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React grid system using Emotion & Styled System

At some point, every developer has worked with a front-end framework. Whether it be Bootstrap, Material, or Tailwind, they each come with their own grid system. After years of building component libraries for Amazon, American Express, and Spotify, I find the cleanest implementation to be using Styled System with Emotion or Styled Components.

I'm using this pattern with my website that is open source but created a simplified repository with only the required dependencies.


I included basic snapshots for each component and a single test to make sure that child content is rendering correctly. The ultimate intent is to demonstrate the testing utils that help with using Emotion's ThemeProvider.


Two general utility components that render as div's by default, but extend the Style System's API for Color, Flexbox, Layout, and Spacing.

<Box backgroundColor='blue' my={{ _: 3, md: 2 }} order='2'>...</Box>
<Flex alignContent='center' justifyContent='center'>...</Flex>

I prefer the pattern of being explicit with the nesting structure. Container and Col extend the Box component with some additional styling, and Row extends Flex.

All components support both single numeric value (<Col span={6}>...</Col>) and passing an object of breakpoints (<Col span={{ _: 6, md: 4, lg: 3 }}>...</Col>). View the Storybook docs for more examples.

 <Container fluid>
    # basic usage
    <Col span={{ sm: '6', md: '4', xl: '3' }}>...</Col>

    # auto
    <Col span="auto">...</Col>

    # order
    <Col order={{ sm: 1, md: 2 }}>...</Col>

    # offset
    <Col offset={2} span={4}>...</Col>

Customize Theme

In the styles directory, there is a basic theme.js file. Here you can configure the breakpoints, number of columns, and gutter width. It follows the same pattern as Bootstrap, but changing these values is all that's required to get working.

export const theme = { ... };

  using Styled System variants requires an array of 
  breakpoints, aliases added for ease of use
const breakpoints = ['576px', '768px', '992px', '1200px', '1400px'];
theme.breakpoints = breakpoints;
theme.breakpoints.xs = '0';
] = breakpoints;

theme.grid = {
  columns: 12,
  gutter: '24px',
  maxWidth: theme.breakpoints.xxl,

If you run into any issues, feel free to open an issue or email me questions at [email protected].


Published on 2020-07-27

Word count 390

Read time 2 minutes

#dev, #react, #emotion, #styledsystem,