The Personal Disquiet of

Mark Boulton

Blueprint. A CSS Framework.

– August 8th, 2007 –

Over the past year or so, the industry has been making some great inroads into streamlining some of our processes. We have Microformats for standardizing how we mark up certain data. John Allsopp’s Web Patterns is gathering pace and recently Tantek et all started work on solving the ‘why do I always have to re-enter my user data in every social networking app?’ problem, or the easier to say, Social Networking Portability. These are all great and everything, but they have data at their core, not the presentation of that data. Until recently, we didn’t have a usable system for creating layouts.

That was until a Norwegian chap called Olav Frihagen Bjørkøy released a CSS framework called Blueprint last Friday. The key difference between this and other frameworks is Blueprint has been created from a typographic design basis.

There are frameworks being used. Yahoo’s is one of them. I’ve tried using it in the past, but I’ve really struggled. It’s way too bloated (it’s huge!) for my needs. According to Olav, this was one his gripes too. He’s therefore created the Blueprint framework with these features in mind:

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  • An easily customizable grid
  • Some default typography
  • A typographic baseline
  • CSS reset for default browser styles
  • A stylesheet for printing
  • No bloat of any kind

What a list! Now, if you just put the first point aside, the core features of Blueprint bring together some of the best typographic design thinking on the web over the past year or so. Eric Meyer’s reset code is in there, Richard Rutter’s Vertical Rhythm theory, Jeff Croft’s ideas on managing a CSS framework.

Going back to the grid—and this is what really interests me—Olav has used Khoi Vinh’s theories and practice on grid design to great, practical use. What is so important about this CSS framework to me is that it has been designed to solve a design problem, not a technical problem. As all great systems, it has been designed to help and guide the designer. As you can tell, I’m already a big fan.

Download it and Use it

What are you waiting for? Download it now! For more on the insights into this exciting new CSS framework, Khoi has a great interview with Olav. Olav also writes a blog.

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Further reading