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Typecsset (v0.3.0)

Typecsset (type·set, /ˈtīpˌset/) is a small Sass library for setting type on the web.

It gives you an automatic, pixel-perfect, baseline grid across all textual HTML elements based entirely on just a few settings of your choice. Baseline grids without the headaches.



Using Typecsset couldn’t be easier. Download the Sass file, predefine any settings, @import it into your project, go!

$typecsset-base-font-size:      18px;
$typecsset-base-line-height:    27px;

[Your own CSS]

@import "path/to/typecsset";

[More of your own CSS]



Due to the nature of unitless and relative values, you will end up with a lot of floats as opposed to integers (e.g. line-height: 1.333; instead of line-height: 24px;). In order to ensure that browsers can work these values out as closely as possible to the pixel, thus avoiding rounding errors, I recommend compiling your Sass with the --precision flag set to 7, e.g.:

sass --watch typecsset.scss:typecsset.css --style expanded --precision 7


All Typecsset’s settings are stored in namespaced variables (e.g. $typecsset-base-font-size). You should avoid modifying these directly, as to do so would inhibit your ability to smoothly update the library. If you would like to modify the default settings in Typecsset, predefine them before you import the library, as above.

There are certain settings in Typecsset that should not and cannot be overridden, as they are fundamental to the way the library works. These settings are, however, based upon the settings you can modify.


This is the base font size you would like your project to have. Set this in pixels: Typecsset will convert it to the relevant units for you.


This is the base line height you would like your project to take. Again, define this in pixels: Typecsset will convert it into a unitless value for you.

This $typecsset-base-line-height value is the most important one in the whole library—it defines and underpins your whole vertical rhythm. Everything (margins, line-heights, etc.) will be based upon units of this number in order to maintain a consistent and harmonious vertical rhythm.


These settings, predictably, contain the desired font sizes for your headings one-through-six. Again, they are set in pixels because the library will pick them up and convert them into rems later on.


This is a simple boolean to toggle between indented—as you traditionally find in print—or simply spaced—more common on the web—paragraphs.


Another boolean which will simply turn a baseline grid either on or off. The image used for the grid is provided by, and is based on the value of $typecsset-base-line-height. It will automatically update itself whenever you modify the value of $typecsset-base-line-height.


This is a library setting, and cannot/should not be modified. Your magic number—typographically speaking—is the number which underpins your vertical rhythm. This is sourced from your $typecsset-magic-number setting and will define the margins and line-heights for all typographical elements.


This is another library variable, and simply holds your magic number as a ratio of your chosen base font size.


Typecsset has a number of mixins and functions which are used to generate more verbose CSS around your own settings.


This mixin takes a pixel value for a font size and converts it into a rem-with-pixel-fallback font-size, with a unitless line-height based upon your vertical rhythm. Clever stuff!


$typecsset-base-font-size:      16px;
$typecsset-base-line-height:    24px;


.foo {
    @include typecsset-font-size(20px);


.foo {
    font-size: 20px;
    font-size: 1.25rem;
    line-height: 1.2;
  • font-size: 20px;: A pixel fallback simply lifted straight from the input into the mixin.
  • font-size: 1.25rem; A rem-based font-size for supporting browsers. This is calculated by desired font-size / base font-size = font-size in rems. 20 / 16 = 1.25.
  • line-height: 1.2;: This is a unitless value greater than 1 which, when multiplied by the element’s font-size, yields a number that is a multiple of your base line-height. It is this which keeps everything on your baseline. 1.2 * 20 = 24px.


The typecsset-space() mixin simply drops a double amount of ‘spacing’ onto a given property, e.g. padding:


$typecsset-base-line-height:    24px;

.foo {
    @include typecsset-space(margin-bottom);


.foo {
    margin-bottom: 48px;
    margin-bottom: 3rem;

This simple-looking mixin just DRYs out some repeated Typecsset functionality.


The typecsset-strip-units() function simply does as it says: it removes the units from a value that is passed into it:


.foo {
    line-height: typecsset-strip-units(1.5px);


.foo {
    line-height: 1.5;

This very useful function only gets used once—to get us our baseline grid image:


$typecsset-baseline-size: typecsset-strip-units($typecsset-magic-number);

background-image: url({$typecsset-baseline-size}); /* [3] */



A small Sass library for setting type on the web.







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