Creating a graphic email signature without attachment
February 25, 2008 12:17 PM   Subscribe

I have to a create graphic signature for an email. Usually the graphic is added as an attachment to the email. Is there a way to embed the graphic signature without showing it as an attachment?

I have to a create graphic signature for an email. Usually the graphic is added as an attachment to the email. Is there a way to embed the graphic signature without showing it as an attachment?

The client mentioned something about "utilized an applet that creates html")

Any thoughts?
posted by buybelen to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
An email that is anything but plain text will usually be sent as a group of attachments. It's the other side's email read that determines whether it appears to them as such or not. Typically this is handled via a setting with words to the effect of "View Attachments Inline." The easiest way to reduce the number of attachments that appear on the far side you can mandate that all email be sent as HTML email, as most email clients (readers) will be set up to display HTML email as email, though many people disable images in HTML email due to various image-based attacks and spam-verification techniques that rely on the automatic display of images.
posted by rhizome at 12:23 PM on February 25, 2008

ASCII art?
posted by mphuie at 12:32 PM on February 25, 2008

The graphic will not appear for everyone as some email readers cannot render the graphic inline with the rest of the text.

On top of that, a graphic in every signature will EAT server space so fast it will make their head spin.
posted by slavlin at 12:39 PM on February 25, 2008

There are only two ways to do it: as an inline "img" HTML tag referring to a graphics file on a server you control, and as an attachment.
posted by Class Goat at 12:54 PM on February 25, 2008

Noticed this on Lifehacker recently...
posted by gfrobe at 12:56 PM on February 25, 2008

Two thoughts: Whatever method you use to put images into email, a not-insignificant number of recipients will never see it (security settings, text-only preferences, etc.). And a possibly-insignificant number of people, many of them grumpy oldsters who pine, no pun intended, for the text-only good ol' days, will hate it.
posted by box at 1:14 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Your best shot (in fact, I think, your only shot) is to use HTML e-mail and include it via an IMG tag. Of course, I've got remote image fetching turned off in mail, so I'd never see it unless I went to the trouble to fetch that particular image.
posted by adamrice at 1:18 PM on February 25, 2008

Bottom line: No matter what you do, you cannot force a recipient to see the message as you desire. (Thankfully.) Perhaps this would persuade the client not to push you for a graphic signature in the first place, which would be great.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:21 PM on February 25, 2008

It is possible to embed the image data directly in HTML-mails, via base64 encoding. I was surprised, too, when i found out about this, but you can in fact use images with src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlh1QBHAKUfAAAAAA8PDxAQ.....". You can encode your image with this tool. But there are major downsides: It is very likely that some spam filters will stop your mails (spammers use encoding too), it's essential that the charset encoding works correctly (on the client side too!), and it may not work at all in a couple of mail clients. And I agree, generally sending mails as plain text is much better.
posted by dnial at 1:27 PM on February 25, 2008

As noted above, not only will individual spam filters sometimes stop this email attachment type, it could get the domain red listed with one of the big spam filter companies. That is a PAIN to get fixed if it does happen.
posted by slavlin at 2:31 PM on February 25, 2008

It's possible for an HTML "img" tag in an email to reference an image which is included as an attachment. The "img" tag doesn't have to reference a remote file.

However, as many have pointed out, about 99.9% of the use of this ability is for spam, and a lot of spam filters out there take it as being a spam indication with a very high degree of certainty. So using it is a really good way to get your email automatically trashed, not to mention landing your domain itself in the spam filter's "high probability indication of spam" list. (That being the way that Bayesian spam filters work.)
posted by Class Goat at 3:59 PM on February 25, 2008

Both Thunderbird and Outlook will display a vCard attachment inline. Graphics many be embedded in vCards.
posted by oncogenesis at 5:21 PM on February 25, 2008

I had to do this for a client once. As I recall, there are basically two ways in outlook to get this to work - 1) Setting it up as a signature or 2) Setting it up as "stationery."

I ended up having to make .html files with the signature and opening up outlook, messing around with the settings to get it to look right, and then writing down the settings as a set of instructions for the client to replicate on their end.

The result is something that looks great when people are sending from outlook to outlook (which is pretty much all that matters to business people), but something that looks silly when viewed in any sane email client. I know this because I often get emails from the client, using the signature I made for them. It still makes me cringe.

I tried to get them not to do it, but they wouldn't listen.
posted by kpmcguire at 10:14 AM on February 27, 2008

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