CSS Resets and why I love them

I’ve been a bit out of the loop due to the awesome weather we’ve been having in toronto as of late. I’ve just read through Jonathan Snook’s article about CSS resets and how he doesn’t use them and while I can totally understand his position and how he is okay with browser variances and typographic quirks. The clients I normally work with are not so understanding. They expect photoshop -> html to be identical. Whether they come from a print background or are used to table hell, they expect everyone to see the same thing. It seems that a small part of them dies when they find out that end-users can destroy their layout with a simple CMD + / CTRL +.

Reset to the rescue

So with nitpicky clients what’s a designer to do. Reboot! or reset that is. I’m a big fan of Eric Meyer’s CSS Reset . However, I feel that Mr. Meyer has been a bit too thorough in his reset, and am an even larger fan of editing the reset. From the master himself:

In other words, this is a starting point, not a self-contained black box of no-touchiness. Eric Meyer

Normally, I start with the usual suspects, adding bold back into the headings/strong, italics back into the em element. I find once this is done, I add a few default font sizes, and I’m reset. Once I’ve gotten this limited reset done I can depend on my styles being applied normally and uniformly, saving me time and hair.

Starting with nothing

Like Jonathon said with a reset you are starting with nothing, however I think that is something to appreciate. When you start with nothing you have control over everything. You can dictate what is padded and what is margined. What type size gets assigned where. Of course you can do that without a reset as well. Sometimes it just ends up being more work, as you first reset the element and then set it to a consistent value. I like to embrace the nothingness of a CSS reset and use it as a blank canvas, not having to worry about how my 1.2em is going to be interpreted.

I thought I would share my Limited CSS reset as well. Its totally public domain, so do with it as you will.


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