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I’ve a big customer, email replies from them lose formatting

This month a customer queried why their current approach to sending Email
Letterheads was resulting in some of their replies from customers not showing their formatted email letterhead.

To put it simply all the content they were referring to was contained in a single image at the top of the message.  Many of their customers are institutions that strip graphics on replies to remove data loads and they were experiencing IT policy of a large organisation that is managing large numbers of staff.

What’s a Big Customer?

One of the customers for this company, happens to have over 1 million staff, so we can be clear in this case the IT Department do manage things globally.

Naturally, there’s a little bit of confusion about why the email is not working
correctly!  The email goes out in the intended format.  Then it comes back with no graphics in.  So, it not working is it?  It comes back with nothing in!  What’s wrong with the email?

Well, it might be working and it probably is.  There is a good change  the recipient does receive the message as its intended.  However, on reply graphics are most certainly stripped out.

It may (although unlikely) be the case that the graphics in the email are removed on receipt on the email.  This is unlikely and it is more likely that the whole email is received but their IT Department remove any graphics on reply.

The answer to this conundrum is simple:  ask the customer if they can see your logo on the email.   That will explain what is happening.    If your customers are large institutions remember that you may be better off with essential information being contained in web-safe fonts rather than graphics to ensure they are included on replies.

Get a customers perspective of email

Large organisations use email internally and they tend to remove graphics on replies to all messages.  This policy is set by IT who are managing data loads across their internal systems.

As a small company supplying the large institution your view and approach to email is different.  You always email externally.   80% of their emails are internal.   Their IT Department manages replies to you and this may result in you not seeing your original message as a reply.

Get your approach right

You may want to impose that your email is to look identical to your printed paper, but the reality is that from a design point of view email has one or two restrictions, it has some strengths and it also has a couple of weaknesses.

Be aware of what these are.  Ask the questions about who you are emailing and whether you will need to accommodate for those customers.

Like everything marketing, you are ultimately targeting a market and you need to ensure your communications work for your target market.

Remember you’re ultimately sending a letter to someone.  Consider that it is an email and consider that it needs to look right as an email.  Take the advice on board that the email designer gives you and make a considered decision.

200 Staff (or 50 Staff) type customer

If you are dealing with large institutions upward of 200 staff be aware they will have global policies for email replies from IT.  Small to medium sized companies of 50 or more may also have similar policies too, although it is less likely.

Web-safe Fonts

On a final note, consider web-safe fonts in all cases where you have names, particulars and contact details.  Include your name as a sign off and have your direct contact details underneath your particulars.

Repetition is often a good thing.


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