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A web site is just a web site unless it’s designed with a unique style. Creating a CSS Style Guide: Hands-On Training highlights the importance of a CSS style guide, which serves as an interface for the design team and a communication tool for the client. Laurie Burruss calls on her background as director of digital media at Pasadena City College and takes an informative, real–world approach to this topic. She shows how Dreamweaver CS4 can be used to develop a coherent site–wide emotion that boosts brand identity. The course culminates with building a working web style guide for professional use. Exercise files and a downloadable PDF quiz accompany the course.
Download the exercise files from the Exercise Files tab.
Using the padding and margins correctly really helps to make the page look like a page. When I'm starting to work on a page and try to get the balance between the layout and the styling, I always try to nail the layout before I start doing the styles within the document. My rule of thumb is if you don't know how to start styling a document, work from the outside in. So we have styled the body, we have styled the content div and now we are ready to go in and style the elements that we set up semantically in the HTML document.
The first things that I would like to style will be the headers, h1, h2, h3. This is really easy to do inside of Dreamweaver. Simply place your I-beam in the first header, h1. This is our main header. Return to the CSS panel and select New CSS Rule. When the New CSS dialog box opens we are only interested in creating a style for the h1 tag. So for selector type, choose Tag. Notice that we are just right where we want to be because our I-beam is in that area.
Again, by default Dreamweaver will continue to save our styles and define them inside of our external style sheet. Let's click on the OK button. The dialog box opens up and for this main heading the first thing I want to do is change the color. As I told you before I took my Eyedropper and developed a palette for this style guide. And now I'm going to use those predefined colors throughout this markup that we are doing in the next few lessons. Be sure to type the hash mark. Your color will not display properly without the hash mark.
The color I want to use is C28C3C and just Tab to see that show up in the little color swatch box. To preview this select the Apply button. That looks great. Now that we have applied the color to the main heading, you can see how preselecting and defining your color palette makes your whole page work and how the family of colors does in fact relate to what we have chosen inside the image header.
Now place your I-beam into subheading or h2. So we can style this one. Again, move to the CSS panels. Select the New CSS Rule. In selector type, choose Tag. That isolates it so all we see is the tag and let's leave this at its default. Select OK. Again we want to work in the Type category and choose some different things. For Font-variant, I would like to display the subheader as small-caps.
Select Apply to see how that looks. Good. And I also want to apply another color from my palette. Put your I-beam into the color box, type your hash mark first, 717B7E. Go ahead and Tab. It's a dark gray green. Select the Apply button. Looks good. I also want to go into the Box category because to go along with my idea about information hierarchy I would like the subheading to be slightly indented from the main heading. Select Box, deselect Margin and I'm going to give it a Left margin of 10 pixels. You may ask how do I know whether to use 10 pixels, 20 pixels, I really did spend some time trying different things out. And then using the Apply button kept checking to see how it looked proportionally with what I was doing inside of the dialog box.
So I'm happy with the 10 pixels. I don't want something radical. I just wanted a subtle indentation to alert the user this is of slightly less importance than the main heading. Let's click OK. For the last heading put your I-beam inside of that text. Return to the CSS panels. Click New CSS Rule, choose your selector type Tag, leave the Rule Definition as it is. Select OK. Inside the CSS Rule definition dialog box we will continue to work with our Type category. For the Font-weight I want to choose normal. For the Font-variant I would like it to be small-caps. I'm not going to change the color on this one. We are going to leave it that dark gray.
I am going to choose the Box category. Deselect Same for All under Margin. In the Left margin, I'm going to type 20 pixels. If you don't indicate another type of measurement Dreamweaver will automatically assume that you want pixels. Notice how it just defaults to pixels. Let's click the Apply button and there we go. Let's click OK. Now this is good semantic markup. This is the most important. This draws your eye with the color first. The subheading has a slightly different style to differentiate it but doesn't seem as important as the main heading and the small subset heading that we might use throughout different articles and things, although much smaller reads as less important. So, most important to less important. Now on to some of the body text and the list, let's style those.
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