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I was in your boat about five or six years ago. Programming was fine, CSS was kinda-not-really ok, and design was just non-existent. Over time though, it really is something you can learn.

I started by cloning designs in CSS that I liked. Same way I write programs just to learn. Pick a design and try to reproduce it. (Here's a good simple one that could probably be finished in a single sitting. [1]) Eventually I was able to clone an entire website while only referencing the internet for CSS details, not core concepts. It'll take time just like learning any language, but the theory behind CSS does make sense if you can peel back the layers of features built on top of it. (Like Git, the core model is beautiful - the CLI not so much.) Reading about the "cascade" part of "cascading style sheets" would be a good place to start if you get the basic syntax already. Then study the selector operators. All of them, there aren't that many.

Then read books on design. Info about CSS the language is readily available online. Info about design, not as much. Design for Hackers [2] is targeted at programmers and explains not just the what but also the why certain designs work. The way our brains interpret color and how that causes certain colors to work well together. How people process information and how to leverage that to make designs that "make sense." Visual Grammar [3] is a design reference book I refer to. It's like a SQL reference book - won't teach you the language (of design) but explains the options you have and when they could be useful. Things like "these types of alignments will produce this type of result."

Just remember that it takes time to learn a skill. And design is definitely that - a skill that can be learned.

[1] https://assets.awwwards.com/awards/images/2016/04/uxpin-teas... [2] https://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Be... [3] https://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/visual-grammar-christian-le...

I'll toss another design resource into the mix that I don't think gets mentioned enough: John McWade's "Before & After" magazine and videos. His focus isn't exclusively web but the principles he applies also apply to the Web. He does a fantastic job of training one to develop the eye of a designer. E.g. noticing certain patterns that aren't immediately apparent and then working with those to bring out a certain aesthetic.

I can't recommend him highly enough.


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