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There is no official University-wide standard regarding email signatures. When setting up your email signature, we encourage you to follow the University brand guidelines and to refer to the below overall guidance as a baseline. You may customize your signature to fit the needs of your unit/department.

Overall Best Practices 


example signatureLess is more. Email signatures should be under 10 lines. You’ll want to consider including the following information when creating your signature:

  • First and last name
  • Personal pronouns (optional)
  • Title
  • School and University names
  • Preferred contact method

Fonts and Styling

  • The use of our custom brand fonts is not recommended, as they are likely not installed on an external recipient’s device and may not show correctly. The use of our alternate font, Arial, is encouraged.
  • A legible size (such as 9-pt type) with minimal colored text is recommended.
  • Some simple adjustments can give your signature a professional look with some visual hierarchy choices for emphasis. This includes:
    • Bolding your first and last name
    • The use of Northwestern Purple (R = 78, G=42, B =132/Hex: #4e2a84) for the University name puts emphasis on the institution 

Refer to this page on for detailed instructions on setting up a signature.

Backgrounds and Graphics

We discourage the use of background colors, graphics and images on emails. Backgrounds increase storage size, slow down the loading process, and do not meet accessibility requirements. Additionally, some users block automatic image downloads and may miss important information if it’s in an image. 


Be aware that images in email signatures can add to the size of the file and may make loading your email slower and more cumbersome for recipients. Due to standard privacy settings, many email clients store images as attachments rather than displaying them.