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universal law of e-mail signatures November 25, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Laws, Technology Trouble.
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That Guy’s Universal Law of E-mail Signatures states:

The larger (file size, font, or length) an e-mail signature is, the more insecure the e-mailer perceives him/herself to be.

Now, note that I said “perceived insecurity”.

  1. No signature. Indicates the person does not know how to use e-mail or, in fact, any technological applications whatsoever.
  2. Name only. Person is secure in his* position and only feels the need to note his name at the end of the message. Usually a very important person.
  3. Name + Title. Slightly less secure — wants people to know that he’s got a legitimate position of importance.
  4. Name + Company** + Phone Number. Probably the best kind of e-mail signature. Can usually be done in one or two lines. Usually used by people who send a lot of external e-mails.
  5. Name + Title + Company + Phone Number. Only marginally less-good than the previous one.
  6. Name + Title + Company + Phone Number + Logo. Because people really care about seeing your company’s logo and wasting an additional 50K per e-mail received ignoring that logo. Usually used by people who work for the government and are trying to build positive brand recognition.
  7. Name + Title + Company + Phone Number + Logo + E-mail Address. Person is sending an e-mail, but isn’t smart enough to realize that the recipient can see the sender’s e-mail address. He is probably concerned that people won’t realize who he is and why it’s important to read and/or respond to his e-mail. Likely been working for the company for less than one year.
  8. Name + Title + Company + Multiple Phone Numbers + Logo + E-mail Address. Person feels the need to give multiple forms of contact information. He probably works in sales or marketing and is concerned that the company will fall apart without his presence. Rarely will the recipient ever return the message by any means other than e-mail.
  9. Name + Title + Company + Multiple Phone Numbers + E-mail Address + Logo + Multiple Web Sites. Again, probably in sales. Really worried about being recognized as an important and valuable member of the team. May be a person who, in the end, brings in money, but not nearly as much as he should.
  10. Name + Title + Company + Multiple Phone Numbers + E-mail Address + Multiple Web Sites + Logo + Inspirational Quote. Extremely insecure about his position at the company. Probably spends a lot of time on job search sites and sends messages from his work account.

Corollaries:

  • Increase insecurity by 1 if:
    • …person uses a larger font for his name.
    • …person uses a font color other than black or dark-blue.
    • …person uses a non-standard font (excluding cursive/handwriting fonts).
  • Increase insecurity by 2 if:
    • …person uses an oblique, cursive, slanted, or handwritten-type font.
    • …person uses a larger font for the entire signature.
    • …person’s inspirational quote comes from Albert Einstein or Vince Lombardi.
  • If person uses Comic Sans font, he should be worried about keeping his job, because anyone who uses that font professionally should receive a written reprimand.

Feel free to add your own corollaries or suggestions in the comments.

* Using “his” to save space. Obviously I mean “his or her” and, instead of s/he or he/she, I’m just using “he”. Feminists, please forgive me.

** May or may not include company website.