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Lesson 2 – Introduction to Customizing Thesis Using CSS

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In this Thesis theme video tutorial lesson we will learn the basic principles of customizing the appearance of your Thesis theme website using CSS.  Fortunately the Thesis theme is designed to be very easily customized using CSS and if you don’t know a thing about CSS it provides a very gentle introduction.  You can make a huge impact on the appearance of your site with only very basic knowledge of CSS.  Advanced CSS concepts are almost never needed.

We will start off by introducing Cascading Style Sheets; what they are, how they work and why we use them.  Next we look at the various style sheets that the Thesis theme uses and discuss their purpose and composition in a Thesis site.  Finally we spend the majority of this lesson discussing best practices with practical examples showing you how to customize your site.

Introduction to CSS

  • What are Cascading Style Sheets?
  • Why do We Use Cascading Style Sheets?
  • Basic CSS Syntax
  • What is the “Cascade” in CSS?

Understanding the Thesis Theme Style Sheets

  • style.css
  • layout.css
  • custom.css

Thesis Theme CSS Best Practices – #1 Use Design Options

  • Why bother with Thesis Design Options when we have CSS?
  • Example – Site Wide Font Size
  • Example – Typical Column Widths

#2 Write the Minimum Amount of Code Necessary

  • An extreme example of what not to do when customizing
  • A not so extreme example of what not to do when customizing
  • Example – Styling the Site Headline
  • Example – Styling the Site Tagline
  • Comment that code!

#3 Use the .custom Class

  • Thesis theme gives priority to the .custom class
  • What happens when you don’t use it?
  • When not to use it.

#4 Use Descriptive and Unique Names for Styles You Create

  • What is a descriptive name?
  • What is a unique name?

#5 Never Use display:none;

  • It violates Google’s rules
  • It isn’t ever necessary
  • Where I’ve Seen Thesis Users Try to Use it

#6 Always Work on a Local Copy of Your File

  • It is much less prone to error
  • It is easier to recover from disaster
  • It is easier to troubleshoot

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