What Every Creative Professional Needs to Know About CSS Layouts

CSS layout

Early versions of HTML didn’t provide much help for web designers who wanted to create sharp-looking sites. Few methods for specifying styling were available. When it became clear that web designers needed better ways of making sites look good, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) answered the call.

What is CSS?

CSS is a technology used to create standard definitions for the appearance of a web page. CSS can be loaded from separate style sheet files that can be used in many pages on a site, defined within a web page or used directly on HTML elements. JavaScript can also be used to control the CSS on a page. CSS has powerful styling capabilities that give you a great degree of creative freedom.

When you make a CSS layout, you are giving each page of your website a single place to get styling information. As a result, changing just a few lines in a file can alter the look of your entire site. This powerful tool is invaluable for keeping your site design consistent from page to page as well as for enabling quick design improvements.

Why learn CSS layouts?

As the Web continues to grow in importance, more and more creative professionals need some level of web development and design capabilities. While a creative professional will likely not be called upon to replace a web designer or web developer, having basic knowledge in these areas can improve your marketability. Even people whose jobs are not traditionally associated with visual design, such as  magazine editors, can now benefit from having basic HTML and CSS skills, as their work increasingly involves the Web.

Web designers are in demand. Learning CSS may be the first step on a new career path. And why not take that step? The Creative Group’s 2015 Salary Guide lists starting compensation for web designers at $54,000 to $112,500 a year.

Where to learn CSS

The Internet offers a number of good places to get started with CSS layouts. Two popular options are:

If you are looking for more in-depth information, Eric A. Meyer is one of the best-known CSS experts out there and has written an outstanding series of books. His publications are consistently well written and easy to understand, and range from the convenient CSS Pocket Reference to a variety of books on specific CSS topics.


If you decide to explore CSS, it’s best to upgrade your software. For folks who prefer a pure text editor experience, some great choices are Sublime Text (Windows, Mac and Linux), Notepad++ (Windows), NoteTab (Windows) and TextMate (Mac). Each of these editors provides a bevy of features that are useful to anyone working on a web page and are not overly difficult to use. If you want an editor that offers more of a WYSIWYG experience, Dreamweaver is a good option.

Learning CSS can be fun and stretch your creative muscles. Adding this skill to your resume can also help your career, and you may even discover a talent for web design that leads you in a new direction. Why not give it a shot and see where learning CSS can take you?

What resources have you found most useful for learning CSS layouts? Share your experience in the comments.


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Tags: Technology