Strip Off the Wallpaper in Email!

In homes, wallpaper is the paper covering the walls of a room, hallway, or staircase. It is often colored and textured, and it gives a certain feeling to the space, a feeling of comfort, elegance, the outdoors, etc.

In email, wallpaper is a colored, textured background. It gives a feeling of–of driving me nuts!

I hate email wallpaper.

I hate it because when I reply, it forces my message onto the same wallpaper surface, and it often distorts the look of my message. Sometimes wallpaper changes my black font to yellow. It changes the transparent background of my logo to solid white against the color of the wallpaper. Sometimes it even changes my Arial or Calibri typeface into something else.

It papers over my message with someone else's idea of a pleasing décor. Not fair!

In a business writing class last week, participants told me another reason they hate wallpaper: On a smart phone, it appears as an attachment, and they waste time opening it.

There is no good reason to use wallpaper in business email. Strip it off!

Do you agree? If so, please spread the word. If not, please share your reasoning.

Lynn
Syntax Training

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t like it either, but I have to deal with it. Wallpaper is popular in my office as a way to brand communications from certain departments or certain projects. The e-mail recipient can identify the sender and the project at a glance. This helps people who think and remember visually. Some people don’t read e-mail carefully, and they need a quick visual way to distinguish important e-mails from FYI-level e-mails.

  2. Diane, thank you for explaining how wallpaper can be useful. I had not considered its at-a-glance helpfulness since it has always frustrated me.

    Does everyone in your office use wallpaper, or is it just for specific departments and projects?

    Thank, Diane.

    Lynn

  3. I can’t agree with you more!! Hate wallpaper in email so much. The wallpaper is still as the background of my email even I wanna foward that……

  4. I agree with you, Lynn. Although not as visually bothersome, I also don’t like the trend of including a quote in the signature line of professional e-mails. What one person deems as amusing or inspiring can seem offensive or trite to the recipient. I am always surprised at the number of job applicants who submit their resumes by e-mail and include a quote under their sign-off. It often makes them appear unprofessional, or conflicts with our non-discriminatory hiring practices (i.e. contains a Bible verse, etc.).

    My apologies for deviating from the original topic. I am now stepping down from my soapbox!

  5. Thank you, Gloria, Mee, and Leighellen, for dropping by with a comment.

    Leighellen, you would be interested in my blog post “What’s Up With Email Slogans and Sayings?” Just copy that title into the search bar at top right, and you will find others who agree with you.

    Lynn

  6. I too am not a fan of email wallpaper, but if you are using Outlook you can usually disable it on a reply or forward. After clicking “reply” or “forward” go to your format menu or ribbon and change the font, background, etc.

  7. Lynn, most e-mails are plain. We use wallpaper just for certain projects or from certain departments. For example, if the IT department needs to send an urgent e-mail to advise users about a tech outage, it will use its departmental “tech outage” wallpaper with a red and yellow color scheme. This gets users’ attention more than the standard red exclamation point mark for urgent e-mails.

  8. Most email wallpaper strikes me the same as handprinted business cards or “business” email addresses that end in @aol.com or @yahoo.com. In other words, the sender seems somewhat unsophisticated. I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t foster great confidence in the sender.

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