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CSS CSS Layout Techniques Grid Layout Understanding Grids

S Alexander
S Alexander
18,962 Points

Why 12 columns?

Hi. Why did Guil (and why do grids like Foundation and Bootstrap) choose a 12-column grid as the default? What advantages does it have over others? When would it be more appropriate to choose a 10- or 8-column layout? Cheers, Alex

3 Answers

Websites often present their content in multiple columns, as you know. It's not unusual to find yourself wanting to have those columns evenly distributed and of same size. A 12-column grid will allow you to do that regardless of whether you want 2 (by spanning 6), 3 (by spanning 4) or 4 (by spanning 3) content columns. You can even do 5 columns by skipping one and then spanning 2, 5 times. Being a multiple of 3 and 4, it's fairly flexible.

That's the explanation I came upon years ago, I'd link the source article, but I never bookmarked it.

Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell
9,767 Points

It all depends on your design. A column is obviously a proportion of the viewport width. 12 is a well distributed division as you have a good range of widths you can assign to content. You can have anything from 1 column to 100 columns if you want. All depends how detailed and varied the elements you're building are.

To be honest though, I don't use columns and nor do a huge number of people. They're not compulsory. Columns immediately restrict what you're doing.

I tend to have a number of containers which act as columns and are the reference point for assigning widths to elements within that section of a page.

S Alexander
S Alexander
18,962 Points

Thanks, Dino. That makes sense: it's a multiple of 3 and 4.