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Goodbye, CSS Galleries

What ever happened to CSS galleries?

I always thought the term “CSS galleries” was a bit of a misnomer. I have no idea who came up with that phrase, but it really makes little sense. Those galleries were not just showing off “CSS”, as the name implies. But I guess because of the CSS boom that was happening around 6-7 years ago, the name seemed to fit and nobody had a problem with it.

Also, I don’t think it’s likely that all the websites that were submitted to such galleries had beautiful CSS. I’m sure many of them were as bloated and hacky as the worst of them. And I’m sure the JavaScript on those sites was mostly awful (in the head, lots of HTTP requests — kind of like WordPress, but without WordPress).

But I have to admit, on numerous occasions in the distant past, I’ve Googled CSS galleries to get inspiration or even screenshot-worthy content for the odd roundup article that I would write (I didn’t do many of them). Many of the sites featured on such galleries were very nicely designed. They often featured strong typography and abundant use of images, so they were great for certain articles.

It’s good that the industry seems to have moved on from the relatively brief gallery craze. While other websites can serve as inspiration from time to time, a design should never be based solely on something you saw in a gallery. I’ve done that sort of thing before, and it rarely translates into an effective design.

Evidently these kinds of websites still exist. I didn’t bother to check to see if many of them are still maintained, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t as highly trafficked as they were about 4 or 5 years ago.

We’ve moved on, and that’s good. Let’s keep putting content first and design second and we’ll be fine in the long haul.

And if you don’t remember CSS galleries? I envy you.

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve used them quite a bit, especially this year – but, like you said, only for gaining some inspiration here and there. The trend that I did notice is that a lot of design companies, and even smaller scale websites still appreciate being ‘featured’ on these websites, and thus encourage their survival.

    There are a few nice ones out there, keeping it legit and beautiful at the same time.

    Good post, thanks.

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