{Carrer web log}

Blog about web design & development

The Golden Grid

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 { 22 Comments }

For some time now I’m devoted completely to Web Grid Design. First I built Emastic then Malo and now The Golden Grid.

Emastic is a very complete CSS Framework integrating various CSS construction techniques like floats, absolute positioning, complete freedom of your default width, extra usability with em based grid system plus possibility of fluid columns and extra % based grid system and many more features. Then the question is why build another grid system.

I was searching for the prefect web grid, playing with golden proportions, rule of thirds, symmetry, asymmetry, usability, monitor proportions, typography and the result came spontaneous - The Golden Grid. Why not share it with you :).



One, Two, Three - jump. Where is four? We usually stop at tree. Why? Three is the magic number. Three is a lucky number. Three is the fourth of Fibonacci. It is the first number that breaks the symmetry of 2.

I decided to build the golden grid based on this number.

3 + 3 and 3 + 3 + 3 +3 => 6/12 grid system

Default width 970px or 10px + 960px

780px is the number of past, 960px is the number of today and 1200px will be the number of the future (see the table link). 1200px is the perfect number for my grid system, but it's too soon for that. First I must wait the usage rate of 1024 X 768 monitors to drop under 10%.


In the 6 columns grid min. width column is 150px and the gutter of 10px.

In the 12 column grid min. width column is 70px and the gutter of 10px.

I stopped at 12 columns because I think 12 is ideal number for one web grid. 4 x 3 = 12 .When the harmony and symmetry of 4 meats chaotic 3 the result is 12.

Rule of Thirds (golden rule)


The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.

I love Wikipedia's interpretation of the golden rule -> creates more tension, energy and interest. But why?

This question still troubles me. Is it in our DNA, is it just the way we look at things or some fractal space and time distortion. Joke aside, I don’t have the answer, but that will not stop me to implement this rule on my grid :).


Using typography.css is optional in this project. Not all web sites have the same typographical needs. The main purpose is to give character to this project. If we imagine the grid as the naked body than typography would be the clothes.

I used ” lucida grande","lucida sans unicode" like main typeface. For titles H1 to H6 I used Georgia. I like to mix Serif and sans-serif fonts.

Image and Video size

You might consider some popular formats (4:3) and (9:16)

CSS building technique and naming system

There are two known div building techniques: floats and position. The Golden Grid uses float:left.
Class names g160 means golden 160px or grid 160px = 150px + 10px margin.
ml80 meaning margin-left:90px or 10 + 80px
Inside for needed divs and clear.
And this is it.

Similarity to other CSS project

There are many who will notice the similarity to some other CSS Frameworks like Blueprint and 960.gs and in some parts like my Emastic. Yes, the building principle is very similar - float:left, margin-left, structural naming system, px based columns... If you are familiar with these systems, you like their philosophy and you are not min. css file size maniac like me I don’t see the reason why change anything. They all do a great job.

The Golden Grid is not about how I build CSS web grids but why. It is result of almost one year research of web grid design.

The Golden Grid + Examples


Sketchbook for web designers

Thursday, February 12, 2009 { 37 Comments }

Recently I saw one cool sketchbook for designing web site mockups. The problem was I couldn't find out how to order one copy. The idea of that sketchbook was to simulate web browser on paper.
So I decided to build one.

First problem that we encounter when we are building web browser on paper is - what size should it be? We have monitors with different size. And we also have different paper formats A4, A3... First thing I did is to compare the most common A4 format with my 15' laptop. And i realized that A4 (210x297mm) width is actually my laptop monitor height or 210mm. A4 is perfect for building our sketchbook because it fits perfectly on monitor and is most used paper format.

What web browser should we simulate? From the ergonomic point of view I prefer Chrome or Safari. My final decision is Safari, because it is gray and it is perfect for B/W printers.
Ok, we have Safari on A4 paper and we can print B/W. Little work in photoshop and the final result is:

In PSD file you will find everything you need Photoshop
Don't forget to set landscape when you print.


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About Me <<<

Name: Vladimir Carrer
vladocar [at] gmail.com
Location: Verona, Italy
I'm a web designer, developer, teacher, speaker, generally web addicted ...

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