Main Finding

Students learn to apply a set of precise values to a handful of CSS properties according to the rules of objective typography.

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Page Details


  • Where to start teaching CSS?
  • What values and units to use?
  • When is a stylesheet “finished”?

Method and Approach

  • Introduce the rules of objective typography, applied to a handful of basic typographic properties
  • Determine two baseline values: a font-size and a typographic grid via a line-height value that is repeated throughout the stylesheet
  • Establish a modular scale for making predictable adjustments to the font-size, which often requires setting multiples or fractions of the base line-height
  • Convert absolute, pixel values to accessible em values as the stylesheet nears completion


  • Students need constant reminders and review about working from mobile-scale viewports first
  • Students should be reminded that pixel values are placeholders
  • Students benefit from multiple demonstrations that reinforce the relationship and difference between font-size and line-height


  1. Anecdotally, students are better prepared to implement more advanced CSS
  2. Formal research and assessment is needed to determine the approach’s efficacy