Grid Item Animation Layout

A responsive, magazine-like website layout with a grid item animation effect that happens when opening the content.

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Today we’d like to share a simple animated grid layout with you. The responsive layout has a sidebar and grid items that animate to a larger content area when clicked. In the first demo the content area fills the grid (inspired by a concept by Virgil Pana) and in the second demo, the whole layout moves to the left while the grid item is expanding (inspired by this Dribbble shot by Sam Thibault).

The expanding element (which is a dummy element and not the grid item itself) is not animating in width and height but instead its original dimensions are already of the expanded size and we simply scale it down initially. By setting classes, we control the transitions of all the elements: the grid item elements’ disappearance and the content elements’ appearance (and vice versa when we close an opened content panel).


The layout is responsive down to mobile using a media query technique that involves setting the breakpoints based on the grid item size and the sidebar. For this we use Sass, which allows us to set these kind of variables easily. The approach we are using here is mainly mobile-first, but we also do some specific restructuring for small screens.

Please note that this layout uses some modern techniques that involve viewport units, transitions, flexbox and other properties that will only work in modern browsers.

The second demo is a bit more experimental and it might not behave as expected in all browsers. Internet Explorer seems to have some issues with transitions on transforms that use calc().

This layout is focused on the expansion effect of the grid item and many elements are simple dummies (the loader, the filter in the top bar and the “load more” in the footer of the grid).

The main markup looks as follows:

<div class="container">
	<button class="menu-toggle" id="menu-toggle" ><span>Menu</span></button>

	<div class="sidebar" id="theSidebar" >
		<button class="close-button fa fa-fw fa-close"></button>
		<!-- ... other elements ... -->

	<div class="main" id="theGrid" >

		<section class="grid">
			<header class="top-bar">
				<!-- header elements -->
			<a class="grid__item" href="#">
				<!-- preview elements -->
			<a class="grid__item" href="#">
				<!-- preview elements -->
			<!-- ... -->
			<footer class="page-meta">
				<!-- ... -->
		</section><!-- /grid -->

		<section class="content">

			<div class="scroll-wrap">
				<article class="content__item">
					<!-- content -->
				<article class="content__item">
					<!-- content -->
				<!-- ... -->

			<button class="close-button"><i class="fa fa-close"></i><span>Close</span></button>
		</section><!-- /content -->

	</div><!-- /main -->

</div><!-- /container -->

The Sass files of this project are divided into a main style file and two partials, one for the base styles and one for the media queries. Each of the demos will have a unique style Sass file (style1.scss and style2.scss) where we initiate some variable and redefine some styles if necessary (as in demo 2). There are many ways of organizing your project in Sass; this was one convenient way to do it for these two demos. If you’d like to use one of them, make sure to refactor your style declarations. If you are not familiar with Sass, you can simply use and adjust the generated CSS files.

An example for the main demo Sass file is as follows:

$item_width: 300px;
$sidebar_width: 300px;
$color_primary: #fafafa;
$color_secondary: #fff;
$color_link: #81c483;
$anim-time: 0.5s;

@import "base";
@import "mediaqueries";

The variables needed in the base and the media queries Sass files are defined here.


The media query breakpoints are defined by the amount of items we want to be visible in the grid and the sidebar (no prefixes shown):

/* Viewport sizes based on column number and sidebar */
$viewport_xs: 	$item_width + $sidebar_width; /* 1 column */
$viewport_s: 	$item_width * 2 + $sidebar_width; /* 2 columns */
$viewport_m: 	$item_width * 3 + $sidebar_width; /* 3 columns */
$viewport_l: 	$item_width * 4 + $sidebar_width; /* 4 columns */
$viewport_xl: 	$item_width * 5 + $sidebar_width; /* 5 columns */
$viewport_xxl: 	$item_width * 6 + $sidebar_width; /* 6 columns */

@media screen and (min-width: $viewport_xs) {
	.main {
		height: 100vh;

	.main {
		height: 100%;
		margin-left: $sidebar_width;

	.content__item {
		font-size: 1em;

	.grid__item {
		padding: 45px 45px 30px;

@media screen and (min-width: $viewport_s) {
	.grid {
		display: flex;
		flex-wrap: wrap;

	/* 2 columns */
	.grid__item {
		width: 50%;
		border: none;

	.grid__item::before {
		top: 5px;
		right: 5px;
		bottom: 5px;
		left: 5px;
		border: 1px solid rgba(74,74,74,0.075);
		transition: opacity 0.3s;

	.grid__item:focus::before {
		border: 3px solid rgba(129,196,131,0.5);

	.grid__item--loading.grid__item::before {
		opacity: 0;

@media screen and (min-width: $viewport_m) {
	/* 3 columns */
	.grid__item {
		width: 33.333%;

@media screen and (min-width: $viewport_l) {
	/* 4 columns */
	.grid__item {
		width: 25%;

@media screen and (min-width: $viewport_xl) {
	/* 5 columns */
	.grid__item {
		width: 20%;

@media screen and (min-width: $viewport_xxl) {
	/* 6 columns */
	.grid__item {
		width: 16.66%;

/* small screen changes for sidebar (it becomes an off-canvas menu) */
@media screen and (max-width: $viewport_xs - 1px) {
	.sidebar {
		transform: translate3d(-100%,0,0);
	.sidebar.sidebar--open {
		transform: translate3d(0,0,0);
	.sidebar.sidebar--open ~ .main {
		pointer-events: none;
	.top-bar {
		padding: 22px 15px 10px 60px;
	.menu-toggle {
		display: inline-block;
	.sidebar .close-button {
		opacity: 1;
		top: 15px;
		right: 15px;
		pointer-events: auto;
	.title--full {
		font-size: 2em;
	.content__item {
		padding: 80px 20px 40px;
	.close-button {
		padding: 10px 20px;
	.close-button::before {
		content: '';
		position: absolute;
		top: 0;
		right: 0;
		background: $color_secondary;
		border-bottom: 1px solid $color_primary;
		width: 100vw;
		height: 50px;
		pointer-events: none;
		z-index: -1;

This technique can come in handy when dealing with grid layouts. Optimally, we’d not have that last media query at all if we want to strictly follow a mobile-first approach. But since these styles are exclusively valid only for small screens, we don’t want to be redefining and overwriting styles for larger screens.

Have a look at the layout and the effect and dig into the source, we really hope you find this template useful and inspiring!

Credits: Mockups by Firmbee

Tagged with:

Mary Lou

ML is a freelance web designer and developer with a passion for interaction design. She studied Cognitive Science and Computational Logic and has a weakness for the smell of freshly ground peppercorns.

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  1. Great Tutorial, really love it – as I also love all the other tutorials from you guys.

    But would it be possible to have such kind of Quickfacts for your tutorials? About Browser Compatibility, used technologies and such? That would be really awesome.

    Many thanks and keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Mary Lou, thank you for that great work!
    I just managed to connect this code to my Blogspot feed and build a site from this.
    Works very well. Love the concept.

    • Me again… I see that in Firefox there is an issue with the close button due to a very long delay until the closing sequence starts… Any idea how to solve this?

  3. Nice Effect. Any idea how to make the next previous to work ? I’m not good in jquery 🙂

    • Integrate this code into a wordpress theme and use wordpress’ next/previous code.

  4. how to set our footer fixed because if i use this grid layout then sidebar animated layout move over the footer and also tell me how to open the content in full screen in right side

  5. Hi, i was going through your code on main.js, one thing i didn’t understand is how, the placeholder expands when you add transform’s translate3d style on placeholder div under setTimeout function ? Basically i couldn’t get how it helps on expanding the div when there is no code to expand the div.. here is the code snippet that i didn’t understand under main.js

    setTimeout(function() { // expands the placeholder = 'translate3d(-5px, ' + (scrollY() - 5) + 'px, 0px)'; = 'translate3d(-5px, ' + (scrollY() - 5) + 'px, 0px)'; // disallow scroll window.addEventListener('scroll', noscroll); }, 25);

  6. Suggest the upper right corner of the button to turn a few laps, the color can be set into a green, the current closure is really not so conspicuous.

  7. While looking at this, I noticed the content loads in the same order it is in the Grid Area as the Content Area. Meaning Grid Item 3 loads Content Item 3.

    Is there anyway this can be changed to have ID’s so it does not matter the order they are in the Content or Grid area? Looking into using this Grid however I want a Sort option and that would not work with the current set up.

  8. Hi, I found bug in you’r example.
    When I choose an article and datas is loaded, I click into a text to focus there, then I trying navigate by keyboard and press button “END” firstable, then press button “HOME”, then I close current article by button “X” (close). And when I going back to contents the hover effect animate very slow… Well I choose another any article and then I trying navigate by mouse, down and up, and when I return to contents page hover effect works normal.

  9. How do I change the green border that appears around grid items upon hovering? I’ve been digging through the code for a while and have not had any luck. Please advise!

  10. Thanks for sharing this tutorial.
    The result looks incredible!

    I developed a project named chewing-grid.css that use flexbox too.
    You should use it for this kind of grid layout, it will save you from writing the media-queries.
    The cell will automatically adapt the column number according to 3 constraints: the maximum number of columns, the minim and maximum card width.


  11. I really can’t say much about this design. It’s extremely sick!!!WOW
    Who is Mary Lou???

  12. Truly Amazing. I will use this concept on my personal blog theme. Again thanks for sharing.

  13. Hello I really love your work and can’t say enough about it but I always have trouble trying to get your scripts to work. Is there any easy tutorial you might have to help m e out. I use WordPress for all my build sites. Thanks so much

  14. Hello.

    I liked this layout, can I built wordpress theme with this layout. Of cource it will be free..

  15. How would you make the grids dynamic so it reads the data from a DB and displays the grid items dynamically based on the number of records in a table?

  16. Hi there! Thanks for sharing this with us. I used your code to create my WordPress portfolio. It goes very well but sometimes, when I load project, on my sidebar images flash for a sec. Like when the grid is moving to the left and it happens a moment before new sidebar is loaded. It happens just sometimes, I have no idea why.

    I used second version of your project and you can check my site here