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Motherplate: A Responsive SCSS Boilerplate for Web Designers


What is this?

This is a bare bones HTML/CSS framework. This is what I'll typically start off most web projects with.

It includes a CSS reset and a bunch of minimal boilerplate styles that should come in useful for any project, including a responsive grid, typography, buttons, icons and forms.

It is not as in depth as something like HTML5 Boilerplate and doesn't include styled components like Bootstrap.

It can be used for a static web project as is, or you can copy the CSS folder into an existing framework (e.g. Rails).


  • Uses SCSS partials to help structure the CSS.
  • Responsive-ready 12-column grid system to work across all devices.
  • Uses Font Awesome icon fonts for icons.
  • Uses Normalize to reset browser styles.
  • Only enough CSS to get you started; minimal visual styling with this boilerplate.
  • Only the HTML/JS you need to get started; very little components with this boilerplate.

How to Use

This will vary depending on the framework you are using. The following is how to for a basic static website.

Install Node.js and use Grunt

Motherplate uses SCSS. This particular repo uses Grunt to compile the SCSS to CSS and NPM to manage external dependencies like FontAwesome and Normalize.

You will need Node.js.

Open up terminal (or command line) and run the default Grunt task.

$ npm install
$ grunt

Grunt will watch for any changes you make to your SCSS files and compile your new main.css file.


A bare bones index.html template.


  • base/config Put all your variables in here e.g. colors, padding, border radius - this helps with consistency across your project.
  • base/grid A basic responsive grid system with 12 columns.
  • base/ie Any styles that you need to add in order for Internet Explorer to work.
  • base/mixins Reusabled Sass mixins e.g. clearfix.
  • base/print Basic print stylesheets to make your pages look better when printed.
  • base/responsive Add any global responsive styles here e.g. hide elements, show elements, resize elements.
  • base/shame Keep this to hand for any quick and dirty CSS you need to add but plan to tidy later.
  • base/type Basic styling for your typography.
  • components/alerts Alerts to notify or give feedback to the user
  • components/buttons Styles for any text links and/or buttons.
  • components/forms Some basic form styles.
  • components/media Styles for images, video etc.
  • components/nav Inline navigation.
  • components/other Other reusable styles that come in handy.
  • components/tables Styles for tables.
  • pages/home Styles that are specific to the homepage
  • pages/layout Global layout styles e.g. header, footer, logo etc.
  • main.scss This brings all the partials together.

As your project grows and you need to add more styles just create new .scss files and reference them anywhere in your main.scss file.


  • I've included some basic Javascript including the latest jQuery and the document ready function.


  • There is a /img folder for images.
  • For images referenced in the CSS I tend to keep them in the css/assets/ folder e.g. sp.png is a sprite I can reference.
  • Images referenced in the HTML are stored in the /img folder.


  • Included font awesome for icons

Further Documentation