Block palettes are an essential tool for efficiently building websites and web applications using page builders or website builders. They allow you to easily access and insert pre-made content blocks into your pages. The blocks contain layouts, text, images, buttons, and other elements that you can drag and drop onto the page editor. Using block palettes can save a huge amount of time compared to coding each element from scratch.
Benefits of Using Block Palettes
Here are some of the key benefits of using block palettes for web design:
- Saves time – Simply drag and drop pre-built blocks instead of coding everything yourself. This allows you to build pages much faster.
- Simplifies building – No need to code everything from scratch. The blocks have the HTML, CSS, etc. already created for you.
- Promotes consistency – Using the same blocks throughout a site leads to a consistent look and feel.
- Easy to modify – Blocks can be easily edited and customized to suit your needs.
- Reusable elements – Blocks like headers, footers, buttons, etc. can be re-used across multiple pages.
- Frontend focused – Block palettes allow you to focus on designing in the visual editor vs. coding.
- Collaboration – Multiple people can build pages more efficiently by using the same block palette.
- Future proof – If blocks are updated, changes apply everywhere they’ve been used.
For those reasons, block palettes have become an essential part of many popular page builders and CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Webflow, and more.
Common Types of Blocks
Block palettes contain a wide variety of different content blocks to add to your pages. Some of the most common block types include:
- Layout blocks – Sections, columns, headers, footers, sidebars, etc.
- Content blocks – Text, images, videos, buttons, quotes, etc.
- Data blocks – Tables, charts, price lists, feature grids, etc.
- Social blocks – Social media follow buttons, share icons, comment boxes, etc.
- Advertising blocks – Banner ads, AdSense code, etc.
- Dynamic blocks – User profile, recent posts, product carousels, etc.
- Custom blocks – Any custom elements built for reuse.
Within these common categories, you’ll find an endless array of specific block types tailored to different industries, purposes, and design aesthetics.
Structuring Block Palettes
For block palettes to be effective and easy to use, they need to be thoughtfully organized. Here are some best practices for structuring block libraries:
- Group related blocks together in categories
- Use clear naming conventions for blocks
- Show block thumbnails or previews
- Support searching and filtering of blocks
- Allow customization of blocks
- Make common blocks easy to access
- Categorize section, layout, and data blocks separately
- Include documentation for each block
Following these tips will make your block palette intuitive. Users will be able to quickly find and insert the blocks they need.
Creating Custom Blocks
In addition to using existing blocks, most block palette solutions let you create your own custom blocks. Reasons to build custom blocks include:
- Encapsulating complex designs into easy to reuse blocks
- Making client-specific elements reusable
- Creating branded blocks for common design patterns
- Building data blocks tied to external sources
- Standardizing team workflows and collaboration
Some best practices for creating reusable custom blocks include:
- Make them generalized rather than page-specific
- Avoid hard-coding content within blocks
- Parameterize elements that need to be editable
- Document how the block is intended to be used
- Ensure the block is mobile responsive
- Add configuration options if needed
Taking time to build a library of custom blocks tailored to your projects will maximize efficiency over time.
Block Palettes in WordPress
One of the most popular uses of block palettes is in WordPress website design. The WordPress block editor, also known as Gutenberg, is built around a block palette system. Here are some key things to know about using block palettes in WordPress:
- WordPress includes a default set of blocks for common elements
- Thousands of additional blocks can be added via plugins
- Popular block plugins include Atomic Blocks, Block Lab, Kadence Blocks, etc.
- Blocks can be modified and customized
- The WordPress block library is customizable
- Third-party theme builders like Elementor also offer block palettes
Here is an example of how the WordPress block palette appears within the page editor:
As you can see, the WordPress block palette allows you to easily find and insert blocks for any need. This powers the flexible page building process.
Creating Block Palettes
There are a few options for actually building a block palette system:
- Use built-in palettes in tools like WordPress or Webflow
- Create palettes using block collections plugins
- Build a custom React-based block palette
- Use a headless CMS that supports block content
When evaluating these options, consider factors like:
- Available out-of-the-box blocks
- Extensibility and customization
- Ability to create and Organize your own blocks
- Collaboration features
- Ease of use for editors
Building vs buying your block palette ultimately depends on your specific needs and technical capabilities.
In summary, block palettes provide an efficient way to build websites using reusable content elements. They simplify web design, promote consistency, encourage collaboration, and enable faster production. Most modern web building platforms now include block palettes and custom block creation capabilities. Taking the time to organize your palette and create custom blocks will maximize your efficiency as a web designer or developer.