8 Fantastic Pure CSS Border Effect Code Snippets


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Borders are often thought of as small details that are used as a finishing touch to an image or container element. They serve as a nicety, but hardly anything to get excited about. But as CSS evolves, they have the potential to become something more.

With more complex coloring and special effects, designers can leverage borders to draw attention to important information. They can also play a role in user engagement and microinteractions.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some examples of borders that are further enhanced with the best that CSS (and maybe a little JavaScript) have to offer.

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SVG Border Magic

SVG images have become one our best secret weapons when it comes to creating razor-sharp effects that work at various screen sizes. In this example, it’s used to add a multicolor animated border that automatically responds to the size and shape of its container. No matter how large or small you resize the element, the border stays true.

See the Pen CSS border (using an SVG) by Louis Hoebregts

Fascinating Transitions

One staple use of CSS transitions has been changing a button’s border from one color to another. It can still grab a user’s attention, but there are some interesting twists we can implement. This collection of unique border transitions adds an element of fun and are a great way to stand out.

See the Pen CSS Border transitions by Giana

Attention Getter

Here’s a solution that offers a smooth animated border. What’s really nice about this set up is that it draws you in, but is far from being cheesy or over-the-top. It would make an outstanding call-to-action button.

See the Pen Animated CSS Gradient Border by Mike Schultz

Adding Function to Forms

Form inputs are another common design element that can benefit from border effects. The slick animations in this Pen make for terrific microinteractions. They leave no doubt in the user’s mind that they’ve successfully clicked into an input. It may be a small thing, but makes the experience that much better. As a bonus, you’ll also find background and label effects as well.

See the Pen Awesome input focus effects by Takuma.I

Bordering on Groovy

Outlined text can be a powerful asset to any design. Even better if you add a compelling effect, such as this liquid-like flow animation. It would make for a super-cool logo or even header text.

See the Pen CSS-only shimmering neon text by Giana

Cool Clippings

The clip path effect is a print design favorite that has come to the web in recent years. It essentially enables design elements to become transparent shapes, thus allowing backgrounds to display through them. In this example, you’ll see it applied to both a container’s border and text. There are any number of possibilities for crafting a unique look with this one.

See the Pen -webkit-background-clip:text CSS effect by Jintos

Elegant Link Hovering

Here’s an example of how a plain old link (or HTML span, in this case) can be dressed up with a border effect. Choose from an impressive list of hover effects, each one adding a stunning animated border. This is an easy way to add a touch of class to text-based navigation.

See the Pen Sass mixin library for text hover by Antonija Šimić

A Hand Drawn Look

In most cases, borders tend to add a very clean and professional look. But what if you want something a little more hand-crafted? This collection uses CSS border-radius to add just a touch of curve, which gives the buttons a rustic feel.

See the Pen Imperfect Buttons by Tiffany Rayside

Bordering on Success

When it comes to styling borders, the examples above prove that designers no longer have to settle for the basics. Now, a border can not only add a splash of color, but also movement as well. And these effects can be added as an element renders on the screen or as users interact with them.

Either way, border effects can add a unique, yet subtle charm to any website.

Want to see even more interesting possibilities? Check out our CodePen Collection.


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