May 27, 2024

13 Excellent Tools and Systems for CSS Grid Based Layouts

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.


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


  1. Damian Smith Reply

    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.

  2. Lars Reply

    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.

  3. Mathew Porter Reply

    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.

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