CSS Design Book

I’m pretty good at HTML & decent in php. I’m good at creating the technical side of a website but when it comes to styling it I tend to fall behind. :frowning: I know how css works and I know it’s syntax. But I don’t really know how to create a site from scratch (headers, nav bars, rounded corners etc).

What book or series of tutorials would you recommend for me? Something that preferably skips the introduction to css or at least has a strong focus on the design side.

If you know the basics, then I recommend just frequenting forums to learn :). It really is the best way IMHO.

Not to plug only this site, but have you looked at any of the sitepoint books, I already own most of them and they have helped me out a lot over the years. I believe there are a couple that concentrate on the design aspect rather the how-to side of css.

I learned the basics of layout-stuff with a SitePoint book (HTML Utopia), then further learned on forums as Ryan said and also by actually trying to do sites at my company where someone else had already set the design.

I still can’t actually design my way out of a paper bag myself, but I now feel confident taking someone’s PSD or whatever and making the content of a site look like it.
Specifically things like rounded corners and sliding doors and sprites and things, there are a lot of articles about those sorts of things at AListApart.

Oh, so many to choose from! :slight_smile:

Here are some titles I’ve read and recommend:

  • Bulletproof Web Design - Dan Cederholm
  • Handcrafted CSS - Dan Cederholm
  • Transcending CSS - Andy Clarke
  • Web Standards Solutions - Dan Cederholm
  • Designing with Web Standards - Jeffrey Zeldman
  • Eric Meyer on CSS, More Eric Meyer on CSS - Eric Meyer
  • The Zen of CSS Design - Dave Shea

kohoutek has it bang on the money! However if you want specifically design centric books (rather than the more code orientated titles) I would narrow down her recommendations to “The Zen of CSS Design”, “Eric Meyer on CSS & More Eric Meyer on CSS” and “Transcending CSS” (as their more focused explicitly on design elements) Zen get’s my 5 star vote in that respect. SitePoint has a couple of useful books called “Sexy Web Design” and “The Principles of Beautiful Web Design”. :slight_smile:

The zen book I have and liked it very much, mostly though as explaining the tricks the authors did to do specific things (each chunk of book focuses on some particular topic like horizontal, typography, image-tile-matching, border-around-whole-page, styling-for-IE6 : ) I found it both useful code-wise and nice to see design-wise.


Some time ago I wrote a tutorial for someone else on converting a PSD into css/html which you might find useful as it goes into intricate detail.

The books mentioned above are good and you should always have a few to hand but what works best is loads of practice and just simply trying things out to get a grasp on how things work. Whenever something doesn’t work or you need a helping hand then you can post in the forums and get a quick answer and a push in the right direction:)