Don't let grids rule your life

Summary:As a Front End Web Developer, I intersect that shady space betwixt the worlds of designer and developer. I build websites; I am an engineeer with visual proclivities.

As a Front End Web Developer, I intersect that shady space betwixt the worlds of designer and developer. I build websites; I am an engineeer with visual proclivities.

Of late, I have been studying grid systems. @markboulton has been a font of grid knowledge, and his Five simple steps to designing grid systems has been illuminating and helpful.

On the gritty front line of contract work, clients are now demanding Responsive Web Design and experience with grids, and a good thing too. There is some disquiet over “hard coding” the grid column widths into the HTML itself (as with the deservedly popular 960 grid system by Nathan Smith), although there are workarounds and alternatives like Semantic.gs that use CSS preprocessors to calculate tricky column widths for you.

The biggest obstacle I have found, though, is a dumb-headed adherence to the grid, where designers have forced elements to fit the grid, rather than easing off the pedal and letting the design find it’s own way. So when I saw this saying blu-tacked up in a window, it had a special resonance:

Rules are made…
Wise sayings in the windows of strangers

Swap rules for grids and you have a good, er, rule of thumb.

Don’t let grids rule your life, let them guide your life.

@growdigital

Topics: Software Development

About

A web designer since the 20th century, I am a pragmatic advocate of Free Software and I use proprietary software when appropriate. I made the full-time switch to Linux back in 2007, and my desktop tools of choice are Linux Mint, Inkscape, GIMP and Sublime Text. As a Front End Developer, my core skills are HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery, an... Full Bio

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