I have just finished reading Handcrafted CSS by Dan Cederholm and all I can really say is WOW! As a big fan of Mr. Cederholm’s work, I have read, re-read, and enjoyed all of his books and I had high expectations for his latest release.

Of course, my expectations were blown away and once again Mr. Cederholm hasn’t let us down!

First off, if you have read any of my past reviews, you will know that I don’t like to give away the full details of any of the books I have read. I think this ruins it for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet. So with that said here are a few of my thoughts on Handcrafted CSS

Handcrafted CSS Book Cover

One Word: Craftsmanship

The book jumps right into and continues where Dan left off in his previous book Bulletproof Web Design. It has the same type of writing style, where Dan will explain a problem and then give multiple examples of a solution. I really enjoy this approach and it makes the book a joy to read and also gives a bit of insight into how a very talented web designer tackles problems on a daily basis.

Dan does a really awesome job of explaining different scenarios and all the different things that should be taken into account when designing websites while also keeping flexibility in mind. He also refers to being a web craftsman and how it’s the small details that turn a good design into a great design.

Progressive Enrichment

This term refers to things we can do to enrich our designs for users who are using the most up to date versions of a browser. With CSS3 on the horizon, Dan goes into detail on a plethora of techniques that can be used today! Now as a true craftsman, he also shows how to create a backup plan for older browsers which helps to ensure the design still works for users who’s browser may not be the latest available.

A lot of really cool techniques are touched on throughout the book. Some I was already aware of but some were new and provided a great introduction to what’s going to be available in CSS3.

Video Edition

There are a couple of different versions of the book available. I purchased the video edition which comes with a DVD of 10 awesome guidelines. Filmed at Simplebits Studios, Dan goes into detail and shows a wide variety of examples based on these guidelines. The DVD is well worth the few additional bucks in my opinion.

Final Thoughts

Overall I am very impressed and pleased with Handcrafted CSS. My expectations were surpassed and this should have been no surprise! I would highly recommend this book to everyone involved in web design. It will teach you the zen-like ways of constructing sites like Mr. Cederholm. (I mean just view source on any of the guy’s work… it is zen-like!!)

Oh no, I almost left out one thing that I really wanted to mention…

Chapter 6

The book also contains a chapter by the equally talented Ethan Marcotte (Chapter 6.). I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but I read this chapter multiple times as to get my head around the entire process. Ethan goes into detail on using fluid grid layouts and I was totally impressed. His process blew my mind and this was one a hell of an addition to the book.

So if you are searching for a great CSS book to read, head over and grab a copy of Handcrafted CSS – you won’t be disappointed!


  1. Thanks for the kind words, Phillip! Really glad you enjoyed the book, and it didn’t let you down :)

    Really appreciate the post — keep rocking.

  2. Phillip says:

    Hiya Dan!!

    Wow, thanks for stopping by and again, awesome work on the new book! It really was a great read and I learned a lot!

  3. Mark says:

    Many thanks for reviewing this book.

    I was considering buying this book but you’ve tipped the scales for me, I’m off to Amazon to make my purchase!

    I think I’ll pay the extra £4 as well and go for the DVD edition.

    Thanks again.

  4. Phillip says:

    Hi Mark,

    I would highly recommend the DVD version and I’m glad you found my review helpful.

  5. Phillip says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Thanks for the comment and glad you enjoyed the review. I have already found myself going back to it time and time again.


  6. Ryan says:

    Great review mate. I am even more inclined to purchase this now after reading this review.Really need to home in on my CSS skills.

    Thanks man.

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