Email signatures in Dark Mode

Email signatures in Dark Mode

Email signatures in dark mode can look really funny (or scary if you like) if they don’t support the dark-mode environment. Well, this may be funny if you are the recipient of such a signature. You can look at it and roll your eyes or just smile when seeing a serious company sending you an email where the signature looks like chaos in your dark-mode-enabled Outlook or OWA. But what if you run this serious business and use email signatures that don’t support dark mode? Don’t worry. After reading this article, you will know how to look at your email signature to save your face in front of customers and business partners if they enabled dark mode in their email clients.

Dark mode affects email signatures

Unfortunately, in most cases, it affects email signatures in a bad way. Why? Because when designing and creating email signatures, users don’t think about what those signatures will look like on the recipient’s side if using dark mode. But as this dark-background environment gains more and more popularity, adjusting your email signature to a dark-mode-friendly design becomes a must.

Let’s look at the example of an email signature designed in light mode without considering the way dark mode can affect it:

It looks really nice, the colors are balanced, the custom social media icons match the company’s visual identity, the banner looks professional and inviting. But the problem is that it is not designed for dark mode environments. So, when that signature ends up in Outlook with dark mode enabled, this is what the recipient sees:

This email signature loses its charm. While the company contact details convert pretty nicely (because they are text-based and in the default color), the nightmare begins when it comes to images. The company logo, social media icons and the marketing banner are not adjusted to dark mode displays. The logo has a white background which is now visible, the social media icons are not perfect circles anymore, and the marketing banner seems to have unnecessary white edges. So, how to prepare email signatures to win this battle?

Prepare email signatures to look good in dark mode

The good news is that your email signatures can definitely look nice in both light and dark modes. You just need to know where to look at, so that you get the final effect like the one below:

There can be many different elements that you might not like in your dark-mode signature, but it seems that what makes the design especially vulnerable to dark mode is images.

Images are trojan horse(s) that can silently destroy your email signatures from inside, when the darkness covers the Inbox. Then, those pretty logos, social media icons and banners, which shine so bright in the daylight, show their true colors in the nightlight. So, to avoid any surprises, make sure to check the following.

Test your images in dark mode

No guessing here. You should check out how your email signature behaves in email clients with dark mode enabled. Then, you will know what are the weak points in your email signature and you will be able to fix them.

No background in graphics

The key is to use images in the .png file format, that allows for creating graphical elements with no background (transparent background). White background is still a background, so it will show up as soon as dark mode is on. To make sure the logo or social media icons look good in both modes, get rid of background in your images.

Find the balance between light and dark modes

Try to use images that look acceptable in both modes. Certain colors may not be as attractive as other when surrounded by light or dark background. Usually, vivid colors look best in both modes.

Get dark-mode friendly signature templates for free

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. You can get ready-to-use email signature templates (designed for dark mode) from our signature templates online library or design your dark-mode friendly signatures with this free email signature generator. Don’t hesitate to download any template and use it for either personal or business emails. It’s totally free.

However, if you would like to centralize email signature management by using a third-party solution, you can try out CodeTwo Email Signatures 365, which comes with the built-in Signature template library, were you can find a wide range of dark-mode friendly email signature templates.

See also:

11 thoughts on “Email signatures in Dark Mode

  1. Chris

    It seems Outlook adds a white background to transparent PNG images used in email signatures.
    Does anyone know how to bypass that?

    1. Kamil Glaser

      Hi Chris,
      I haven’t come across this issue. When does it happen (which email client is used to send and which to receive the email)?

    2. Tim

      I have the same issue. I keep testing by sending myself a transparent PNG image in my signature, but Outlook is converting the image in some way and giving it a nasty white background. How do you ensure that Outlook doesn’t change the image to another format? This is a great article, but it doesn’t cover this important point.

      1. Kamil Glaser

        Could you specify which email client was used to send the signature? I still haven’t experienced the issue with converting transparency to white. Unless you are using border-radius to add round corners to your images – it is not supported in Outlook.

    3. Shrmx

      I suggest uploading the image on a host or google drive, then use the image link (not share link) in the signature.

      1. Petri Lopia

        I don’t suggest that because many security focused peoples have blocked loading external media so those people wouldn’t see your signature at all.

    4. Les

      While creating the signature, right click the image, choose ‘Size and Position’, choose ‘Text Wrapping’, choose ‘In front of text’. My only challenge with this is that sometimes, my Mac recipients see my logos moved a bit. Am experimenting with tables to overcome this.

    1. Kamil Glaser

      Some companies design their logo in various color variants, so they can adapt to various backgrounds. Since the default, white background isn’t converted to plain black (the exact color in hex is #262626), a black logo in PNG format (on a transparent background) will not be invisible – it will be barely visible. You could try adding a round white background to the logo or change the signature’s (or the whole email’s) background from white to light grey and see how it looks in both modes.


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