The Gen Y Email Signature

The Gen Y Email Signature

16 Comments 🕔11:58, 31.Aug 2011

While email is so Gen X the fact remains that we all–Gen Y included–still use, and will continue to use for the foreseeable future, email as our main method of electronic communication. Knowing this, how does one–specifically Millennials’–personalize their email signature? Everyone knows how Gen X’ers use email signatures. You know, name, title–usually very large font–company, phone, fax, mobile, home, address, email, mothers maiden name, etc…, but this boring and static signature does not exemplify who we are as a group. Our calling card so to speak.

We are the generation of SMS, MMS, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Tumblr, WordPress, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn; insert your own social media outlet. These are our primary means of digital communication…not email. So, I set out to setup a dynamic email signature. One that integrates social media and email. Now, based on a post from a month ago, I HATE email signatures with images. No, I loath them. Read the article to understand why, but how does one create a stunning, creative, dynamic email signature without having images attached? Below I will show you how to do such a thing. Please note, the instructions below may be used with any email client on any platform, but since I am an Apple zealot, the instructions are geared for OS X (Lion) and Apple Mail.

Here is a screenshot of my email signature:

As shown above, I have a live twitter feed, showing my last tweet. I also have the following social media icons and associated links to the following: Twitter, WordPress (My Personal Blog), Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Flickr, Posterous, Google+, Yelp, StumbleUpon, and Vimeo. You can have as many or as few as you’d like. The process is the same. My signature does not contain a single image. Everything is written in HTML and linked to external images hosted on my web server over at MediaTemple.

First, the live twitter feed is simple. There are many solutions available, but I chose They had the graphics I liked an the code was simple to integrate.

Since our signature will be HTML based, you will need to write a little HTML. I prefer TextMate, but if you need something a little more visual, DreamWeaver is the next best thing.

Next, go to Google or Bing and search for social media icons. There are tons of available icons, but I prefer something a little more traditional so I stuck with the standard set. Here is a link to the icons I use.

Upload these icons to a web server. Somewhere you can link directly back to them. Setup how you want your signature to look in DreamWeaver or TextMate.

Now, we simply cannot copy and paste the HTML code directly into Apple Mail’s signature line, we need to modify the actual signature HTML file that Mail stores in the Library folder.

Once you are happy with the way your signature looks, open it in Safari and save the page as a web archive file. Name it anything you like as we will be changing the name later on.

Next, create a blank signature using Mail’s signature profile under Mail’s preference pane. Leave it blank, we just need Mail to create the HTML file behind the scenes.

Once completed, go to: ~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData/Signatures/. In the folder, look for the most current file (the only file created today). Copy the name of the file–it will be something like 8D2D5123 and so on–and rename your web archive file to the same name. Move the Safari web archive that has your fancy new signature to the aforementioned folder overwriting the existing file and bam, new Gen Y signature.

Let me know how you like it or if you need any assistance setting this up.

Have fun!



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