If you can code it, you can design it.
When you first boot up Cascade, it’s going to be intoxicating. You’ll have all these design aesthetics at your fingertips, accessible with just a few keystrokes.
Want to try new fonts? Copy a new value from the documentation and paste it into cascade-variables.less. Save. CodeKit refreshes your browser tab and the fonts have changed. New logo? Colors? Graphics? Same process.
You can explore a vast number of design iterations in just a couple of minutes. And they all work. There’s no bad combination.
All of the sudden, creating a design isn’t about understanding complex theory or knowing Photoshop. It’s about making decisions to match your business goals.
Cascade requires Bootstrap 3 for compiling CSS, as it depends upon mixins for certain layout modules. While this does reduce your flexibility somewhat, you gain a lot of power.
The most obvious case is Bootstrap 3′s new grid. It is substantially more powerful. Cascade takes advantage of this in exciting ways.
Responsive Layout Modules
I think Bootstrap 3′s most useful feature is that it’s now responsive by default. Cascade is following this precedent. All of Cascade’s layout modules are responsive by default. As you resize the browser window, the elements rearrange for different device sizes.
Obviously, this responsiveness can have a considerable impact upon how useful Cascade’s layout modules are. To make sure you aren’t locked into, for example, using an H2 when you don’t need one, the modules use classes or specify alternate elements that should be repositioned for responsiveness. This way, you’ll still be able to fill in the content you actually have, rather than trying to make it fit the exact markup provided.
As of this writing, I have 9 font pairings built into Cascade. Each one changes the presentation and character of the content substantially. This provides a lot of flexibility; you can design a site that has exactly the feel you want to create.
You don’t have to browse through thousands of type specimens, or try to figure out which serif fonts are good and which are bad. That work is done. You just pick the font pairing that gives the right feel.
Each font pairing includes specific rules about font-size, line-height, etc. to ensure the typographic rhythm remains intact. These rules change for responsiveness, too. I’ve painstakingly tuned each pairing to make sure it performs well in every layout module.
So there’s no fussing with type. You make one choice, and you’re done.
Logos & Logo Styles
Cascade offers 11 logo options, each with a few simple ways to customize. Beyond that, you can also add Logo Effects.
The logo options include block lettering, a friendly-looking sans serif, and even a techy-looking option fondly named ‘two-point-oh.’ Each has options for (optionally) styling the second word or phrase in your logo differently.
Here, the logo with two words has a different treatment than the one-word logo, by just using a <span> around the second word.
Logo Effects include the options to add an icon before the logo, and other fancy stuff like shadows. (This part is still in development.)
With all these options combined, you can design a unique, memorable, professional logo for your brand. It’s more than enough to launch a business.
What do you think?
I’d be immensely grateful if you’d drop me an email or leave a comment with your thoughts. Thanks!