God, I hate HTML emails. Not in general, just building them. The state of HTML email in late 2012 is basically a snapshot of what life would be like if vendors had their way. Every standard goes out of the window. You have to account for virtually every different email client not just currently available, but going back a decade. Every client does things in its own way. Some people read their email on the Web. Others swear by their various email clients. Then there are the corporate users – the people using Outlook in its various incarnations.
Generally speaking, when it comes to rendering HTML, modern web-based email is absolutely fine. Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail certainly have flaws, and nothing’s perfect, but it seems to me that the best way to read your email is using one of these services via the web. But I’m sure you know this, and it’s not what I need to talk about here. I want to talk about background images, tables, patterned backgrounds, and Microsoft Outlook 2007 – 2010. (more…)