Behind every pretty header or gleaming button is HTML code. According to W3C, “HTML is the language for describing the structure of webpages.” Ditto for email as well. With the help of HTML, you can construct headings, build lists, plant images in your email, and construct tables.
Bonus Trivia: HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language.
A lot of design newbies confuse HTML and CSS (cascading style sheets), but they are not the same thing. W3C defines CSS as “the language for describing the presentation of webpages, including colors, layout, and fonts.” In other words, HTML builds the structure, and CSS makes it look pretty.
When designing your email, it’s important to recognize this central fact: All email clients accept HTML, but not all of them are so friendly toward CSS. Be careful how you decide to implement CSS in your email, if you do at all. It may be easier and, for your metrics’ sake, safer to stick with HTML alone. On that note, let’s look at how to code an email with HTML that will look great on all email clients.