Where are the great CSS books?

So I went to the usual places (B&N, Borders, etc.) this past weekend. As always, I scout for good tech books. One subject I always look for is CSS. As usual, there was little to pick from.

I have the O'Reilly pocket CSS reference (Eric Meyer) as well as Eric Meyer on CSS. Both are good books on CSS, but from a designer perspective, they're not terribly great. (Not to discredit Eric -- his technical merits are nothing to sneeze at, but even Eric has said he's "not a strong visual designer.")

As a designer-wannabe, I want to see some CSS books that show what you can really do with it. I'm talking CSS Zen Garden kind of stuff. Where are these books? Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but I haven't seen them. I can't help but think that designers out there are intrigued by CSS, but once they look at the printed works on the subject, they run away thinking "well, I could do better than that with a couple of table tags." A few CSS books where a good designer and CSS-techie collaborate together would be perfect.

If you see any, let me know.

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4 Comments

Actually, I don't believe a great CSS books exists.

I actually think one would be better off with two or three books: one on typography/graphical design for beginners, one on accessibility, and a book like Eric Meyers - it serves it's purpose because of the techniques, not because of Eric's visual design skills, but because of his CSS skills.

I'm believe that a book that tries to cover both subjects has the potential of actually confusing the readers.

Dave S. said:

Allow me to theorize for a bit here. The visual graphic designers who do the kind of work that make your eyes smile are the same that pick up Flash in a heartbeat to do a job, rather than fool around with CSS. If they are forced to use HTML instead, CSS is just there for typography control and nothing more.

I came from that perspective. Then I realized what CSS can actually do. And I started noticing that I was one of few noticing, at least when compared to other designers.

So there is a hole that needed filling. Hopefully the Zen Garden is the first shovel-full, and once the designers catch on and pitch in a shovel or two themselves the ideas will start flowing, and someone along the way will write a book.

So that was the long answer. The short answer is: cause the people who should be writing it aren't using CSS yet.

No promises on time, but my next Zen Garden design will include a case study on how I went from Photoshop to CSS. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said:

I believe the CSS situation is roughly similar to the the time just after desk top publishing was introduced - all sorts of people used Page Maker because they could - and reams of dodgey layouts polluted the printing world.

Maybe it is time to fully recognise that web design and implemention are different skill sets,
and maybe we could then get CSS books, (and XML books) that talk to each discipline.

Anonymous said:

I was recently looking for exactly the same book. There needs to be a CSS book that is really a brainstorming book accompanied by a separate area for actual code. Perhaps two books for easy comparison of look and code?

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