In Advertising, Design, Web Design

Cascading Style Sheets. Nope, they aren’t spring-scented laundry implements for removing static cling from your wardrobe. Regularly referred to as CSS, it’s a long-established, behind-the-screen language used to code the look and formatting of web pages. Most recently, CSS3 has been boosting the power and flexibility of our websites, eye-catchingly visible in various browsers, more than ever before.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve admired and played around with the results—those aforementioned funky shapes and animations it generates—but never got too far in examining the voodoo behind it. It all seems so complicated, especially for someone whose job description does not include the acronyms “HTML,” “XHTML” or even plain old “XML.”

As the Dana Interactive department evolves over the years, our developers constantly hone their skills and learn new tricks, all rooted in CSS3. They find themselves getting pretty funky with it, always looking for fresh approaches to how we showcase our clients online. This type of work is not for the detail phobic or the faint of technology. Each case is unique, and it’s crucial to create good designs that employ correct techniques. Still, CSS3 really smoothes the process for them, in the form of what appears to be hieroglyphics to us.

Here we’re going to give you a glimpse between our sheets to show you some of the popular things CSS3 can do. One peek, and you’ll never take the simplest element on a web page for granted again. We know we’re in the dog days of summer, so don’t worry, we’ll keep it easy breezy.

Border Radius
Who knew that programming rounded corners used to be so difficult? Whether you prefer your corners equal or asymmetrical, today, with a few keystrokes, groovy shapes are at our developers’ command.

Box Shadows
Think outside the box. Add a little dimension to boxes without using images. Incorporate more, and you’ll up the ante on designer cyber-flair.

Multiple Background Images
Set the stage for a visually creative online experience by placing interesting, relevant images on your page. No muss, no fuss.

Text Shadows
Be textually active. Colorful opportunities abound, thanks to CSS3. But keep it clean. Don’t go throwing every effect you find into the mix, just because you can.

Custom Web Fonts
Stray from the pre-packaged fonts on your own and your visitors’ computers. CSS3 makes it possible to upload all sorts of fancy fonts and ensure they’re readable.

Fun with graphics. Unleash your inner artist with CSS-based gradients. The web page becomes the canvas and lines of code your paint.

See CSS3 in Action
I dug up a clever online CSS3 tool, and I can’t stop playing around with it. The CSS3 Generator gives you the chance to pretend you’re a web-design guru. Pick your favorite features. Plug in some values. Watch your code unfold, and see what you’ve concocted with the instant onscreen demo. But be forewarned. While only an expert can pull it off with flawless functionality, CSS3 sure is addictively amusing for us amateurs.

My advice—leave it to the pros.
Reach out to Lynn Kaniper at He’ll decipher this puzzling programming language and help you produce some funky code of your own.

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