Size and Proportion in Web Graphics. Proportioning examples | WebReference

Size and Proportion in Web Graphics. Proportioning examples

  Proportioning examples

Link 1:  Contax Cameras: This is a lens to drop
When I loaded the home page of, I was struck by the disproportion between the large image of a photographic lens on the left and the rest of the images and text blocks.  Not that you can't use large images and small navigation labels; it's just a matter of "why," the imperative that all size relations be logically justified (even if this logic is only subconsciously perceived).  

  Such large visuals usually play the role of a background or a "mood-setting" image and carry no critical information.  Obviously setting a "photographic mood" was the designer's intention in this case, but I can't say it was done efficiently.  As a background, this image is way too bright, contrasting, and sharp. It attracts viewers' eyes to the left side of the page instead of leading them to the right pane with the main copy.  The only feature that clearly suggests this image's ancillary role is that it is cut on its left by the window frame, but this cropping is too artificial and asymmetric. It feels like I need to scroll to the left to see the entire photo.

The immediate result of this single design flaw is that the page feels uneasy in the browser window. Despite the fact that it stretches nicely when you maximize the window, it always looks unbalanced.  Now, try to screen off the left frame with another window or a piece of paper; you'll be amazed to see how the page suddenly acquires a focus (that slideshow image in the center), and all labels and text blocks happily arrange around that center.

What is more interesting for us now, in this amputated form the page gets a common size scale, a meaningful system of size relations. The labels at the top don't look too small any more (in fact, they're stylized for the labels on camera lenses and bodies, which are never big), and the slideshow image definitely becomes "bigger"---just big enough to bind all the other elements into a balanced whole.



For another example, see this page on the site of Braun AG. [This example page is no longer available - Ed.] Even for a web page, it is really small in absolute measurements, but it's so well balanced that you couldn't care less about its size.  The small animated slideshow GIFs are scattered around and at the same time, contrastingly, tightly bound together (using the now popular lines theme), while the proportion of "the lab" against the other elements is just perfect for making it the composition center without dominating and overwhelming its surroundings.

Link 2:  Braun Lab: It's not "small," it's fine

  The creator of that page knew that our eye tends to perceive a thing as more compact and even "compressed" when it is symmetric, so the carefully measured dose of asymmetry is vital for this miniature page.  The Braun logo and menu bar positioned on the left, plus the "center of gravity" of the slideshows lying beneath the "lab" heading, give the page a look which is both stable and dynamic.  The only thing I could suggest is to center the entire composition horizontally within the browser window (this is recommended for nearly any page unless it is bound to a non-tiling background image), although in this case it might be undesirable to move the menu off its leftmost position.  

Created: Nov. 22, 1997
Revised: Nov. 22, 1997