Icon fonts are great because they are flexible and fast loading. Using a single font and CSS, you can create countless graphical variations that would normally require the use of an equally countless collection of bulky and non-scalable images. Combined with HTML elements, these icons can even turn into beautiful buttons like the download link above!
The 960 Grid System is an effort to streamline web development workflow by providing commonly used dimensions, based on a width of 960 pixels. There are two variants: 12 and 16 columns, which can be used separately or in tandem. Read more.
The 12-column grid is divided into portions that are 60 pixels wide. The 16-column grid consists of 40 pixel increments. Each column has 10 pixels of margin on the left and right, which create 20 pixel wide gutters between columns. View demo.
The premise of the system is ideally suited to rapid prototyping, but it would work equally well when integrated into a production environment. There are printable sketch sheets, design layouts, and a CSS file that have identical measurements.
Sprite Cow is another one which is open source and works very effective by auto-recognizing the different elements inside a single image.
So, you design the sprite image in your favorite imaged editing application, upload it to Sprite Cow and simply click (or click + drag) on each element to get their width, height and background-position as a CSS rule.