How to Make Cool Gmail Signatures Right from Google Drive

Saikat Basu 14-09-2015

An email signature can be more than a goodbye salute. Do it well and your recipients will pause for a second before they send it on its way to the trash. Do it creatively and the signature could be a memorable gem in a cluttered inbox.


Just like beautiful business cards 13 Creative Business Card Ideas to Help You Stand Out In the rough-and-tumble world of business, nothing helps you stand out more than a memorable business card. Here are a few ideas to help make yours stand out. Read More , email signatures can help kickstart a conversation, attract a mentor, or help you raise money for charity. Email signatures are the simplest communication devices, but they are also the most ignored part of emails.

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Isn’t that a tragedy when a meaningful personal signature is so easy to create? There are always email signature tools 5 Ways To Create Custom Multiple Signatures In GMail Read More like WiseStamp, the most popular signature service around. But to give the Gmail signature a dash and stroke of your personality, Gmail and Google Drive give you everything to unleash an original signature on your contact list.

Designing Your Email Signature

Gmail Signatures

The basic rules of clear email signatures You Too Can Benefit From The Power Of Email Signatures A signature tells you something about a personality. Just as two people hardly write alike, they also sign differently. That's how the "science" of Graphology came into being. But the digital age and the email... Read More apply. With our limited attention spans, curb the information to what’s relevant.

In brief:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Be aware of your professional needs.
  • If representing the company you work for, check the rules.
  • Make it small in size — too big and it adds to the download size.
  • Use text for important contact details, so these can be easily copied and pasted elsewhere.
  • Ensure the signature looks nice even if an image doesn’t load or is blocked.

The Tools – Google Drive and Gmail

For everyday use, combining Gmail and Google Drive has a lot of productive merits. Hosting your signature files in one place instead of depending on a third-party plugin is one thing less to tinker with. My design canvas is the often ignored Google Drawings 8 Creative Uses of Google Drawings You Shouldn't Ignore Google Drawings is sometimes lost behind its more well-known siblings. But if Docs, Sheets, and Slides grab all your attention, the image editor on Google Drive has its creative side too. Read More . With this diagram app, you can keep your work within Google Drive.

Google Drawings

The alternative is to create the signature image file in any other graphic editor and then upload it to Google Drive.

Google Docs is also useful when you need to copy-paste symbols to Drawings (Google Docs > Insert > Special Characters) and use them instead of images to construct your signatures.


Set Up Google Drive

1. Log in to your Google Drive account

2. To organize your signatures, create a folder. Give it a relevant name like “Email Signatures”. This folder can be the container for all your signature files.

Google Drive for Signatures

3. Set the folder visibility to Public and the access Anyone (no sign-in required).


Gmail signature folder

4. Upload your images to the folder. The images will inherit Public visibility from your folder permissions.

Set Up Your Signature In Gmail

Gmail Signature Box

  1. Open Gmail. Click on the Gear icon and choose Settings.
  2. Go to the General tab then scroll to Signatures.
  3. Paste the image URL directly or insert an image from the “Email Signatures” Google Drive folder.
  4. Fine-tune your signature with necessary text information.
  5. Scroll down to the bottom and save your settings
  6. Test the signature by sending an email to another of your accounts or a friend.

7 Creative Ways to Use Gmail Signatures

While email signatures should be concise and not too flashy, nobody is telling you they need to be boring. With a bit of creative flair you can make eye-catching signatures that contain essential contact information. Here are a few ideas for using the combination of Gmail and Google Drive.


1. Point to Your Social Media Presence

An email signature is a subtle way to take your conversations out of the inbox itself. Inserting social media hyperlinks is easy but displaying social media icons is a better magnet. The basic process is simple:

Gmail Signature - Social Media

  1. Source free social media icon sets with a Google Search (remember to check license information).
  2. Resize them to the desired size and upload them as .PNG or .JPEG files.
  3. Upload the image files to the “Email Signature” folder you set up initially.
  4. Go to Gmail, click the Gear icon then Settings > General > Signature.
  5. Use the signature editor to format the name and any other detail in text.
  6. Click Insert Image. Browse to the “Email Signature” folder and select each image. Align them. Click the Link icon to insert links to your social accounts.
  7. Save your changes and test your signature.

Note of caution: You should think twice about including social media links if these do not align with your professional goals.

2. Create a Neat Handwritten Signature

Gmail Signature - Handwritten

Gmail is limited by the few fonts it carries. One of the ways to expand your choices is to use Google Fonts via Google Drawings. Handwriting fonts mimic the look of a casual signature, and there are a good range of handwriten fonts to choose from in Google’s font repository.

Follow the steps to create a PNG graphic of your “handwritten signature” and you can embellish the signature with any other graphic or a branding image you want.

3. Quote an Industry Stat

Gmail Signature - Marketing Stat

The idea here is to quote a development or a rising trend in your industry. Maybe, the stat or the fact will help to incentivize an offer you are making in the email. With the help of the Shape tools in Google Drawings, you can create quick swappable “statistical” signatures every week.

The information graphic can be linked to your company website or a page that talks more about it. You can also include a video testimonial via a YouTube Thumbnail insert.

4. Advertise an Event

Gmail Signature - Event Promotion

Have an event coming up? Maybe, you are celebrating ten years at work, or maybe it’s an event organised by your company. An interesting signature image can pull in the eyeball and spur someone to click on the hyperlink to find out more about it. The above simple signature has an image file created with Google Drawings and regular text formatted with the options in the Signature box.

You can also use a service like Click to Tweet to generate a trackable Twitter link.

5. Support a Pet Cause

Gmail Signature - Support

Supporting a creative project like an art exhibition could be a nice way to use your email signature. The tried and tested “Don’t print this email” message is great, but it is as old as the Redwood now. You can start thinking about LGBT rights, promoting New Zealand’s national flag, or universal flu vaccination. The world is your stage.

6. Make a Public Pledge of Self-Improvement

Gmail Signature -- Public Pledge

Using email signatures for personal development is an offbeat idea — I recall this wonderful story of how Mauricio Estrella used a password to change his life. A humble email signature may not have that power, but can it positively affect our daily lives? I can’t say for sure because I have just started using it. The relentless reaffirmation is what makes me think it can work. So, let’s try it out with a goal you have set for yourself.

Design an email signature around this and use it as a public pledge. It can be a signature customized for your personal emails if you wish to steer it clear of the work account. My public pledge is to write 1000 words a day – come what may!

7. Stay Humorous

Funny Gmail Signature

Why not brighten up someone’s day by signing off with a positively humorous quote? I like to go for quotes that make you laugh and think at the same time. The idea is to not only grab a millisecond of attention, but also use the humorous signature as a memory trigger.

Nothing works better than a remarkable quote. Try interesting (read – funny) factoids. You can borrow liberally from Reddit.

More Ideas…

As a short message wrapped in pretty fonts and graphics, a signature can be anything you want it to be. The impact comes from its staccato repetition in everyone’s inbox. Here are few more potential ideas:

  • Share a point of view.
  • Announce your marriage.
  • Say you are searching for something.
  • Spread the word about a name change.
  • Appeal for fundraising contributions.
  • Use it to drive traffic to your blog.
  • Tease a new product or offer.

You Can Be Memorable with a Signature

Contrary to opinion, you don’t need to be an artist to create a beautiful email signature. All you need is the right intent and the message that carries it across. Google Drive gives you all the space to add images and photos to your signatures. But a signature needs to be subtle and sharp.

The tools are here – the creativity has to be yours. So, go down to the comments and tell us if you have considered using Google Drive to design your signatures.

If you can’t be bothered, however, you can also use an email signature generator The 5 Best Email Signature Generators to Make Your Mails Pop An email signature says a lot. Here's how you can make gorgeous email signatures with the help of these apps and sites. Read More to do the job for you.

Have you gone fancy with your signature? Tell us how. Or do you still prefer the old-fashioned ASCII approach?

Explore more about: Creativity, Email Tips, Gmail, Google Drive.

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  1. Frode G
    July 31, 2017 at 9:24 am

    This is outdated, doesn't work!
    Thanks for wasting my time!!!

  2. billy
    July 17, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    I hope I am wrong on this ... but #5 and #6 are not possible unless the entire thing is one big image ... you can't have one multiple line image on the left ... then break up the content on the right of it into multiple smaller lines.

    Again, if I am wrong, please explain how to do this, because I would LOVE to be able to do this ...

  3. Chantal
    June 16, 2017 at 1:08 am

    PRetty unimpressed with your lack of how tos. Spent hours in google drawing only to have all the links added in disappear. WASTE of my day

  4. Matthew Gartrell
    November 12, 2016 at 6:40 am

    I must be ignorant, but this is a lot harder than it sounds. I designed a very nice signature in the drawings, but it would not transfer over. Part of it did, but it was all contorted and too big.

  5. Mark
    October 5, 2016 at 5:59 am

    I used ZippySig to create my email signature, which worked pretty well.

    • Saikat Basu
      October 6, 2016 at 4:32 am

      Looks good. Though, not a free service.

    • Erik
      June 25, 2017 at 5:01 am

      There's no need to PAY for such a service. My guess is you're promoting then because you you have a vested interest.

  6. maite
    August 29, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Hello ! Thanks for this article.

    I designed y signature in google drawings and put it in a drive folder as you said.
    BUT, when I want to import it as image to my signature panel, it is not showing...
    Do you know why ?

    Also, if I put icons with the links directly in google drawing, will it function ?

    I am very beginner :)

    Thanks a lot and keep going !

  7. Didier Waegemans
    July 13, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Hello, when I insert the pictures from google drive they are not recognized as pictures. I only get a pic symbol. Any tips how to solve this?

    • Mahmoud Sobhy
      July 15, 2017 at 4:53 pm


  8. RuthAnn Rafiq
    June 9, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Thank you Celina!

  9. Celina
    June 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I was able to do this successfully. Thanks so much. For those who may have trouble, I'll let you know what I did.

    I saved my image in a Google Drive Folder as instructed. For the complete signature, I used a Word document and set up a 2 x 1 table (can probably be done in any word processing software or even Google Docs). I put my information in the right column and styled it the way I wanted. The left column was empty. I copied the table and pasted into the signature field in gmail. I inserted the image in the left column as instructed in this article. Save. You may get an error message saying the signature is too long. To solve this problem, cut the entire signature and save. Paste the signature back into the field and save. This somehow changes the formatting from Word to Gmail specs (I Googled how to solve the problem). Save. Problem should be solve. You may notice that the spacing in the signature changes as well. Select the text and toggle between the left and right indent icons. This should solve that problem (I Googled it).


    • Saikat Basu
      June 12, 2016 at 6:03 am

      Thanks Celina. Yes, I use Google Docs for more complex tweaks myself.

    • Jillian
      September 6, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Hi Celina,

      I too used the 2x1 table insert to add my signature but I keep receiving the message that states that my signature is too long and I need to resize, therefore unable to save. The font is already at 10pt. Any other ideas?


    • PK Hunter
      January 24, 2017 at 6:45 am

      An image containing text such as phone number or address, which recipients may want to copy, is silly.

      • Saikat Basu
        January 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm

        The useful information is all text. Not an image.

  10. ????? ?????
    June 7, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    thanks a lot working on crating mine

  11. Anonymous
    May 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    This is gold. Today is the day I discovered this blog and your article was the hook. Thank you for delivering easily absorbable information for the masses.

    • Saikat Basu
      May 17, 2016 at 6:01 am

      Thanks Phil. Encouraging words like yours are like winds in our sails.

  12. barbara
    March 12, 2016 at 7:09 am

    I'm having trouble copying the signature made in Google Drawings with the hyperlinks attached. Whatever edits I make on the Drawing also aren't showing up when I try to insert the image into the signature field. Any tips?

    • Joanna
      October 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Hi, I'm having trouble copying the signature made in Google Drawings with the hyperlinks attached. When I open the signature in gmail I have to reattach all the links. Did you find out how to do this?

  13. Anonymous
    October 16, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Good article! I have been trying to do this for months and after following all the instructions I always got a broken link error. The answer is that the images cannot be stored in Google Drive, they have to be in the photo section of Google+. After so much time on time, I finally found relief :)

    More information on this issue here...!topic/gmail/WlXl5zflAqA

    • Saikat Basu
      October 17, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      Glad it worked for you :) As the commentator (JamesAK47) says in the forum that you can keep it any Google Drive folder but set the folder visibility to public.

  14. Anonymous
    September 21, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    So basically google drawings is used as a design software but the result is an image? so the text cannot be copied?

    • Saikat Basu
      September 22, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Google Drawings is only for the image part. Insert the text with the type/formatting tools in the Gmail signature box so that it can be copied and is also visible even if the image is blocked.

  15. Anonymous
    September 18, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I cannot figure out how you were ever able to mix your images/icons with the text the ways that you did. The gmail signature editor is so basic, yet so strict as to how you are able to place images and text.

    I am unable to do more than insert an image and then simply have all the text fall direct under the image. Aligning the block of text so that falls neatly next to the image as in the "Erin Brokovich" example has been impossible.

    How you were ever able to inset social media icons into image/text mix as in the "Philip Marlowe" example makes me think you weren't simply using google drawings and the gmail signature editor.

    Can you please elaborate? Thanks!

    • Douglas
      March 3, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      I'm having the same issue... I can't place our company logo in one column and the signature information in a second column beside it, as was done with Erin Brokovich and Philip Marlowe.

      Gmail allows only one column per row, so my version of Marlowe's signature would show the drop of water on the left, a single line of text to the right of the water drop, and the rest of the text in rows above or below the water drop.

      • 1434
        March 3, 2016 at 9:00 pm

        Yeah... I'm pretty sure Saikat wasn't just using the tools at hand. Nor is this person following up on this anymore. Oh well.

  16. Saikat Basu
    September 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks Tzvika. Oh, we have covered Wisestamp a few times before. Wanted to have fun with an "in-built" tool this time :)

    It's always great to discover and expand on alternative uses of an app!

  17. Anonymous
    September 16, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Ah Google Drawings cannot be used to make a signature - tutorial fail.

    • Saikat Basu
      September 17, 2015 at 2:36 am

      All the signatures above were made in Google Drawings. The scope of this article is limited to email signatures, and not to the nitty gritty of the Google Drawing techniques.
      It is simple really.

  18. Anonymous
    September 15, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Hey Stephen,
    I believe it may be so that there are no errors along the way, some users may have two-step security which may cause a problem, new browsers usually need verification etc before you can load your user? I wondered the same thing and to be honest, I'm still wondering!

  19. Anonymous
    September 15, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Why in Step 3 does the folder have to be made Public? Is this required for use as an email signature?

    • Saikat Basu
      September 17, 2015 at 2:56 am

      Hey Stephen,

      Public makes it viewable to all. They don't need explicit permissions (like a Google sign-in) to see the signature. You can also set it to "Anyone with the link". As far as I could test it, it was also working but for the reasons Simon mentions, I couldn't duplicate some scenarios.