Proportion is the relationship between two or more elements in a design, particularly the size and scale of them. When things are "proportionate”, it means there’s a coordination between them that makes the design look aesthetically pleasing.
For example, when you’re reading a blog post you expect headings to be larger than the body text. Or if you were looking at a realistic drawing of a tortoise and a hare, you expect the hare to be larger than the tortoise.
Proportion is about finding harmony between two elements. You want to make sure things look “right”— that the elements look as if they belong together.
This is something that comes up when creating digital assets and websites online. It’s the bane of many an amateur designer’s existence. Here are a few tips for keeping the elements in your design in proportion:
- Assemble elements that are identical or share a function.
- Establish major and minor areas in the design to prevent monotony and boredom.
- Ensure size variations are subtle (unless the objective is emphasis.)
- Avoid separating the composition into halves, quarters, and thirds.
- Try to keep a sense of balance.
You can also play with proportions in a variety of ways to emphasise elements or get a certain message across. It’s a strategy you’ll notice advertisements do often and is usually best used for more creative projects.