This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

CSS, and understanding Style Sheets

CSS stands for "Cascading Style Sheets". You can ignore the "Cascading", but if you are a Graphic Designer, it is critical that you understand the idea of a style sheet.

Style sheets are as old as desktop publishing. I first used them in "Pagemaker" back in the early nineties. They were, and still are, a real "power tool" for page layout. And, to me, it represents the best relationship between a computer and a creative person. Please let me explain.

A style sheet is just a bunch of instructions that the computer gets about how you, the creative person, want the pages of your document to look. Take a look at any brochure, magazine, or web page. It starts with what font to use, what color, what size. Flip through a magazine or go through the pages of a web site, you will see that there will be consistency and repetition. A computer can remember what size the fonts should be for the headlines, and what color, and on and on. Multiply that by many pages in a brochure, a magazine, or a website and you can see how difficult it would be for a mere human (especially a creative one) to remember all of that. If you are not using style sheets, you are doing the work of the computer.

To use a style sheet, you have to know what can be controlled by styles. On a typical page layout program, like InDesign, it's mostly the font size, or color, that sort of thing. On a web page, it goes much further, you can create styles for page elements, too. Yes, you can still use plain old HTML for most things that you need, but you could also stand on a street corner and just shout at me instead of calling me on a telephone. I prefer the new technology, myself.

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