Hacking semantically-friendlier Symbolset icons using CSS

I love Symbolset, Oak’s collection of semantic fonts. I knew as I was rebuilding this site that I wanted to create a collection of tags for my blog posts, each associated with an icon. SS Standard was perfect for this, except for one thing: many of the keywords mapped to the icons I wanted to use didn’t always coincide with the tags I wanted to use them for.

If I published a post with photographs in it, I would want to use the tag “photos,” but Standard would map that word to a more general-looking photos, which could be confusing because I plan on posting drawings and other visual content that isn’t photographic (sure enough, that icon is alsp mapped to “image” and “images”). I would prefer to use camera — mapped “camera” — for photo-related posts. Unsurprisingly, I also have several tag words that aren’t mapped at all to Standard’s icons.

I didn’t want to compromise the language I used for tags for the following reasons:

  1. It would feel semantically wrong.
  2. Remembering the right mapping keyword to use every time I wanted to publish a new post is something I don’t trust myself to do.
  3. If I do redesign this site (which is inevitable) and decide to use another semantic font that maps keywords differently, I would likely have to go through each post and modify the tags, which is a huge pain in the ass that I would much rather avoid.

I didn’t want to “hack” the font themselves either — if I were to use them outside of the context of my blog tags (in the body of this post, for example), I would prefer to have the icons be mapped as originally intended.

My solution was to use empty elements with a ss-icon class, and inject another class, the tag slug, using Liquid. Here’s an example using a link to a tag URL:

<a href="{{ tag.url }}" class="ss-icon {{ tag.slug }}"></a>

And then create a separate CSS snippet in my theme where any element with both the ss-icon class and the [slug] class will have the properly mapped keyword injected into the empty element:

A pie chart, because it looks like a pie, which is food! I know, it’s a bit of a stretch.

This way, if I wanted to change the icon associated with any of my tags, I only need to open up and edit this one file. Another nice thing is that it’s a file associated only with the theme being used, and the hacking of Symbolset happens independently of any of the content living in Siteleaf.

A drawback of this is that if Symbolset isn’t supported, the original keyword would appear as text instead of the keyword I used for the tag, and the discrepancy could get confusing. But I suppose that would happen as long as the original keyword is mapped to that icon.

Oven-roasted tomato soup

Why yes, indeed I bought alphabet pasta!

I recently bought a stick blender to welcome soup season. I had bought this alphabet pasta from Whole Foods months ago, and I didn’t have any use for it … until today.

Mmmm, oven roasted goodness

Made my own vegetable stock, too!

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I was especially excited to make this soup, because I had been collecting vegetable scraps from previous cooking sessions and saving them in the freezer. About one month’s worth of diligent cooking and scrap-saving filled a gallon freezer bag, which in turn yielded maybe about two quarts of stock.


So super excited to make more soup! Yeeee.

Harbor Links Golf Course


Just upgraded my phone, plus Ken was in town for Lili’s wedding and I was his +1, so obviously this photo happened.