- Nanoscale surface features that mimic extracellular matrix are critical environmental cues for cell contact guidance and are vital in advanced medical devices in order to manipulate cell behaviors. Among them, nanogratings (line-and-space gratings) are common platforms to study geometric effects on cell contact guidance, especially cell alignment, but generally are one pattern height per platform. In this study, we developed a strategy to fabricate controlled substrates with a wide range of pattern shapes and surface chemistries and to separate surface chemistry and topography effects. As a demonstration of this strategy, six nanograting platforms on three materials were fabricated and applied to examine and differentiate the effects of surface topography and surface chemistry on cell contact guidance of murine preosteoblasts. All of the six platforms contained the same gradient in pattern height (0 to ≈350 nm). They were prepared using nanoimprint lithography and annealing for thermoplastic materials (low molecular weight polystyrene (PS) and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)) and photoimprint for a thermoset material (a cross-linked dimethacrylate (DMA)). Each material contains two platforms that are only different in line-and-space pitch (420 or 800 nm). The DMA nanogratings had a reverse line-and-space profile to those of the PS and PMMA nanogratings. Using these platforms, a full range of cell alignment, from randomly orientated to completely parallel to the grating direction was achieved. Results from focal adhesion assays and scanning electronic microscopy indicated a change in cell-substrate contact from a noncomposite state (full contact) to a composite state (partial contact between cell and substrate) as pattern height increased. These gradient platforms allowed for the separation of surface chemistry and surface topography to provide insight into the mechanisms responsible for cell contact guidance on nanopatterned surfaces.