Do I choose the CSS framework first before designing the website mockups? Or is it the opposite. What if I finish designing the mockups, but the css framework isn't a perfect fit ?. Should I first look for a CSS framework that suits my requirements first, then work around it to create mockups?.

How do you handle this issue?

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    The two stages are really separate. Mockups are done first, then implementation, including selection of CSS, etc. CSS frameworks are rarely a "perfect fit", but this is okay, as you can customise them. If you constrain your design process to fit a specific CSS framework, without expecting customisation, you will likely end up with a less good result. Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 11:09

2 Answers 2


It's a good question for those starting out in design & Front-end development. Personally, I found a CSS framework I understood code wise. At the time this was Bootstrap 2. From their documentation, they explain the column, gutters and container widths used by this framework. From this, I was then able to download or create a design template using 12 columns based on these measurements. You start to know when a breakpoint take effect. Over time you learn what areas of your design you may find challenging to code, what to avoid and equally what to embrace. Then after gaining experience your coding can get so good that you no longer need to use a CSS framework for everything. I now design what ever I like as I can always code it.

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    People are shocked to learn that the company I founded 14 years ago has never used a framework of any kind and doesn't need to. We're never boxed in by other people's code or constraints.
    – Rob
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 14:07
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    @Rob Good call. I've been building complex web-applications for Enterprise clients since the 90's and the only framework/library I use is jQuery. Important addition to your comment is never boxed in by other people's bugs. Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 17:32

Normally with a UX process you would design the mockups first and choose your framework based on the designs.

However it is possible that there are technical constraints imposed by the engineers or existing infrastructure. In that case as a designer you would keep that in mind whilst making the designs.

In your case, you can do either. In smaller teams it makes sense to design with your team's coding abilities in mind. It's a tradeoff, potentially better UX vs easier development.

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