Grids in UX/UI Design — Cheat Sheet

Mo Goltz
2 min readJan 3, 2024



  • Purpose of Grids: Grids are powerful tools in graphic design, transforming complex ideas into clear, digestible formats. They establish a hierarchy in layouts, making information more accessible and designs more coherent.
  • Definition: A grid is a framework of intersecting lines that helps organize content in visual layouts, whether for print or digital media.
  • Historical Context: Although grids have been used for centuries, their systematic use in design, particularly associated with Swiss design in the 1940s, has evolved. They were once seen as monotonous but are now essential in managing the flow of data and imagery.

Benefits of Using Grids

  1. Starting Point: Grids provide a structured starting point, avoiding the overwhelming blank canvas syndrome.
  2. Consistency: They ensure uniformity across multiple pages or screens, making the design coherent.
  3. Flexibility: Despite seeming restrictive, grids offer a playground for creativity within their structure.
  4. Organization: Grids keep content aligned and ordered, resulting in clean and neat designs.
  5. Efficiency: They speed up the design process by providing a guide for element placement.
  6. Typography Enhancement: Grids, especially baseline grids, improve the legibility and alignment of text.
  7. Collaboration Ease: Grids make it easier for multiple designers to work on a project cohesively.

Anatomy of a Grid

  • Format: The overall area of the design (page, browser window, etc.).
  • Margin: The space between the content and the edges of the format.
  • Gutters: Spaces between rows and columns.
  • Columns & Rows: Vertical and horizontal spaces within the grid.
  • Modules: The individual spaces created by the intersecting columns and rows.
  • Regions/Zones: Larger areas within the grid formed by groups of modules.
  • Flowlines: Horizontal lines that help segment the grid.

Types of Grids

  1. Manuscript Grids: Single-column, text-heavy layouts (e.g., books, PDFs).
  2. Baseline Grids: Focus on text alignment, improving reading rhythm.
  3. Column Grids: Multi-column layouts for newspapers and magazines.
  4. Modular Grids: Combines rows and columns for complex element organization.
  5. Hierarchical Grids: Non-uniform, flexible grids for web content prioritizing.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do: Be consistent yet flexible, experiment with grids, integrate baseline grids.
  • Don’t: Use grids thoughtlessly, design in gutters, vary grid layouts without purpose.

Creating Your Own Grid

  • Determine the format, typography, column number, margin size, and line count.
  • Adjust text lines and modules accordingly.

Knowledge Check

  1. Modular Grid: Has both columns and rows.
  2. Baseline Grid: Enhances reading rhythm.
  3. Modules: Building blocks of grids.
  4. Margins vs. Gutters: They are not the same.
  5. Manuscript Grid: Common in text-heavy layouts.


  • Significance: Grids solve visual and organizational problems, bringing together various design elements into a cohesive whole.
  • Advantages: They offer clarity, efficiency, and continuity in design work.

This guide highlights the importance of grids in creating effective and impactful graphic designs.



Mo Goltz

Mo Goltz, has worked in-house and at startups as a UX Designer in Silicon Valley, and is a Research and Design Strategy consultant living in the midwest.