Designing Beautiful Shadows in CSS

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My favorite kind of blog post is when someone takes a subject that I’ve spent all of five minutes considering and then says—no!—this is an enormous topic worthy of a dissertation. Look at all the things you can do with this tiny CSS property!

I was reminded of this when I spotted this post by Josh Comeau about designing beautiful shadows in CSS:

In my humble opinion, the best websites and web applications have a tangible “real” quality to them. There are lots of factors involved to achieve this quality, but shadows are a critical ingredient.

When I look around the web, though, it’s clear that most shadows aren’t as rich as they could be. The web is covered in fuzzy grey boxes that don’t really look much like shadows.

Josh shows the regular old boring shadow approaches and then explores all the ways to improve and optimize them into shadows with real depth. It all comes down to taking a closer look color and exploring the box-shadow CSS property. And speaking of depth, Rob O’Leary’s “Getting Deep Into Shadows” is another comprehensive look at shadows.

I had also completely forgotten about filter: drop-shadow; which is particularly useful on adding shadows to images that you want to throw onto a page. Great stuff all round.

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