O'Reilly

Unicode CSS Classes

By on  

CSS class name structure and consistency is really important; some developers camelcase classnames, others use dashes, and others use underscores.  One thing I've learned when toying around by HTML and CSS class names is that you can actually use unicode symbols and icons as classnames.  Check this out!

The HTML and CSS

There's only one way to add a classname with HTML so you'll do it that way, of course:

<!-- place this within the document head -->
<meta charset="UTF-8" />

<!-- error message -->
<div class="ಠ_ಠ">You do not have access to this page.</div>

<!-- success message -->
<div class="❤">Your changes have been saved successfully!</div>

...and there's only one way to declare styles for a given class:

.ಠ_ಠ {
	border: 1px solid #f00;
	background: pink;
}

.❤ {
	background: lightgreen;
	border: 1px solid green;
}

Wild that you can use unicode classnames for elements, right?  Of course I don't recommend doing so, but you can if you'd like to!

Track.js Error Reporting

Upcoming Events

Recent Features

  • An Interview with Eric Meyer

    Your early CSS books were instrumental in pushing my love for front end technologies. What was it about CSS that you fell in love with and drove you to write about it? At first blush, it was the simplicity of it as compared to the table-and-spacer...

  • Page Visibility API

    One event that's always been lacking within the document is a signal for when the user is looking at a given tab, or another tab. When does the user switch off our site to look at something else? When do they come back?

Incredible Demos

  • QuickBoxes for Dojo

    Adding to my mental portfolio is important to me. First came MooTools, then jQuery, and now Dojo. I speak often with Peter Higgins of Dojo fame and decided it was time to step into his world. I chose a simple but useful plugin...

  • Create a Simple Dojo Accordion

    Let's be honest:  even though we all giggle about how cheap of a thrill JavaScript accordions have become on the web, they remain an effective, useful widget.  Lots of content, small amount of space.  Dojo's Dijit library provides an incredibly simply method by which you can...

Discussion

  1. David, this is awesome :). Could you please highlight the cons of using this and why you wouldn’t recommend it?

    • I think the main issue would be that they would be more difficult to maintain due to not everyone knowing the shortcuts to type ❤ for example. Plus support may be patchy in earlier browsers.

  2. Simon

    To my big suprise while heart-shaped-symbol class is styled properly (and displayed properly as heart-shaped-symbol in the console), heart-shaped-symbol is not rendered properly in div content on Chrome 26, encoding utf-8.

    It’s especially weird when I’m looking at this page, as I see as heart-shaped-symbol, and class definition .❤ is rendered as empty square.

    Any idea what this is happening?

  3. MaxArt

    Actually I knew about this possibility when I had to deal with a   in a class name (yes, the empty space). This is totally awesome but, unfortunately, not professional looking at all :)

    I may change my mind on the last part, though…

  4. Mathias Bynens has written about this some time ago, check it out: http://mathiasbynens.be/notes/html5-id-class He also wrote about how to escape these characters in CSS: http://mathiasbynens.be/notes/css-escapes

  5. Steve

    FYI your HTML comments in the samples are malformed. “!” is missing.

  6. I’ve done a lot of testing of Unicode support across browsers, and there’s a massive amount of variation.
    The results are all available at unicode.johnholtripley.co.uk

  7. Aniket

    How to type these unicode characters?

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!