Ok, I've attached the graphic in question.
The menus don't need to have sprite backgrounds; a simple color that matches the theme is fine.
However, I don't see how I could do this without images. The font needs to be exact; this is a book publisher and they have lots of fonts they are accustomed to using. They are very professional and would like their site to look the same on every PC -- rather than having the menu text line up differently/cause problems because this or that PC doesn't have a given font.
They want those "New" badges over certain items. I don't see how that would fit into a typical HTML-generated menu.
I guess I've never pushed CSS to its limits; in fact, I've been using CSS for all too short of a time. I'm a very experienced programmer, but new to CSS. It's a long story. Anyhow, that's why I'm seeking advice here. Is CSS capable of just about everything regular HTML can do?
For example, I know CSS can do some background-repeats and whatnot and use textures for things like backgrounds, menu items, etc. but what about a different graphic for each menu item? I suppose it could be done with a different class for each item? I guess I was hoping to find something in that direction on the 'Net, but I haven't found anything close. I just seems a bit daunting to program something so complicated in CSS, since I've never done so.
I just don't understand fully what the limitations of CSS are. I know you can "onmouseover" a given graphic, which could trigger a CSS class...