Product Design Lessons

Intro to Foundation  |   Lesson #8

How to Keep Your Foundation-based Site From Looking Like Everyone Else

Learn how all sites that use a grid don’t have to look like each other.

We’re sometimes asked in our Intro to Foundation course if using Foundation makes websites look the same. They don’t. Any site that uses Foundation — or any framework — can look like whatever its designer feels is best for the project. We keep Foundation’s default styles to a minimum for that very reason. Don’t worry about looking like someone else. Instead, focus on looking like you. Here are three tips to making your Foundation-based site stand out.

1. Don’t worry about aligning your containers to the grid. Align landmarks instead.

look for lines in art, not edges of the image canvas

Above: Matching a block of text to the left edge of an image may be technically correct, but aligning text to the Yeti’s torso makes the text a better visual fit.

2. If your site has long pages, establish rhythm with each section’s header.

Think of headings as chapters in a book. No matter what else happens in the text, chapter titles formatted the same way help “reset” users — they’re a visual beat.

sample heading rhythm

Above: No matter what happens per section, consistent grids in the header maintain a sense of order.

3. Carry through a signature.

A signature is a unique motif — usually a combination of design elements like type, color and space.

Color palette: Not only list colors, but how they’re used.

Typography: Type is the voice of text. Decide in what tone you want to speak.


Above: Images from use more than the same colors. Hand-drawn dashed lines, dotted lines and loops create energetic rhythm. Extra curls in the text reinforce the occasional loops.

About the instructor


Ben Gremillion is a Design Writer at ZURB. He started his career in newspaper and magazine design, saw a digital future, and learned HTML in short order. He facilitates the ZURB training courses.