Say Hello to Gridulator

Photo of sketchbook with drawings in it
The Author Attempts Math, Avert Thine Eyes: Early layout and code sketches for Gridulator.

Today I’m officially launching a little utility I’ve been tinkering with for awhile. Meet Gridulator. As you may have guessed, it’s got something to do with grids.

Tell Gridulator your layout width and the number of columns you want, and it’ll spit back all the possible grids that have nice, round integers. Just the thing for pixel-based designfolk. There are inline previews, courtesy of the canvas element, and when you’re all set Gridulator can crank out full-size PNGs for you, ready for use in your CSS, Photoshop docs, or what have you. And there’s full keyboard control for you snazzy power users.

An Audience of One

Screenshot of Gridulator website

I built Gridulator because I wasn’t finding any solutions well-suited to the way I work with grids in my design projects. Most of the existing desktop grid calculators are geared heavily towards print. (Widths like 58.766666666 aren’t exactly helpful to a Web designer.) And Photoshop still lacks robust tools for choosing, building, and editing grids in projects (as others have covered with due eloquence and care).

I can’t change Photoshop, but what I can do is make the act of creating a grid for Web projects a little less tasking—enough so to allow for quick and care-free experimentation. I wanted something that would make the act of creating a grid so easy as to make the output nearly disposable. No more cringing at the thought of rearranging umpteen gazillion guides in Photoshop. And no more fretting the math wouldn’t add up in PixelLand.

Screenshot of early proof of concept version of Gridulator
Proto Gridulator: An early code-only version.

The result is an app that’s intended to do a very specific thing in a very specific way, and to do it as fast as possible. In fact, it’s so specific that I originally only built it for myself. But as things took shape I thought others might have use for it as well. (One designer I know actually punched me in the shoulder after seeing a working copy and hearing that I hadn’t built a public version. It’s okay, I forgive them.)

I hope you like it too. Now go forth and gridulate!