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The ZEN of CSS Design: Visual Enlightenment for the Web (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 17 Feb 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (17 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780321303479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321303479
  • ASIN: 0321303474
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 383,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

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).

About the Author

Dave Shea is the creator and cultivator of the highly influential CSS Zen Garden Web site (www.csszengarden.com). As well as being a member of the Web Standards Project, Dave is the owner and director of Bright Creative, and he writes about all things Web for his daily weblog, mezzoblue.com. With over 6 years of experience working on the Web, Dave is a leader of the new generation of Web designers that believe in responsible Web design.

An author, instructor, and Web designer, Molly E. Holzschlag has written over 27 books related to Web design and development. She's been coined "one of the greatest digerati" and deemed one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women on the Web. There is little doubt that in the world of Web design and development, Molly is one of the most fun and vibrant Web characters around. As a steering committee member for the Web Standards Project (WaSP), Molly works along with a group of other dedicated Web developers and designers to promote W3C recommendations. For more about Molly, check out www.molly.com.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By G. Hill on 28 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
Having bought this book about 2 weeks ago, I felt I had to come and review it. I very rarely actually do this!
I only tend to create websites in my spare time at the moment, but am looking to do a bit of freelance work in my spare time. Unfortunately, until now, my creative skills have been a bit limited! I wasn't bothered about things such as accessibility, and most of my websites were built with tables as they were more convenient and consistent across browsers.
But recently, I've been getting into the whole "web standards" thing, so I needed some inspiration. I found the CSS Zen Garden website and from that, decided to try out the book.
First thing to point out (as many have already done) is that this book won't teach you CSS in any detail. It already assumes you know the basics. This book is focussed on the actual design process - coming up with creative new ways to style web pages, and some of the many "tricks of the trade" that web designers have used in creating style sheets for the Zen Garden website.
The designs selected for the book are all outstanding, and for each one, a different topic is covered - layouts, transparent imagery, Fahrner Image Replacement (FIR), the Box Model hack for browser consistency, etc... It contains a huge amount of technical information on designing excellent looking websites using CSS.
In the margins of the book, it also gives handy notes and URLs for websites to look for further information.
For website creators like me who have been focussed on the more technical aspects (such as writing PHP/ASP scripts) rather than making good-looking, easy to use, accessible sites that conform to web standards, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "stewartbw" on 21 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
The book started out as the website CSS Zen Garden ([...] has become a popular Internet Site. The CSS Zen Garden shows has CSS can be used to transform a single webpage to look completely different by just changing the CSS, the html stays exactly the same.
The book is different to most CSS books in that it looks at the overall design and sees how they can be implemented in CSS. This has it's advantages and disadvantages. The good thing is that the book goes much further into the design aspect than most other books, and is useful if you want to learn how to "design" rather than just create a website. On the negative side the book is not very good to use as a reference.
The book does not go into too much detail on some of the aspects, and often gives a web url to go for more information. This allows the authors to keep to the core content (the design aspect), but does mean that you often have to go and look elsewhere to get the full details. This does detract from some of the usefulness of having a hardcopy of the book, as you have to spend time in front of the computer looking up the urls.
Most webmasters would benefit from reading this book, but I'd also recommend getting a reference guide to refer to once you've started implementing websites using CSS.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "st0ney" on 12 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
This book complements the already successful Zen Garden web site. It takes examples submitted to the site and then picks them apart, giving the reader an understanding of how the designers achieved their results.
Each example serves to highlight different areas of web/graphic design; layout, typography, use of images etc, whilst providing a unique way to utilise CSS.
There are no examples to work through as such, but you can d/l the CSS for each submission from the Zen Garden site. You can then build the CSS up from scratch, which will show you how each property effects the final result.
To summarise, this is a very useful book that not only serves to show off the amazing potential of CSS, but is a valuable resource for web/graphic design theory. I would definitely recommend it!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By B. Eaton on 10 April 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not a CSS tutorial, rather a sales pitch and guide for 'correct' use of the technology. It uses the csszengarden.com website as a case study for explaining how to make innovative use of CSS by explaining the structure, then the thinking behind the various designs submitted to the site. So it's actually more of a guide to design - but one that I would recommend that web developers read.
I say this as a (sometime) ASP/ASP.NET/PHP developer, who up until this point, "doesn't do design". I saw it as an inconvenience in the creation of otherwise technically brilliant (modesty eh!) web applications. Yet the whole css zen garden concept could actually make the life of web developers a lot easier.
Developers could eschew design altogether while creating web pages/forms that offer true flexibility for real designers. But the beauty of this book is that it actually gives hints, tips, and pointers, that in the absence of a designer in teams of programmers, could help make web developers into half decent designers.
This is more of an interest book that will hopefully change the attitude of the new breed of unwilling web designers that the .NET framework has created. It may also help designers that aren't currently working with new media to bring their talents to the web in a way that doesn't involve using Macromedia Flash.
It's not perfect but it will open your eyes.
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