SMACSS (Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS)

What is SMACSS (Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS)?

SMACSS, which stands for Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS, is a style guide that follows five types of rules for your CSS. These include Base, Layout, Module, State, and Theme. It’s an efficient and flexible method to write CSS that is easy to maintain, scalable, and reduce redundancy in your project.

Understanding the Five Categories of SMACSS

SMACSS is comprised of five different categories, each with a distinct role in the styling of your website. These categories are designed to help developers and designers create a more organized and efficient CSS structure.

Base Rules

Base rules are the defaults. They include defining your HTML elements like body, form, a, button etc. This could also include setting default color, default font, line-height, etc.

Layout Rules

Layout rules divide the page into sections. Layouts hold one or more modules together. They include styling for the major sections like header, footer, main content, sidebar etc.

Module Rules

Modules are the reusable, modular parts of our design. They are the callouts, the sidebar sections, the product lists and so on. Each module should be designed to exist as a standalone component.

State Rules

State rules are ways to describe how our modules or layouts will look when in a particular state. Is it hidden or expanded? Is it active or inactive? They are about describing how a module or layout looks on specific scenarios or in response to certain user interactions.

Theme Rules

Theme rules are similar to state rules in that they describe how modules or layouts might look. The difference is that theme rules are about describing how modules or layouts might look across multiple scenarios or states rather than a specific one.


SMACSS is a beneficial tool for web designers and developers for several reasons:

  • Modularity: By dividing your CSS into different categories, you can easily identify and manage your styles.
  • Scalability: SMACSS is designed to make your CSS scalable, which is particularly useful for large projects.
  • Efficiency: SMACSS reduces redundancy and increases efficiency in your CSS, making your code more readable and manageable.

In conclusion, SMACSS is a robust guide for writing better, more organized, and scalable CSS. It’s a tool that can significantly enhance the way you approach web design and development.

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