Most Gmail users find email signatures to be incredibly valuable. The reasons are fairly straightforward: email signatures can inform your contacts as to the best ways of getting in contact with you. A well-honed email signature can save you numerous redundant and distracting conversations about as to the best ways of getting in contact with you. After all, who wants to repeatedly tell people their phone number? If you email with a fair amount of new contacts, email signatures can be excellent means of avoiding such distracting conversations.
There's a slight problem with email signatures in Gmail, though: you can only have one signature. Why is this a problem? Because some email signatures aren't appropriate for certain relationships. Do you really need to attach your five line long, strictly professional business signature when you ask your wife when you need to pick up the kids? Probably not.
Luckily, there is an extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that can help you manage multiple email extensions. It's called Blank Canvas, and it is a dedicated email signature manager. It only works with email, though, so if you use another service for email, this isn't the extension for you.
How the Extension Works
Blank Canvas is fairly straightforward. Once you install it (which is no more or less difficult of a process than installing any other extension for your browser), you will be prompted to set up the extension with your Gmail account. In order to manage multiple email signatures, you will need multiple signatures set up. For example, if your work email is John@john doe.com, and your Gmail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, you will set up one signature for the former, and another (more casual) one for the latter.
Another limitation of Gmail signatures is that in Gmail, you can only use plain text emails. So, if you want to use color or images in your signature, you are out of luck. That is, of course, unless you decide to use [Blank Canvas]. Blank Canvas allows you to format HTML signatures for gmail, so images, color, and even more complex layouts (like <div> and <span> tags) can be possible with Gmail.
Be careful, though. Some email clients still do not render HTML. Outlook, Mail.app, and gmail render HTML just fine, but you always run the risk that your email signature will show up as mangled code — particularly if your recipient uses an SSH client to read email. This is particularly common among IT engineers who use SSH most of the day anyway.
Do you need to use Blank Canvas? It depends. Some users will be just fine without it, especially if they don't use a complex email signature that they want to hide from family and friends. However, if you have two or more email addresses in your Gmail account and wish to more successfully manage the signatures, Blank Canvas is the perfect solution for you. Just remember not to go crazy on the HTML formatting in your signature, if you do decide to download the extension.