assesment is pretty much spot-on. You’ll have to wait on the studies tho: OpenDyslexic is very young so it’d be hard to have studies already done on it, but there are being studies done on it now, and there will be in the future.

          1. A Bug!

            Hey, neat, hi! Thank you for popping in!

            The work you’re doing is really great to see, not just the work itself but the fact that you’re making it available at no cost to users. I hope that it’s helpful to at least some portion of users with dyslexia. I wish you big success!

  18. Chris

    Ugh. The backgrounds are what kill me the most. I have my inbox set up so that items from certain people with attachments go to another folder. When someone uses stationery, I get that in the attachment folder.

  19. Anonymous

    Backgrounds are the WORST. When combined with cursive fonts, they successfully render the email unreadable.

    1. some1

      When I was a receptionist years ago, I was sent a resume and cover letter for the boss that was done in a display font, like that you would use on a wedding invitation. I literally got a headache from trying to read blocks of text in that font.

  20. The Other Dawn

    We have one person in our office that uses the comic sans font. It doesn’t bother me, but it does come across as her being immature. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. It kind of says to me that she wants to do her own thing.

  21. some1

    At a former job, I had just my name as cursive in my signature, and the rest (title, address of the business) was in a regular font, just because I liked the way the cursive looked for my name. I had to use a larger font size to make the cursive more legible. I was so embarrassed when I realized if I am emailing someone who doesn’t support that font, my name was in these gigantic letters and I looked like the biggest egomaniac.

    At that job part of my duties was coordinating with customers would seek permission to use content that we owned. We had a Permissions mailbox that automatically bumped to my email. One woman who emailed me about seeking a permission had a combined religious/political quote that I found so offensive, I honestly thought about just deleting her email but I helped her anyway. And was polite in my response.

  22. Anonymous

    I think my personal gripe would be emails sent with different colored fonts to emphasize different points. I once received an email from a staffing agency about an in house position they had and the sender used different (neon bright) colored fonts to highlight each part of email. Considering she was a recruiter, it appeared pretty unprofessional. Is it ever really professional when your emails look like the cast of Rainbow Brite wrote the email for you? My entire correspondence with her entailed the rainbow of font colors. I turned down the position, mainly due to my interaction with the recruiter. I just found it odd that no one ever brought to her attention that presenting herself this way is unprofessional.

    1. Jamie

      I think my personal gripe would be emails sent with different colored fonts to emphasize different points.

      In the example you gave I totally agree. I do use this, sparingly, but effectively with bold red font to highlight that which it’s your butt not mine if you disregard. Like times when the network will be down for maintenance, etc. It’s one sentence maybe twice a year, if that, but bright red font from me everyone knows I will not cover for you if you don’t follow clearly marked instructions to shut down and you lose files.

      your emails look like the cast of Rainbow Brite wrote the email for you?

      Ha! Love the visual!

  23. Blanziflor

    What does the font choice matter? Both pine and mutt are going to display it in Courier, in an 80 column terminal with colours of my choosing.

  24. Kate

    My job is transitioning to Google Apps and I think I groaned out loud when I got to the part about how to change fonts and colors and use emoticons. The people that would use that effectively would find it on their own, and the people that will use 14-point bold pink don’t need encouragement!

  25. Mary

    At my company, we use an office-wide chat program. I feel like I’m being yelled at whenever one woman sends me a “call me” written in bright blue, 20-point Comic Sans.

    Of course, my supervisor occasionaly changes her font to Papyrus and writes to me just to get me all riled up. I usually reply with “BITE ME” in 30-point hot pink Comic Sans. Casual office environments FTW!

  26. Agile Phalanges

    *pout*

    But I LIKE my dark blue Garamond! I’ve used that color and font for all my e-mails/IMs since I can remember, both personal and work. I used the default (or at least business-accepted) fonts in Word and Excel to conform to society, but e-mail is the one place you can show a little bit of variety, and I think mine is still pretty business like.

    I do sympathize, though–I hate when people have funky stationery in Outlook, or the weird settings you discussed above that cause extra-large line breaks. And someone in our company uses Comic Sans for EVERYTHING. Not just e-mail, but it’s her default for everything. She set up a lot of the spreadsheets STILL used in accounting, and I still occasionally see one floating around. Accounting! In Comic Sans! Ugh.

    Do I really have to switch out Garamond for Times New Roman?

    1. Jen in RO

      I write in dark blue Verdana and I’m not changing it. I actually prefer it when people use a non-standard font, as long as it’s legible and not in a funky color. My boss uses black Calibri, for example. And while there is someone who writes in green Comic Sans, she’s such a nice and helpful lady I can’t hold it against her.

    2. JT

      Garamond is not good on the computer screen – it’s too fine and designed for high quality printing.

      It is serious enough, but not as clear as it should be onscreen, at least at small (text) sizes.

      Times New Roman is tolerable – designed for low quality printing in the newspaper, and so works OK in low quality viewing on screen.

      Some newer fonts such as Constantia and others with names starting with the letter C from Microsoft are examples that work well on screen and can look professional.

      Calibri – mentioned by Jen in RO – is an excellent font for email. It is not soon to be considered “non-standard” since it comes with most MS Office products.

  27. Patti

    Blue, black, standard fonts… all fine. There has never been nor witll there ever be any need for more than one color, or more than one font size/style in the same email. And… for the people who feel like it’s “festive” to stick a picture of a giant turkey in your email signature for Thanksgiving, please go back to 1st grade and try again. Yes… I said in the signature. Every. Single. Email. Giant turkey. Now we’re up against candy cane pictures, with alternating red and green letters. Someone make it stop.

  28. Elise

    Any sort of stationary in the email or fonts outside the normal range can cause problems if the recipient is using JAWS Software to try to read the information. JAWS is used by those who are visually impaired but still want/need to do things on the computer.

    If your job isn’t government you don’t officially have to worry about 508 compliance, but it’s still not nice to make things potentially more difficult to the person you are messaging.

    1. Rana

      That’s a really good point. I have a friend who uses JAWS and it’s been an enlightening experience helping her navigate some of the webpages out there. Some of the ones that look really user friendly are terrible for her, and vice versa.

  29. Lana

    What about Calibri 11Pt in Blue? This is the default font and color my company uses and we are required to have a photograph next to our name in the signature. Any thoughts on that? Should I change the font and color to so something more neutral?

    1. Ellie H.

      We have default 11pt Calibri too. I thought it was Outlook’s standard. I adore it. Ours is default black for new messages, and very dark blue for replies, which I actually really like.

      1. JT

        But very dark blue and black look almost the same to people w/o good vision, so that distinction is not helpful in some cases.

        1. JT

          Sorry I placed the comment “above” from 10:58 in the wrong place somehow – it was in reply to Ellie H. at November 30, 2012 at 1:30 am

  30. Jen

    As a former Comm. Mgr at a healthcare/social service nonprofit I was responsible for setting up our email brand (type, font size, professional formatting), but it was very hard to enforce. I didn’t want to be the email police, HR didn’t want to do it either. I thought it should go to each manager/director to supervise their direct reports but they never enforced it either.

    1. Noah

      There must be a way to force font and color selection in group policy on Windows Server. Where I work we couldn’t change the font or color if we wanted to. The signature is also set by IT to meet corporate policy.

  31. Cassie

    I got an email from someone at US Navy (handles contracts and whatnot) with a signature quote by Marie Curie, with a smiley face. It was weird. Actually, not just a smiley face, but a winking face with a nose too!

    I think my email (Thunderbird) might be set up a specific way that isn’t plain text… I’ve gotten replies back from people and see html code all over the email I sent. I assume it’s because whatever application they used to read the email is plain text only? I should probably fix that.

  32. Yvi

    For me, there is one, and exactly one, situation where a standard font and plain text just won’t do – if you include source code in your mail, formatting it in a Courier or something like that is cool. Because that’s how many of us view source code all day, that’s familiar and also means the code pieces belonging together actually end up being displayed together. And means I won’t have to copy & paste it into an editor just to read it.

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