Web design trends change at the speed of thought. New programming languages emerge each and every year. This will only continue as the Internet continues to grow at a lightning-quick rate, growing to surpass 4 billion users at the end of 2017.
Regardless of the shifting tides of tech trends, CSS is still wildly useful for web designers and programmers. 95.7% of websites still use some form of CSS while 89.4% rely on external CSS for their web design.
To help you learn to make the most of your cascading style sheets, here are 11 CSS tricks to make your web design pop and sizzle!
11 Useful CSS Tricks For Your Web Design
CSS has been around since 1994. It was invented to help tame the Wild West of the early Internet into something more cohesive. The jungle wilderness of anything-goes HTML programming was eventually tamed into a pleasure garden, thanks to CSS.
Unfortunately, CSS may have been a little too effective in its goals. Almost every website is built using style sheets, often with very little creativity. This means they look and behave almost identically to one another.
That’s not what you want to strive for when building your digital presence.
Continue reading to learn how these CSS tricks can remove busy work from your life, while making your digital assets more beautiful and efficient in the meantime.
1. Try CSS Blend Mode
Multicolor graphics have been trending in web design in the last few years after making a big splash on sites like Spotify. Now you can finally stop making multiple versions of your graphics in multiple colors thanks to the CSS blend mode.
CSS blend mode adjusts your digital assets’ coloration entirely in-browser. Not only does this avoid repetitive tasks, it also enhances a cohesive brand identity across all of your digital domains.
There are a total of 15 different commands to alter the color of your web design elements. These include lighten, darken, screen, and overlay. These commands may be combined in a variety of innovative and creative ways.
There is also a ‘mix-blend-mode’ function which lets you combine a graphic with its parent. This is an easy way to create attractive 3D style visual effects.
File compression might not sound as exciting as more trending topics like Ruby on Rails or PhP. The increase in web traffic and user experience will be a cause for celebration, however. Page load time is increasingly important to your search engine ranking.
3. Vertical Alignment
Manually aligning elements on your webpage is kind of a nightmare. Not only is it a pain, there’s also no telling if it will actually work.
Luckily, the ‘align-vertical’ function aligns visual elements on your site with pre-set markers. It’s a cool CSS trick that’s easy to implement that pay offs major dividends in making your site look its best!
4. Stay Centered
Much like margins, using HTML to center text or graphics can be a royal pain. It’s also counterproductive, as there’s no guarantee your manually formatted web elements will be optimized for mobile or multiple devices.
One of CSS’ greatest strengths is its ability to present visual elements in an elegant, creative way. We’ve all seen the same custom HTML layouts over and over. CSS is a simple, striking way to present your visual media in a new and creative way.
Clipping defines the boundaries of a visual element. You’re not limited to linear shapes, either. Think of the circle frames commonly used for profiles as an example of how clipping can be used creatively.
The boundary of the shape is known as the ‘clip path.’ You’re not limited to circles, either. You can use shape functions to create custom clip paths, to display your visuals however you want.
To truly get creative, you can animate your shapes to create evolving frames.
6. Use Shorthand
This CSS trick doesn’t sound that exciting, but it’s absolutely necessary for writing good, clean code. It’s also a good practice to stay in if there’s multiple people working on your site’s code.
Not only is using CSS shorthand useful for organization’s sake, it’s also an important function of your website’s performance. If a browser has to call each individual function, it could put a lag on your page load time. This will have a negative effect on your SERP ranking.
Remember to include as many CSS style commands as possible into each line of code.
Read more about coding a website over here.
7. Get Outside The Box
With CSS, you aren’t limited to square or rectangular shapes. Even simple derivations from your average box-riddled web design will make website pop and stand out.
Use the CSS functions ‘shape-inside’ and ‘shape-outside’ to present your visual elements in creative and striking ways.
8. Forget < table >, Try < div >
The < table > command, in HTML, is useful but clunky. It locks your elements into individual cells and there’s no guarantee it’ll format well across multiple devices.
The < div > command lets you endlessly customize your every style element of your website, however. You can use < div > to do pretty much anything < table > can do, and much more.
9. Built-In Debugging Tools
Here’s another quick tip that seems simple but is actually incredibly useful. CSS’ built-in debugging tools makes your web design and development much more streamlined and efficient, without having to open a separate editor.
Not only does CSS’ debugging tools save you time and energy, it also gives you real-time feedback on your code. It’ll save you endless headaches, making sure all of your variables are defined and all of your functions have the proper syntax.
CSS’ debugging tools make you the best possible programmer, as quickly as possible.
10. Worship The Glitch
All things old become new again if you just wait long enough. After a few decades of flawless, nearly-sterile web design, we’re starting to hunger for some imperfection in our digital assets. Interesting is better than perfect, at this point.
To take advantage of this trend, use CSS to bend, tweak, and twist your visuals. Play with perspective or use CSS’ built in ‘skew’ function to make your text funkier.
You can read more about funk-ifying your web design from Captain Anonymous’ CodePen.
Collage has been trending, in recent years, for similar reasons to the Glitch aesthetics we just mentioned. Even major corporations like MailChimp are taking advantage of the collage aesthetic to make their software more approachable and homespun.
Collage is also a simple way to show multiple images in one place at one time.
One simple way to achieve a collage effect is to combine your images in a graphics editor like Photoshop and then rasterize the layers.
It’s possible to use CSS’ built-in functions to produce collages, however. These web designs can be made scalable, interactive, and scalable as well. It’s a web designer’s dream come true!
If you’d like to learn more about web design, check out these tips today!
Running your own website is both exciting and intimidating. The opportunities it opens up to you are unparalleled, unimaginable at any other time in history. The additional responsibilities, knowledge, and skill it takes though can make even hardened digital entrepreneurs shut down, however.
If you’re hoping to thrive in digital business, you need to work smart and hard. CSS tricks like the ones we’ve mentioned will make your work more efficient. It’ll also make your audience have a much more enjoyable and consistent experience.
It’s a win-win situation, that’s also quite fun once you get into it!
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