The Course

CSS For Designers is here to help you better understand the code you write. If you find writing CSS is a headscratching experience, this course is for you.

CSS is an increasingly powerful language with new features being added on a regular basis. Many of these developments help to solve longstanding CSS problems, including:

  • Making centering easier
  • Allowing fixed-height images to be responsive
  • Setting variables in CSS
  • Styling text underlines

On top of this, the wider understanding of existing CSS has improved a great deal, too. This has led to the publication of techniques that make it easier than ever to create consistency in the CSS we write.

Who this course is for

CSS For Designers is for anyone who uses CSS and wants to upgrade their knowledge of how it works. In particular, this course is aimed at self-taught designers and developers who feel there are some fundamentals they don’t fully understand.

One of the glorious features of the internet is view-source which has founded the careers of many designers and developers. Whilst I loved learning about the web through this tool, there were many core CSS concepts I didn’t learn until many years down the line.

Much frustration could have been avoided if I’d had a better understanding of flow, the different types of block elements and lots of other things.

This course is also for designers using frameworks or templates to get their developments off the ground. When you’re overriding other developer’s code, it’s important to understand what’s already been written so you can make changes with as little additional code as possible.

This isn’t always easy, but the better you understand the power of CSS, the easier it becomes. This is especially true if you’re not able to change the underlying HTML.

What you’ll learn

The full syllabus will be announced with the early bird access, but here are some things the course will definitely cover:

  • How the cascade works, inheritance and specificity
  • The Box Model
  • What flow is and why that matters
  • The different types of blocks
  • Types of units
  • Basic and more advanced selectors
  • CSS tips for achieving consistency in your designs
  • Common CSS gotchas

The course will touch on Flexbox and CSS Grid where appropriate, but it won’t be an in-depth guide to layout as that’s such a massive topic it really requires a course of its own.

To learn about these in more detail, check out some of the websites in the resources section.

Waiting list + free download

If this sounds good, sign up to the Waiting List where you’ll be the first to hear when early access is announced.

You’ll also receive a free PDF with 13 ways to troubleshoot your CSS.

Sign me up

Assumed knowledge

This course assumes you understand, or have written, some basic HTML and CSS before.

Familiarity with CodePen is a plus, so you can fork the examples and play around with them.

My background

I’m Dave Smyth and I’m a web designer based in London.

I started learning how to code websites in 1999. In those days, all styling information was included in the HTML documents (hello style="font-size: 24px;"), everything was based on tables and DHTML was a thing.

I trained as a musician and didn’t focus on the web for a few years. When I returned everything had changed.

Like many people, I was self-taught and pieced together my knowledge based on books, view-source, and online guides. This worked for the most part, but I’d regularly be searching for answers about unexpected behaviour.

A few years ago, I was asked to teach a beginner’s HTML/CSS course and suddenly it wasn’t enough simply to know that something will work: I needed to be able to explain how and why in lots of different ways.

Teaching the course also showed me how CSS can be misinterpreted and what the common stumbling blocks are. Outside of the course, I’m regularly asked similar CSS questions and this course is here to help.