This year's hottest fashion item is a CSS style sheet

Heath says:

The latest episode of PBS Digital Studios’ weekly Web series ‘Idea Channel’, from producers Kornhaber Brown, posits that Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in Web design actually share quite a bit in common with high fashion.

The fashion world has long told us that the outfit makes the person. Surprisingly, a similar comparison can be drawn with CSS and websites. Sure, websites, at heart, are just a bunch of coded lines, but a stylesheet on top of all that raw code helps it to become something so much more – fluid, engaging, artistic – and to transcend simple functionality; really, everything that fashion does for creative and image-conscious people.


  1. I hate to be that guy, but CSS Style Sheet? As in Cascading Style Sheet Style Sheet? It causes me pain. As does my profound loneliness.

    1. Well, get your ass to an automated ATM machine and get some cash so you can buy some friends.

    1. Almost anyone who uses CSS on a daily basis already despises it. I was just positing a Project Runway for CSS, with its obligatory IE6 challenge, and my pal the web slinger started pelting me with empty pistachio shells.

      Actually, it was worse than that. She almost spilled her gin drink.

      1. IE6?  Didn’t you get the memo?  The last grandma running IE6 just died last Tuesday.  You’re free and clear now, with only IE7, 8, 9 and 10 to sweat now, unless you are worried about people from a few government agencies surfing the web on lunch hour, or you have web visitors from sub-Saharan Africa.

      2. Hmm. Pretty much everybody I know who uses CSS on a daily basis loves it, including me. It’s Internet Explorer that we hate.

          1. Quoting @squaregirl:twitter :

            “A guy just jumped out of space and we still can’t properly vertically align with CSS.”

          2. II’ll take the bait.  t’s about styling, of which positioning is a part of it.  What I like about it is that it is powerful, very straightforward and an easy language to grasp.  Given a choice of CSS or tables and more HTML, the choice is rather obvious.  I’m a slave to copy and paste when it comes to javascript, but can fend for myself when it comes to CSS. So yes, CSS is pretty easy to like.

  2. This is like a conceptual mashup video. I think he is using the word ‘fashion’ to describe ‘visual design.’ 

    He also makes an unnatural distinction between code and visual design: CSS is code that describes visual design. HTML is code. CSS is code. 

    He seems to be saying visual design is half of design, so it’s pretty important, especially on web sites. I don’t need convincing – unless you use the word fashion to mean visual design.  

    Fashion represents change in visual design. Web design also goes through fashions or trends – which incidentally, are usually the result of technical innovation like higher resolution displays and increased bandwidth – but visual design is not ‘fashion.’

    Although we separate functional design (HTML) from visual design (CSS) as a method of compartmentalising web site construction, we don’t need to give out separate compartmentalised awards. If web design is art, the art is in everything: the code, content, form, function, fashion, usability, accessibility, etc. Beauty is not skin deep.

  3. I think he is using the word ‘fashion’ to describe ‘visual design.’

    I disagree. I think he intends the word “fashion” to mean something different, more akin to “a personal sense of style.”

    In that sense, the expression of a personal sense of style (“fashion”) can be seen on a website through the visual design element, which is written in CSS. Thus CSS is the technical means by which one can express one’s fashion sensibilities online. That’s the point of the video, I think.

    It makes sense. It doesn’t mean that fashion and visual design are the same thing.

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