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Superclean, powerful, responsive, Sass-based, BEM-syntax CSS grid system
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Avalanche CSS grid system

Superclean, powerful, responsive, Sass-based, BEM-syntax CSS grid system

Why use Avalanche?

  • No bloat. Only create the selectors you'll actually use
  • No duplication. 1/2 == 2/4 so why create two selectors?
  • No floats. No clears. No .last
  • Flexible, configurable naming conventions
  • Nesting to infinity and beyond
  • Real-world breakpoint naming. 'thumb', 'handheld' and 'desk'; not 'xs', 'md' and 'xl'
  • Integrated media query mixin. Connect your media queries to your grid breakpoints


View the demo to see Avalanche in action!


  1. Import _avalanche.scss to your project via Bower, NPM or manually copying to vendor folder (@import "vendor/avalanche")
  2. Override settings to fit your requirements or use the defaults
  3. Compile!


npm install --save avalanche-css


bower install --save avalanche-css


Example of a two column, responsive, centered grid. All grid layout classes and responsive width classes are modifiers.

<div class="grid grid--center">
  <div class="3/4 1/2--thumb grid__cell"></div>
  <div class="1/4 1/2--thumb grid__cell"></div>


$av-namespace Global prefix for layout and cell class names. Default: grid.

$av-element-name Element (in a BEM context) or grid cell name. Default: cell.

$av-element-class-chain Chain characters/separator between BEM block and element. Default: __.

$av-modifier-class-chain Chain characters/separator between BEM block and modifier. Default: --.

$av-breakpoint-class-chain Chain characters/separator between width class and breakpoint. Default: --.

$av-gutter Gutter width between cells. Default: 20px.

$av-width-class-namespace Prefix for width class names. Default: ''.

$av-width-class-style Naming style of width classes. Default: 'fraction'. Options: fraction (1/2, 3/4 etc), percentage (25, 50 etc), fragment (1-of-3, 4-of-5 etc). N.B. If using percentage then $av-width-class-namespace above cannot be null. Avalanche escapes leading integers for fraction and fragment naming styles but this isn't possible with percentage style as Sass attempts to escape the whole number (e.g. 50 instead of just 5 or 30 instead of just 3) so fails.

$av-widths Sass list of width denominator values (when expressed as a fraction). For example, 2 produces 1/2 width class, 3 produces 1/3 and 2/3 width classes etc. Default: ( 2, 3, 4 ). N.B. This setting has a large impact on the size of your compiled CSS. Avoid bloat by inputting just the numbers you'll use.

$av-enable-responsive Enable/disable the inclusion of responsive width classes. With this enabled, class names (for denominators set above) will be created for each of your breakpoint aliases (set below). Default: true.

$av-breakpoints Sass map of responsive breakpoint aliases and associated media queries (in key-value pairs). N.B. This setting has a large impact on the size of your compiled CSS. Avoid bloat by inputting just the breakpoints you'll use. Default:

  "thumb":            "screen and (max-width: 499px)",
  "handheld":         "screen and (min-width: 500px) and (max-width: 800px)",
  "handheld-and-up":  "screen and (min-width: 500px)",
  "pocket":           "screen and (max-width: 800px)",
  "lap":              "screen and (min-width: 801px) and (max-width: 1024px)",
  "lap-and-up":       "screen and (min-width: 801px)",
  "portable":         "screen and (max-width: 1024px)",
  "desk":             "screen and (min-width: 1025px)",
  "widescreen":       "screen and (min-width: 1160px)",
  "retina":           "screen and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), screen and (min-resolution: 192dpi), screen and (min-resolution: 2dppx)"

Grid layouts

Apply as modifier classes to your base grid element. For example; <div class="grid grid--center">.

All optionable grid layouts listed below are switched off by default. Set to true to enable.

$av-enable-grid-center All cells are horizontally centered within the container.

$av-enable-grid-cell-center Center an individual grid cell within the container. N.B. Class should be applied to an individual cell, not the grid container. For example; <div class="grid__cell grid__cell--center">.

$av-enable-grid-right All cells are horizontally aligned to the right within the container.

$av-enable-grid-middle All cells are vertically centered within in the container.

$av-enable-grid-bottom All cells are vertically aligned to the bottom of the container.

$av-enable-grid-flush Gutters removed between cells.

$av-enable-grid-tiny Gutters between cells set to a quarter of the global gutter value. Default: 5px.

$av-enable-grid-small Gutters between cells set to half of the global gutter value. Default: 10px.

$av-enable-grid-large Gutters between cells set to double the global gutter value. Default: 40px.

$av-enable-grid-huge Gutters between cells set to quadruple the global gutter value. Default: 80px.

$av-enable-grid-auto All cells take up an unspecified width set by their content.

$av-enable-grid-rev Grid cells are displayed in the opposite of their source order.

Media query

Avalanche includes a media query mixin that makes use of the breakpoint aliases you set. This enables better coupling between your grid and other responsive content items. Usage as follows.

@include av-mq(pocket){
    /* responsive CSS */

Browser support

All modern browsers are supported and Internet Explorer from IE9 upwards. If IE8 support is required then all that is needed is a pixel-value to be set for font-size on .grid__cell. This is due to IE8 not supporting rem units. Use of a 'rem-to-px' check during build is recommended.


When issuing a pull request to improve this project, please:

  1. Rigourously comment your code, particularly where new variables are introduced or manipulated
  2. Ensure your work passes the stylelint linter (sample gulpfile)
  3. Be as descriptive as possible in your commit message


If you have any questions or need some help then feel free to tweet me at @colourgarden or open an issue.

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