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Footprints & aspect ratios

These often-overlooked design factors can influence the use of a logo forever

The aspect ratio of your logo is the relationship between the height and width, and the ‘footprint’ (the physical boundaries that are required for reproduction) of the design. A logo that is too tall and skinny, or too wide and short, is not visually pleasing, and you’ll end up with all sorts of layout issues when it comes to setting up your logo in artwork, especially when combined with other graphic elements (ie: business card, brochure design, web sites, etc) or when using it on website & blog headers.

Different aspect ratios

Horizontal aspect ratios are handy when it comes to reproducing a logo as part of a web banner. A logo that is closer to a ‘golden mean’ (almost the aspect relationship of a business card) is much more pleasing and more adaptable to working in other artwork. Circle logos are very strong visually due to their ‘square aspect ratio’.

Horizontal logo footprint

It is also important to keep in mind ‘trailing elements’ of your logo – that is, parts of your logo that extend beyond the main image area. Take a look at the Links logo, designed by The Logo Factory®, above. This example from our logo design portfolio features a large trailing element (the star) that extends beyond the main area of the design. This trailing element affects the logo’s footprint and aspect ratio quite dramatically and affects the size of the logo when used in artwork where the width of the logo is a factor (as it happens, this logo was designed for a very specific sign usage so the aspect ratio and footprint were considered quite deliberately). Let’s take a look at another logo, this one with square aspect ratio and more orthodox footprint.

Square logo footprint

As we can see, the Sight Effects design can reproduce at a much larger size when width is the determining factor on the size of the logo. As the footprint of this logo is practically, square, it is extremely adaptable for most uses.

Logo Footprint

The ‘footprint’ (the physical boundaries that are required for reproduction) of your logo design is often overlooked when inexperienced designers are developing their first logos. Using a footprint effectively is sometimes key to a logos success. Simply put, you can imagine your new logo’s footprint as a bounding box around the minimum area needed to reproduce your logo. Let’s take a look at the Links logo again.

Horizontal logo footprint

The trailing ‘star’ element affects the logo’s footprint quite dramatically and affects the size of the logo when used in artwork where the width of the logo is a factor. Let’s once again take a look at the Sight Effects logo, a design with a more orthodox footprint.

Square logo footprint

As we can see, the Sight Effects logo can reproduce at a much bigger size (when width is the determining factor). While there are certainly no hard and fast rules when it comes to company logos and their footprints, it is certainly something to think about in the initial design phases.

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