Why are image proportions important in your design project?

Everything you put in front of a potential customer leaves them with an impression of your business.  So you want your marketing materials to look professional so customers and prospects have a positive impression of your business.  The best way to do that is to hire a professional designer.  Designer will produce a creative and polished piece that will leave customers with the best impression of your business.  But let’s face it, due to budget or timing reasons we can’t always use a professional designer.   So this article and the ones to follow will give you a few suggestions as to what you can do to make your designs look as professional as possible.

Having been in the printing business for the last 20 years, we at Jiffy Photo and Print have seen all sorts of projects with all sorts of problems.  These articles will sum up the most common problems we see and provide suggestions as to how to correct them.  Future articles will discuss fonts, margins, bleeds and more.This month the topic is image proportions.  We see a lot of jobs come in with photos or logos stretched out of proportion; normally you should not stretch a photo and particularly a corporate logo out of proportion.  So what are proportions?


To size the image in proportion you need to scale the height and the width by the same amount.  let’s say you have a photo that is 4 x 6′ you can shrink that image to 2 x 3: (4 divided by 2 and 6 divided by 2).  Since we cut both the 4 and the 6 dimensions by 2 we kept the proportions the same.

If however, you need to take this rectangular image and fit it into a 4 x 4 square spot.  There are two ways to do that:

  1.                                 Shrink it in proportion (see Figure 1) and not fill the space.  In this example we have kept the proportions the same so we sized the picture to 4″ tall but the width is only 2.6″.  The gray on the sides of the pictures is what needs to be added to fill the 4 x 4″ square

fig 1

2)   crop it by cutting 2″ out of the 6″ dimensions.  In Figure 2 we cropped the photo (cut 2″ off the bottom).  This fill the 4 x 4 space completely and in this case doesn’t adversely affect the photo.                                                                                Fig 2


Fig 3

Fig 3

In some cases you might not be able to cut 2” out of a photo without losing an important aspect of the image.  In this case you may have to squish it out of proportion to fill the space by distorting the image.  This is not what you normally want to do especially with a photo like our example – as you can see in Figure 3 the man is visible distorted.  This is also a bad idea with corporate logos because many large companies have branding guides which specifically prohibit distorting their logo.Crop it by cutting 2″ out of the 6″ dimension.  In Figure 2 we cropped the photo (cut 2″ off the bottom).  This fills the 4 x 4 space completely and in this case doesn’t adversely affect the photo. As you can see keeping the proper proportions of an image are important so try not to distort images unless you have no choice.

I hope you have found this helpful.  Next time we will talk about bleeds and safe area in your print project.

If you have any question regarding image proportions or other printing related topics contact Mark Vermeer at Jiffy Photo and Print, 420 Hazeldean Road in Kanata – www.JiffyPhotoAndPrint.com  or info@jiffyphotoandprint.com.  We are a full service print company with 20 + years of experience in the printing industry we have a full time Graphics Designer on staff to help you with your projects and can handle all of your printing needs from simple copies to books, flyers, sales literature, banners and small signage to trade show displays and much more.

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