How do websites get all those interesting alignments of content, colors, and flexibility? It’s because of CSS! Think of CSS as the suit of the web. It’s that extra coating on the cake to make it look wonderful, and while we can’t taste the web, we can certainly enjoy it to the fullest when designers take their time to provide unique, ambitious and stellar web browsing experiences. Getting started with CSS was never easier, now there are hundreds of books, frameworks and coding websites that provide on-board experience for understanding how exactly the web is getting styled, and whether you can become a contributor of those styling efforts yourself.
Layouts are some of the most technical aspects of web design, in order to present a website properly, it needs to have a well-designed layout in place, and while in traditional web design we used to rely on complex single-grids and then repurposed each grid to reflect our individual box elements, we’re not living in times where tools like Flexbox are available so that we can create multi-layered design grids and style each one individually in whichever way we prefer. It has been a long journey up to this point, and even though these new tools exist, some designers are still struggling to put the pieces together, mostly because CSS evolution is rather fast and with the help of JS and HTML5 — that process can become more like a spider web.
So without further adue, we’re giving you the thirty most versatile CSS layouts as built by CSS veterans themselves, these designs and layouts are ready to be used by you in your own projects, or solely for the purposes of understanding how layouts work. It’s a wonderful collection of layouts that are going to inspire the living hell out of you as you begin to realize how much CSS has progressed, and how a slight addition of interactive JS code can make all the difference. At the very bottom we left some room to include famous CSS layout frameworks to help you style a responsive and modern layout in a matter of minutes.
Metro UI — Windows 8
Pure CSS Masonry Layout with Flexbox
Jhey Tompkins is a CSS expert with more than 15,000 individual contributions on GitHub in the last year alone, what an amazing achievement. Many of his repositories on GitHub have 100+ stars as well, and he’s well known amongst his peers. This particular CSS layout from Jhey is using Flexbox to attain a solidified masonry layout ready for being boosted with your own elements and website widgets. Some interesting features include the ability to “flip” individual grids for added creativity, but also focused grids that are highlighted once the user hovers over it. Perfect grid layout to use for a website project that’s going to be dealing with a lot of content.
Expanding Column Layout
Ettrics is a small digital design agency that resides in Canada. Two guys manage this little agency and have created some incredible works of art that have been recognized by hundreds of thousands of designers across the globe. They’ve shared some truly cool CSS snippets in the past, like Hexagon animations, slider animations, menu overlays, drag and drop interfaces, and interactive bar graphs — adding up to 100,000+ views in total. They’re also not shy when it comes to writing and sharing tutorials with the community, and have extensive written about the ways designers can create user interface kits, and how to create appealing user experiences using good design understanding. This layout they’ve built, Expanding Column Layout, has been viewed more than 30,000+ times already. It’s a simple page layout perfect for portfolios that shows different color columns, and expands each column individually once it has been accessed. Within the expanding window you can put in any content that you like.
Fullscreen Layout with Columns
Karol Podlesny has taken the work of Ettrics and changed up the schematics a little bit. You get a different set of colors, and slightly more optimized expanding windows for sharing content. It’s full screen and adapts to mobile devices gracefully. Worth sharing to save you time from managing colors individually.
Pure CSS Masonry Layout
Static Page Layout Example
Nick Pettit is an exceptional game developer who also happens to be one of the in-house course teachers at Treehouse; world famous developer learning resource. What Nick has built here with this layout is an example of how a static website layout functions, and how such a static layout can be used to build prototypes without necessarily having to put in the hours to provide a flawless functioning demo.
Product Page Layout with Flexbox
The official team behind Angular.js is also actively sharing different snippets and code structures on how to create particular layouts and such, Angular Material is giving to the community a solid Flexbox layout for product pages. It’s packed with individual product grids, for featured and ordinary product displays, and provides ability to sort and filter results. This gives you a little bit of a taste of what to expect in the new Angular 2 framework that’s amplified with the Material Design spec. Wonderful results altogether.
Beautiful CSS3 Layout
Flexbox Grid Layout with Mobile Menu
Lindsey Di Napoli is behind CSSgirl — a portfolio / resource project from Lindsey that depicts her career as a front-end designer. She’s built some cool stuff in her time, and the Flexbox Grid Layout (with a supported mobile navigation) is one of her best works to date, at least in terms of free sharing, we’re sure she has worked on some truly inspiring project in the past herself. So either way, this layout once again shows how Flexbox can be used to create an aesthetic and perfectly aligned design, we like the use of cards within the content areas, with the neat little overlays that display social sharing buttons.
Flat Blog Layout with CSS3
Responsive Card Layout with Flexbox
Mynor Alexander can teach you a few things about Flexbox and card layouts, and you don’t even need to see him in person. It’s all right here within the source code of this Responsive Card Layout built using Flexbox. Nowadays the adaption of card layouts is growing increasingly, the value that they provide for design experience is invaluable and so it goes without saying that learning how to use cards in design as a front-end developer is going to be quintessential for progressing to the future of web design.
CSS Only Responsive Layout with Smooth Transitions
Ying Zhang works with several big brands as a web developer, and hosts her own project Pure Essence to discuss her own progress as a developer. Amongst the snippets that she has shared, you’ll find this pure CSS layout with supported smooth transition, all fully and completely responsive optimized. The transitions happen through a menu selection at the bottom of the page, once an item has been clicked on then a new page rolls open using the smooth transition implementation. The each individual aspect of the pages can be customized as best fits your requirements. Lovely example of how to build interactivity on the web.
Grid with Layouts
This is yet another share from Angular Material, this time they’re sharing a simple grid layout that can be used as a boilerplate for future design development. Keep an eye on their CodePen page as they continue to push out new layouts and concepts in preparation for the full release of Angular 2 framework.
CSS3 Shopping Cart Layout
Flexbox Article Layout
Jon Daiello has worked on a number of great projects, most of which involved development and designing of products. Here in this layout he goes to show us just how flexible Flexbox can really be when it comes down to structuring a layout for content, whether for magazine or blog articles, with Flexbox it is possible to attain that crisp quality that you won’t find elsewhere easily. This Responsive Article Layout is built to resemble a traditional content layout within a grid. This is the same layout that Jon is using on his website, which is another way of saying that he trusts his own work. The header and the footer areas could use a little bit of improvement, for sure, and perhaps all you need to take away from this layout is the actual structure of the grid itself.
Fullscreen Layout with Page Transitions
You actually saw the horizontal version of this layout earlier in the post, so what Furkan Özden has done here is he took the original layout and simply converted it into a boxed layout, perhaps more appropriate for special case designs. The functionality is all the same, you get different selections of boxes (links) which open up a fullscreen modal window with your content inside. Still a good choice for portfolios and those who want to host their resumes on the web. The page transitions don’t lose their smoothness.
Skeleton Layout Example
SitePoint as always knows what are the best things to share, these guys have been running their web development platform for decades and are super experienced with the latest technology and what is trending on the web these days, their Skeleton layout is an example of how to build a skeleton layout for a business website that can be freely styled, adjusted and optimized by anyone who wants to practice their front-end skills. You’ve got a nice full screen header section with a center positioned navigation widget, nice cards elements for showcasing your skills and experience, a separate widget element for showing your resume information (description, experience, how to hire), and lastly at the footer you got contact details, and social media information. Good overall design, and would be ideal for beginners to practice how to position things in a layout using the latest web design technology.
CSS Grid Layout Module — Responsive Magazine Layout
Heather Buchel writes code mostly in association with animation examples and how animation can be used to enrich user experience. In this demo Heather is focusing on a responsive magazine layout that’s based on a grid module. You get a nice logo header to compliment your magazine brand with good typography, an area for featured publications, and space for publishing individual article spots, at the bottom the navigation is aimed for further discovering content within the magazine, but could also be plugged to promote your store items.
Tile Style Layout with Flexbox and Flex Wrap
Jack Armley works for Expedia and has spent several years building online games and websites with his own unique and creative twist. A lot of his work involves using typography and general fonts understanding to deliver spectacular experiences for those who have the privilege of working with him. This CSS3 layout demo is based on a tiled style layout that uses Flexbox and Flex Wrap to create a design worthy of using on blog sites, quote sites, editorials, and general content sharing sites that would benefit from a cards/grid layout combination.
Responsive Vertical Timeline
CodyHouse is a free library of ready-to-use and easy-to-customize code snippets. Whenever CodyHouse releases a new snippet or a script, they accompany it with their own tutorials and guides on how the code works, and how the final result was achieved. In this example we have a Responsive Vertical Timeline layout, ideal for using on business websites or portfolios where you want to showcase how you have progressed from one point to the next over the years. It would be unusual to see this design used in magazines, but certainly blog type sites could get away with using a timeline layout, especially those who publish content in relation to latest business updates and news.
Fixed Daily Kitteh
The WCC, also known as Women’s Coding Collective, is a community of web developers that is strictly aimed at helping women to be empowered through writing code, in order to bridge the gap between the gender roles that you typically find in web development communities today. WCC provides women with guidance and resources on how to start their careers as developers, and this Daily Kitteh layout example is just one of the examples of the kind of work that WCC offers for learning, to learn how to structure a nice and static website page and to understand how all of the elements cooperate together for the final result.
Spotify Artist Page UI
Adam Lowenthal gives away an insane compilation of UI elements that come directly from Spotify’s artist pages. This is a huge layout that is going to take you a little bit of time to fully depict and understand, you’ve got sidebars full of navigation menus that go deep into the layout to allow users to access different aspects of the artist pages. You’ve got the latest songs and a music player integrated, as well as an addition of related artists. You’ve really got to take your time to understand this layout fully, however enjoy it because it’s a true treasure.
Neutron is a SASS powered CSS framework that gives you the tools to create flexible, organized and crystal clear website layouts using semantic markup. Mostly you will be working with columns, which accept individual parameters that can help you define the way you want for your layout to look like. Those parameters include column lists, container dimensions, container alignments, margins, selector targets, and grid order. Each of those parameters can help you organize a layout that would best reflect your intentions.
CSSTYLE is one of those things that you knew you needed, but never knew how to access before it was actually built. CSSTYLE is an amazing tool for helping you craft stylesheets that are well organized, style guide compliant, and easy to maintain. These days maintaining large collections of stylesheets is simply impossible, and often you find yourself in a rut as you’re trying to make sense of all the selectors and classes and how they affect your main codebase. With CSSTYLE you can forget about those problems as this tool helps you create CSS files that are easy to read, easy to navigate, and even does some automation work for you. Create generic style tweaks that can be applied to any component instance, part, element, etc. Tweaks are applied using a + sign followed by the tweak name. Tweaks automatically override the styling of components, options, and parts.
With all those incredibly beautiful CSS layouts that we looked at, you still realize that there’s something missing, and that is web elements and components that you could put within those layouts in order to create a fully functional website. Sure, coding them by yourself is possible, but why waste the time when you’ve got frameworks like Pure to work with? Pure actually provides you with several layout options itself, like a blog, email, photo gallery, landing page, pricing table, side menu, and other types of menus. You can stitch these layouts together and begin the process of building a unique web design. The components that Pure includes are grids, buttons, tables, forms, and menus that all flow together effortlessly as you carefully put them all together. By including Pure and writing some CSS on top of it, you can ensure that your site or app works across browsers, while looking truly unique. Best of all, your CSS file size will remain tiny, which is a great thing for mobile users and others with slow connections.
YAML CSS Framework
YAML gives you all the modern designer features to create truly responsive websites. It’s grid system is know for being flexible and unmatched by different frameworks. YAML provides its users with extended documentations that are helpful in getting you up to speed and in sync with what’s happening with modern design development these days. The codebase has been organized in a way that it perfectly compliments CSS3 and HTML5 structuring. YAML has been in existence for 11 years now and has since continued to evolve and grow as one of the leading front-end frameworks for rapid responsive development.
Skeleton framework is your optimal choice if you’re building a new website project that doesn’t require all the extensive features of large front-end frameworks. It’s a boilerplate template topped with some handy elements to brush up your designs. The grid is a basic 12 column grid that’s mobile responsive and adapts to devices automatically. Typography is customizable and also uses responsive properties to adjust appropriate on each browser. You can choose from a few predefined styles of buttons, and also implement custom forms — which as we all know can sometimes be difficult to manage, but Skeleton makes that process a breeze. Then you have elements like media queries, code highlighting, tables, lists and basic utilities. A demo landing page is available for download to help you get started.
Kube CSS Framework
Kube is a future oriented professional web development framework to be used for rapid bootstrapping of mobile and web applications. In a sense it acts as the prototype complex for the backend of your whole application. You’re left to use your own style guides and code algorithms in order to create the design that you need. There are many different reasons why thousands of professional developers and designers worldwide choose Kube for their projects. For one, Kube is only 32Kb, which is quite impressive considering what it can do for you. Another thing is that it is completely up to the developers and designers whether or not to fully embrace Kube’s minimalistic style, or expand and extend it to, well, pretty much any scale.
Susy is a powerhouse of a framework that does all of the hard work for putting together your ideas and design patterns into a single layout.