My good friend Esther commented today that it is helpful for our students to see something really different and unusual that they can do with CSS and other web technologies. Molly Holzschlag has provided a piece of that picture with her article “Thinking Outside the Grid” published recently at Jeffrey Zeldman’s A List Apart.
She describes one of the most significant capabilities of CSS based design and its ability to go beyond the basic tables-based grid design. She uses interesting examples of aerial views of two cities, Tucson and London, as an example of a rigid rectangle based grid system of design (Tucson) and a contrasting grid in London’s spirals, tangents, and circles. CSS allows us to design beyond the rigid structures and create all types of layouts to suit our needs. Holzschlag also provides a link to Mark Boulton’s “grid-system articles” as another place to get some ideas about altering the basic grid. The illustrations in Holzschlag’s article are great for providing the perspective she is referring to. I highly recommend this article for designers wanting to figure out what CSS adds to the design process.