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The Zen of CSS Design : Visual Enlightenment for the Web (Voices That Matter)
by Dave Shea, Molly E. Holzschlag
Publisher: Peachpit Press
List Price: $39.99
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Edition: Paperback
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4. Stylin' with CSS : A Designer's Guide by Charles Wyke-Smith
5. More Eric Meyer on CSS (Voices That Matter) by Eric A. Meyer
Editorial Reviews:

Book Description
Proving once and for all that standards-compliant design does not equal dull design, this inspiring tome uses examples from the landmark CSS Zen Garden site as the foundation for discussions on how to create beautiful, progressive CSS-based Web sites. By using the Zen Garden sites as examples of how CSS design techniques and approaches can be applied to specific Web challenges, authors Dave Shea and Molly Holzschlag provide an eye-opening look at the range of design methods made possible by CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). By the time you've finished perusing the volume, you'll have a new understanding of the graphically rich, fully accessible sites that CSS design facilitates. In sections on design, layout, imagery, typography, effects, and themes, Dave and Molly take you through every phase of the design process--from striking a sensible balance between text and graphics to creating eye-popping special effects (no scripting required).

Product Details
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; edition (Feb 17, 2023)
  • ISBN: 0321303474
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 Based on 34 reviews.
  • Sales Rank: 1270

Customer Reviews

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:

5an excellent book if used as intended, Sep 28, 2023
I love the site ( and I love the book. It is, HOWEVER (yes, that is a big however...), important that the book be used as intended. If you were expecting a CSS tutorial type book then you may be disappointed. I own virtually every CSS book published since year 2000 and this is primarily a design book that illustrates the power of CSS at its best. A reasonably astute and intelligent person, with little or no knowledge of CSS, might be able to use the book as a pedogogic tool; but it is not the best suited tool for that purpose. A much better book would be Cascading Style Sheets - Separating Content From Presentation. On the other hand, if you have just a minimal working knowledge of CSS, you can glean some fantastic techniques from this book (and also the site). It will especially appeal to graphic design experts who wish to broaden their scope of CSS knowledge and thus facilitate a better web page. Some of the designs in the book are very enthralling and surreal. I would gladly exchange some of my technical skills for just a smidgeon of these design skills! In addition, there are clearly some surprises hidden in many of the various designs. For example, I like to download sites and study them at my leisure offline. Well, imagine my surprise one day when I could not "grab" any of the background graphics from a particular site (and you will have to find it on your own but I will give you a little hint -- it is primarily green and black). This was my first encounter with this ingenious technique and I really enjoyed the "ah-ha" experience once I figured out what the author was doing. Well, there are many such treasures awaiting as you explore the book and the site. The book explains much of the reasoning behind certain techniques and design methods, which in turn better enables you to perform further investigation of other sites on your own. So, back to the original premise. If what you have read here so far perks up your interest then by all means buy the book and read it -- twice! Otherwise, reevaluate your needs.

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

5Excellent book for designers and artists, Sep 13, 2023
I bought this book (knowing it wasn't a how-to) on CSS, but hoping to gather something about coding from it. I realized, after just a couple chapters, that I've learned more about coding by simply studying the code of the csses(?) in the book.

More importantly, I've become a better designer and artist because of this book. I've been a web designer/developer for about eight years and a graphic artist for about five. I thought I was alright, but this book taught me more than everything I've gleened in the past several years.

Because of this (and, despite the fact that it's not what I thought when I purchased it), I give it five stars. Highly recommended!

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

5Design Zen, Sep 12, 2023
This book is a great introduction to what is possible using CSS design. It is a worthwhile addition to the web site by the same name. Viva web standards!!

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful:

3Good but not great, Sep 4, 2023
[...] I already knew this would be a design book and not a CSS guide.

The problem is that both the book and the site are misleading. These are essentially home pages by graphic designers. However as a practical matter, none of these designs would work site-wide - rather the point of a style sheet, after all. There's simply not enough screen 'real estate' to accommodate content in subsequent pages. In addition, the designs are such that tooling them to 'brand' across sub-pages sitewide would be very difficult, and the book provides no examples, guidelines, or suggestions for doing so.

For inspiration, to see what you can do with color and layout, and for finding your own unique vision, this book may be useful. For designing sites of more than one page, however, this book falls short.

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

4Exciting Hands On Intro into the Wonderful World of CSS, Aug 24, 2023
The Zen of CSS Design is a powerful, engaging book that takes you into the very elemental details that make CSS such a potent tool for use in web development. I would recommend this as a must have book for the CSS library - and the corresponding web site is a must visit and revisit location to get real CSS code to review and practice with.

The book is chuck full of images - each page takes you on a detailed adventure into one of some thirty six actual CSS designs - each very different from the other, and yet each one containing the same content such as verbiage and links. There are six main sections the book focuses on - Design, Layout, Imagery, Typography, Special Effects, and Reconsruction.

Every chapter contains real world advice and many snips of code and several full CSS code sections - I was a joy to read and is going to make a great resource - reference book for the future.


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