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Creating a Professional Email Signature


Avoid the use of background color, graphics, and images on your emails. Backgrounds generally do not look professional and they limit text readability. Applying backgrounds will also increase the size to open and store your email. If printed, emails with backgrounds use much higher levels of ink than those without backgrounds.

Images and Graphics

It is best not to use social media icons, images, or graphics in your email signature. Due to standard privacy settings, most email clients store images as attachments rather than displaying them. Others may distort or exclude the image or graphic altogether. Images may look nice in your email signature, but will add to the size of your email and may make loading your email slow and difficult for some.

Do not create an image to use as your signature. Many email clients have default settings that block images in emails unless the recipient allows them or sends all images as attachments. If your signature is an image that includes your name, title, and contact information, you run the risk that the recipient won’t see anything.

Also, if the email client attaches your signature image to the email, the recipients may have a hard time finding the correct attachment if you referred to attaching a document in the body of your email.

Including a vCard in your standard message is not recommended as it adds size and appears as an attachment. However, you may consider attaching it for first-time correspondence if necessary.

Using the Hawkeye Logo in your Signature

You may include the logo in your signature if you feel it’s necessary. It is best to use the following absolute URL to maintain consistency of use and proper sizing.

  1. When creating your signature, click on the Insert Picture icon.
  2. Copy the appropriate logo url into the file name field.

Social Media

Only reference official Hawkeye Community College web pages ( and official or recognized social media sites. Do not include personal IM, Facebook or Twitter links, etc. or any sites not recognized as official. Also, do not include personal URLs.

Link to social media or Hawkeye Community College web pages only if appropriate and necessary. Linking to social media accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter may be a good idea if the page is active and offers content that is useful to the recipient.

Avoid using graphics as the link to Facebook, Twitter, etc. This should only be done in text format with an embedded hyperlink. Example: Facebook


Legibility is most important. Use common, legible fonts such as Calibri, Arial, Verdana (sans-serif), Times New Roman, Cambria, or Georgia (serif). Avoid using decorative, elaborate, script, or ornate typefaces.

Font Color

Use either black, dark grey, or Outlook’s default settings for font color. Refrain from using multiple text colors in your email signature.

Signature Length

We recommend that your email signature not exceed nine lines. Four to five lines is ideal but not always practical.

Start With a Visual Separator

It's a simple tip, but there needs to be a visual separation to mark where the body of your message ends and where your signature begins. You can use a closing line such as Best, Thanks, etc. or a simple "--" at the end of your message.

Quotes, etc.

The use of personal favorite quotations or scripture verses, etc. in Hawkeye Community College email signatures is discouraged. It adds unnecessary length to the signature. This is perfectly acceptable for personal correspondence, however, it is not considered a professional best practice.

Mailing Address

It is generally not recommended to include your mailing address in an email signature.

Signature Templates

Signature Fields
You do not have to use all fields. We recommend the first four lines.
LINE 1: First name, Last name, and professional or academic title, as appropriate
LINE 2: Position Title
LINE 3: Hawkeye Community College followed by appropriate Department. Separate college name and department name with pikes (" | ")
LINE 4: Office Phone (cell, toll-free, and fax numbers optional) (Personal numbers not recommended but allowable) separate by pikes (" | ")
LINE 5: (OPTIONAL) Email Address

(OPTIONAL) Web Address (link to your school or departmental web page) | Appropriate Social Media Link(s). Limit to two or three links. Separate links with pikes (" | ")

NOTE: Use text links only, not graphics or icons, to keep the line short and easier to read. Remove the http:// from the link. See Images and Graphics.

LINE 7: Hard Return (empty line for separation)
LINE 8: (OPTIONAL) Logo if necessary. See Using the Hawkeye Logo in your Signature for instructions.
Example Signature #1
Separator -- OR closing line such as Best, Thanks, etc.
LINE 1: Joe Smith
LINE 2: Admissions Representative
LINE 3: Hawkeye Community College | Admissions
LINE 4: 319-296-2320 ext.5555 | 319-555-1234 (cell)
LINE 7: Facebook | Twitter |
Example Signature #2
Separator -- OR closing line such as Best, Thanks, etc.
LINE 1: Jane Johnson, MA
LINE 2: Instructor
LINE 3: Hawkeye Community College
LINE 4: 319-296-2320 ext.5555
Example Signature #3
Separator -- OR closing line such as Best, Thanks, etc.
LINE 1: Thomas Miller>
LINE 2: Financial Aid Representative
LINE 3: Hawkeye Community College | Financial Aid
LINE 4: 319-296-2320 ext.5555 | 1-800-555-9876
LINE 7: Facebook | Twitter |

See Using the Hawkeye Logo in your Signature for instructions on how to properly insert the logo into your email signature.

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