Book Review - The Zen of CSS Design by Dave Shea and Molly E. Holzschlag
If you've already picked up the basics of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and want to see what is *really* possible, check out The Zen of CSS Design by Dave Shea and Molly E. Holzschlag (New Riders). This is a unique book...
Chapter List: View Source; Design; Layout; Imagery; Typography; Special Effects; Reconstruction; Closing Thoughts; Index
This book covers the topic of CSS in an unusual fashion. Dave Shea came up with the idea for a web site called csszengarden.com. The basic premise is to have a standard HTML file, complete with class and id tags that can not be changed. The goal is to then use a CSS style sheet to apply unique styles and graphics to the page, resulting in some stunning visual displays of web design. But the basic thing to remember is that the page content doesn't change, just the CSS design file that's applied to it.
Shea and Holzschlag take some of the more unique designs that have been submitted and use them to explain various CSS concepts and techniques that can be used to push your design efforts beyond the ordinary. The techniques are very well documented, as well as giving explanations on what will and will not work in the major browsers due to differences in CSS rendering. Since so much of the design is driven by choices in graphics and typeface, you'll also be exposed to quite a bit in the way of design concepts, how to choose and render text, different graphic formats, and so on. While none of the information would be considered a complete reference work on any given subject, you do have enough information to apply the technique and continue on from there if necessary.
In addition to being a book to teach technique, it also does a wonderful job in providing inspiration. If you're looking for ideas to create a site that stands out, a leisurely perusal of the pages (or of the website) will offer up endless ways to reach that goal. "You can do that?" will be a phrase that escapes from your lips on a number of occasions.
Beautiful, instructional, and inspirational... This should probably be the second or third CSS book you buy once you buy a tutorial and/or a reference guide. A recommended read...