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Top 15 HTML 5 / CSS 3 grid systems & frameworks

Developing web pages, frameworks, and website elements is challenging and tough, especially if you have to wrestle with an unresponsive or poorly designed grid system. Fortunately, there are lots of high-quality HTML5/CSS3 grid systems and frameworks you can rely on to make your job easier. 

Let’s look at 15 of these top grid systems one by one.

illustration of three CSS frameworks

1. Bourbon Neat

First on the list is Bourbon Neat: a library of SASS preprocessor mix-ins. Neat is an ideal framework for developers who use SASS and Bourbon already, but it’s also a good choice since it gives developers access to a very fluid, fast, and easy-to-set-up grid system. In a matter of minutes, you’ll have a flexible framework ready to make changes or adjustments to Web elements and pages until they are to your liking.

2. 960 Grid System

960 Grid System is a popular grid tool already used by thousands of websites. Originally designed by Nathan Smith, this very efficient tool can help to streamline your workflow by offering two-column layout choices. Whether you choose column layout 12 or 16, you can bootstrap a homepage that’s perfect for supporting static or dynamic inputs in a matter of moments.

You can even add additional columns to a given page, though you’ll want to dive deep into its tutorial to learn how to do this.

3. Grd

Grd is a simple yet flexible CSS grid system. If you want to make modern, intuitive, and streamlined layouts, Grd is a perfect choice. It comes with a live demo feature you can use to tune different settings or design customizations before implementing them on live pages. With Grd, you’ll find it exceptionally easy to create general content areas, footers, headers, and other areas using a basic drop-down of controls and settings.

4. Dead Simple Grid

Dead Simple Grid is a 200-bite CSS code framework. This is advantageous since it means your pages run much more smoothly than other frameworks. DSG lets you separate the grid to incorporate a flexible sidebar or even a main content area when developing pages. It’s a perfect pick for those who want to make minimalist homepages (like that of CryptoWallet.com), blogs, and other web areas. 

5. Unsemantic

Then there’s Unsemantic: a closely related and follow-up version of 960 Grid. However, Unsemantic offers a fully responsive design framework through which developers like you can rearrange page layouts whenever they need to produce or edit an existing page. With Unsemantic, you’ll be able to easily promote and showcase critical content, plus use strong search engine optimization strategies for clients. Front-end developers should have an easy time using this grid framework since Unsemantic uses Media Queries, too.

Hedgehog working with CSS framework on laptop

6. Csswizardry-grids

Csswizardry-grids is an HTML grid that lets you save time and energy in equal measure. This robust and well-designed tool is user-friendly and easy to structure and master, especially if you check out the included tutorial. Csswizardry-grids supports many variations and allows you to freely reorder page elements to match your desires according to exact specifications. 

7. Simple Grid

Don’t be fooled: Simple Grid is a different tool from the DSG mentioned above. Regardless, it offers a very flexible and responsive layout compatible with desktop computers, mobile smartphones, and tablets.

This is great for developers who want to make pages for the majority of Internet users who are now on mobile. You can use Simple Grid with large screens and high resolutions for added convenience. This lightweight grid framework offers a 12-column structure so you can make a page layout that works for your unique needs or preferences. You can even divide your page into up to six columns with a few button presses.

8. Gridlex

Gridlex is an incredibly simplistic and easy-to-use tool from start to finish, partially because it’s based on Flexbox. Regardless, it allows you to quickly wrap columns with your grid and make extra adjustments to ensure your new page’s final design looks excellent from top to bottom. This top-tier grid system can be a great additional tool for your workflow and personal projects.

9. Griddle

Griddle is a modular and highly fluid grid system for modern browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and more. This ultra-compatible tool is perfect for making pages for web browsers and popular mobile devices.

Griddle guarantees your app’s performance will be smooth and first-class, no matter what. It allows you to create proportional or nested grids, centered and hybrid grids and units, and more. You can even alter the vertical alignment of elements, control unit horizontal centering, and combine both fluid and fixed units for impressive page builds to customize your final product. 

10. Gridly

Gridly continues the above naming trend and is a minimum grid layout system. Thus, it’s perfectly compatible with modern Internet browsers like Firefox and Chrome. Thanks to its lightweight structure, Gridly ensures you’ll have an easy time getting your grid or column layout running without too much frustration or hassle. The library is minimal, so you can use it with other frameworks or tools, such as Visualping, running simultaneously without straining your system’s capabilities.

Illustration of two CSS frameworks

11. Foundation

Foundation is not a grid framework but a front-end library perfect for developers looking for responsive web design elements. Foundation 6, the latest version of this tool, offers various modernized elements and features to help you develop versatile and high-performing page designs. It offers various easy-to-use templates, enabling developers to focus on what they wish to put within page grids rather than on the grids themselves over and over.

12. Bootstrap

Bootstrap is one of the most prominent front-end grid frameworks, and it’s been used for millions of websites across the Internet for a good reason. It’s well-designed, intuitive, flexible, and powerful all at the same time. It’s a good idea to start using Bootstrap now, even while we collectively await Bootstrap 4!

13. Formstone

Like Foundation, Formstone is a library for various front-end developers rather than a managed grid system. It’s ideal if you need customizable components, Web elements, and other tools to make high-quality, dynamic web pages. The Formstone library is responsive, automated, and modular, so it can be great for developing a high-quality grid layout or scaling a large website project, depending on your needs.

14. HTML5 Boilerplate

HTML5 Boilerplate is a stellar template that front-end developers can use to kickstart new page projects without a lot of hassle. It’s also ideal for combining with some of the above tools, such as Foundation or Bootstrap.

15. Responsive Grid System for Your Next Project

Responsive Grid System for Your Next Project has a mouthful of a name, but it could very well be worth your time. It uses the same grid classes as the 960 Grid System, but it’s designed for building mobile-friendly pages first and foremost. On top of that, it provides a boilerplate function so you can manage your headers easily. Developers who primarily build mobile sites will appreciate this tool.

Which Framework Should You Choose?

I’ve found that the frameworks I’ve used the most often are Griddle and Formstone. I’ve come to highly appreciate the vast compatibility that Griddle offers across web browsers and mobile devices, while Formstone is often my go-to framework for front-end development work thanks to its responsive and modular layout. 

That being said, at the end of the day, you might benefit from trying out each of these HTML5/CSS3 grid systems and frameworks for yourself when you have the time. That way, you can determine which is right for your needs and skill set.

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Gary Stevens avatar

Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens is a web developer and technology writer. He's a part-time blockchain geek and a volunteer working for the Ethereum foundation as well as an active Github contributor. More articles written by Gary.

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