Flexible Design: The Complete Primer for Learner

There are a lot of blocks and card styles out there now. For designers, they are both fashionable and functional. The appearance is streamlined and simple and in terms of website design it works great in responsive Frameworks.

The root of this design trend is Modular Design. And no matter what you think, it’s nothing new. Modular design is deeply rooted in design theory and has long been used by a number of designers. Today we delve deeper into the background and practical applications of modular design!

What Is Modular Design?

Modular design is a technique in which everything is created with a grid pattern of blocks. Each of the elements of the design fits into the modules in rectangular patterns.

Modular design has existed for a long time. It was popularized at different stages by newspaper designers when they created modules for the components of each story in this daily edition of the paper. However, modules are also popular for other design styles, as using a single grid is a good way to organize and manage content.

The modular grid is especially useful for projects where there is a lot of content or a lot of content that may not have anything to do with the face, but appear together in a Design (which is why the style was so popular for newspapers with so many pieces on a large screen).

In the website design landscape, modular design is a popular Option because of the flexibility of modular grid. Modular concepts can be easily used when designing responsive Frameworks, and the Raster format works particularly well with other trends such as maps and Minimalism.

Modular design requires thinking about the Frontend of projects, but in reality it’s just a grid – based design system that works just like any other grid. It works for any type of project or style. And it will help you design with Organization and Harmony.

Roots in other fields

Modular design is not a concept for graphic designers only. From architecture to interior design to building computers or even cars, everything can be modular. (And each of these places can be a good place to look for Inspiration for modular graphic design.)

In other areas, the definition of modular design is somewhat broader, but can still be applied in graphic design theory. The modular design includes elements that visually fit together like blocks, such as cubicles in an office or a brick wall outside a building. Modular elements are also interchangeable, for example parts that you can use in one or another computer, or a particular type of car battery that works in multiple automobiles. In body practice, modular design often resembles a Lego block design where the pieces can be assembled or separated from each other.

Modular in printing design

The modular structure for printing projects starts with the grid. The grid and modules included in the grid determine each design decision you make. The grid helps you determine where to place elements, spacing, and how to align text.

Fortunately, using this grid is not as restrictive as you can imagine. Since you can draw in any number of patterns or combinations inside the grid lines, the actual possibilities are almost limitless.

This type of grid can be configured in almost any graphic design software you want to use and consists of horizontal and vertical grid lines and gutters (spacing guides). Once the grid is laid on the canvas, it should look like a series of” blocks ” – although they are not necessarily square – and thin blocks (which are the gutter or Open Space).

How it works is simple. Each content is in the blocks and there must be a gutter width between the elements. You can mix and adjust blocks of different shapes and sizes, but everything remains in a harmonious design pattern with horizontal and vertical flow.

Here’s a look at some of the photo-image combinations to give you an idea of how grid blocks work together:

Modular in web design

The first thing you experience when you talk about modular design for websites is resistance that it’s boring. You can overcome this now. Any Design can be boring or interesting, but a grid alone does not determine it.

Modular is currently a popular website design option as it matches other fairly fashionable elements. Designers pushed again into the conversation with a flat Design and stacking many color blocks as a design template, Windows used a modular interface for the “Metro” design of Windows.

But it is also a great tool for creating many other types of websites. Just like Print Modular Design, the concept takes root in a vertical and horizontal grid on the canvas. Where it is different is in the roll and for breakpoints for different screen resolutions. (You can work your CSS magic here and we only focus on the visual aspect.)

When it comes to modular design for websites, we first think of an almost WYSIWYG style for design, similar to what you often find on Premium website themes. Ready-made blocks come that already fit together-a bit like The idea of building cars and computers– so that each block fits into an overall framework and you don’t even have to think about the modularity of the design.

This is the easy way to become modular.

There is also the do it yourself option. Modular website grids usually have larger blocks than pressure grids and divide the screen into digestible parts. The easiest way to think about it is in a two-column format that divides the screen vertically in half (with a gutter). Horizontal subdivisions are often the depth of a scroll, which is a particularly popular Option when working with parallax scroll animations.

One of the best simple (and visual) definitions of how modular design works for websites comes from Newfangled’s Christopher Butler:

10 Resources for Modular Design

Now that you’re ready to launch your first modular design project, here are some additional resources to help you.

  • Modular Grid: Modular grids that you can customize and download.
  • “Modular design vs. non-modular design: the conversation goes on” by Mario Garcia
  • Architizer is All Mod All: inspiration examples
  • “Making Modular Layout Systems” by Jason Santa Maria
  • Book on grids and layouts: “Layout Essentials: 100 design principles for using grids”
  • Grid and experimental typography (PDF to download)
  • Complex modular Grid by Karl Gerstner: if you really want to worry about how to think and develop a modular grid
  • Griddle: CSS for a fluid and modular grid system for modern browsers
  • How to create a modular grid in Adobe Illustrator
  • Modular Themes ThemeForest


Don’t let the big ideas behind a modular design scare you. The entry into modular design is as with any other Raster or Framework. Sketch it, develop a Plan and start designing it.

The advantages of the modular design are clear space and Organization, a grid that works in almost any style, and ease of use for digital projects. It is becoming more and more popular for a reason. It works. Now go out and try yourself on a project with a modular style.

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