13 Excellent Tools and Systems for CSS Grid Based Layouts

By / Apr 30, 2010 / Tools

A good grid can be a strong foundation for any design. Using grids got its start in print design, but has made it’s way over to the web. There are several advantages to using grids in web design, but primarily they help achieve structure and consistency in layouts. If you have yet to start using grids in your web design projects, but want to get started…we’re here to help. In this post, we’ve rounded up 13 excellent tools and systems for CSS grid based layouts.


grid layout

#grid is a little tool that inserts a layout grid in web pages, allows you to hold it in place, and toggle between displaying it in the foreground or background.


grid layout

Gridmaker is a handy tool for creating grid templates for use in Photoshop. There’s also a plugin.

960 Grid System

grid layout

The 960 Grid System is an effort to streamline web development workflow by providing commonly used dimensions, based on a width of 960 pixels. There are two variants: 12 and 16 columns, which can be used separately or in tandem.

YUI: CSS Grid Builder

grid layout

CSS Grid Builder is another tool that lets you design your own grid by specifying body width and number of columns. This one even lets you enter content for the header and footer. Once you’re done you can easily copy the generated code.

1 KB CSS Grid

grid layout

The 1 KB CSS Grid is a simple, lightweight approach that doesn’t require a PhD. When server-side options for templating and sub-templating are limited, the grid can be used as an alternative page templating engine. Its convenient row and column syntax provide all the necessary scaffolding.

netProtozo: Grid Generator

grid layout

Grid Generator allows you to design your own grid by specifying the usual parameters like column width, gutter width, etc. You can then download grab the css or a png of the grid.


grid layout

Blueprint is a CSS framework, which aims to cut down on your development time. It gives you a solid foundation to build your project on top of, with an easy-to-use grid, sensible typography, useful plugins, and even a stylesheet for printing.


grid layout

Typogridphy is a CSS framework constructed to allow web designers and front-end developers to quickly code typograhically pleasing grid layouts.

The Golden Grid

grid layout

The Golden Grid is a web grid system. It ‘s a product of the search for the perfect modern grid system. It ‘s meant to be a CSS tool for grid based web sites.


grid layout

“Yet Another Multicolumn Layout” (YAML) is an (X)HTML/CSS framework for creating modern and flexible floated layouts. The structure is extremely versatile in its programming and absolutely accessible for end users.

Grid Calculator

grid layout

Grid Calculator allows you to choose the font size you are going to use, and then select the number of columns, column width, and gutter width based on that base font size. As you fiddle with the dimensions, the total width is dynamically updated, so you can check that you haven’t gone over that magic 1024px.

Gridr Buildrrr

grid layout

Gridr Buildrrr is a useful tool to help you layout your own grids.

Fluid 960 Grid System

grid layout

The Fluid 960 Grid System templates have been built upon the work of Nathan Smith and his 960 Grid System using effects from the MooTools JavaScript library. The idea for building these templates was inspired by Andy Clarke, author of Transcending CSS, who advocates a content-out approach to rapid interactive prototyping, crediting Jason Santa Maria with the grey box method.

About the Author

Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.

  • http://www.kalvster.com Kalvster

    I’ve been starting to use grid frameworks more. It’s quite a time-saver that produces great results!

  • http://cssfaves.com cssfaves.com

    thanks for this article. i have many impressive and effective live examples in my gallery:)

  • http://www.goblinridge.co.uk Ted Thompson

    Great list of resources. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.jordanwalker.net Jordan Walker

    Real nice list of resources for grid based systems.

  • http://www.chrismower.com Chris Mower

    I’ve been working on better understanding the different grid systems out there, this is a nice resource for that, thanks. :)

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk Damian Smith

    Grid systems can be really great to use, I started designing sites just by placing navigation here, icons there and a bit of flash where ever i thought it looked good!

    Then I started using grid systems and I started finding that my sites worked so much better, you could read through the content easier, everything stood out in its own place and the site just looked right. Where as before to a designer the sites didn’t flow as well.

    I would highly recommend using some of these systems, all work great but suit different people. I prefer just having a saved psd with all the grids set out then I will decide on columns etc and go from there.

  • http://www.webdesignersblog.net shevaa | WebDesignersBlog

    Thanks for the excellent article… nice stuff.. i like it..

  • http://rachel.learnless.info/ Rachel

    Wow extremely nice.Thanks for sharing this article

  • http://israelviana.es Isra

    Good post! I recommend you csans, another great grid tool.

  • Jayphen

    Do any of these solutions deal well with issues relating to semantics?

  • http://www.daniellong.co.uk Daniel Long

    Great list of resources. Have used Grid Generator before but will definitely be giving the others a go. Really useful!

  • http://www.design-manchester.co.uk Design Manchester

    Great post. All these grid systems look great, I created my own template PSD file which incorporates the 960 grid but also keeps your file layers organised, you can download it here


  • http://waynedahlberg.com Wayne k

    Another great grid layout framework created with simple jQuery:


  • http://stetro.wordpress.com stetro

    I prefer 960.gs
    Thanks for this listing !

  • http://lyildecorp.com Lilian

    Wow, thanks for sharing the list of variety of grid tools. It is really useful.

  • http://twitter.com/cssfactory CSS Factory

    For me is 960 Grid System. I love the way you can design a layout, and it’s also quick! Anyway, nice collection!

  • Stefan

    Thanks for this article. I like the “Easy front-end framework”. It is really easy. http://easyframework.com

  • http://ds.laroouse.com esranull

    great stuff thanks for article

  • http://www.jeepson.co.uk Chesterfield Web Design

    I didn’t even realise tools like this were available. This will help me out loads for sure. Thank you

  • http://www.lifeonlars.com Lars

    Good collection, I’ve used 960 before and found it pretty easy to work with. 960 is also used in Thematic which I’ve started using as a framework for all new WordPress sites.

    For most things though I prefer coding up my own layouts based on requirements and just make sure they line up in a grid of sorts.

    A couple of really useful tools that aren’t mentioned here are two bookmarklets by Allan Jardine called Grid and Rule. There’s also another called Design that includes both Grid and Rule as well as two more. Just drag it into your browser bookmarks toolbar and click on it whenever you need it, very handy.

    I’ll give some of these CSS grid frameworks a try to see if I can streamline and standardise creating new layouts a bit more.

  • http://www.bigtunainteractive.com/portfolio/ Adam Hermsdorfer

    Great list of grid layouts. I’m a big fan of the 960gs. You can really code clean layouts fast.

  • http://www.newviewit.com Website Design

    Nice roundup!

  • http://www.goodluckholidays.com Cherai

    Great list!!! Thanks :)

  • http://www.mathewporter.co.uk/ Mathew Porter

    Nice list, I like to design my initial desktop layout in a 1200px grid based psd file, then this will scale down to 960px in the browser for desktop resolutions, then creating tablet and mobile based layouts afterwards.