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Proportion vs Scale

 , updated on June 23, 2017
Proportion is the relative size of parts of a whole. The classic example is the relative size of parts of your face such as eyes and nose.
Scale is the relative size of separate elements such as a person compared to a building.

Proportion & Scale

Proportion and scale are art terms that are applicable to many types of design including a visual design such as a graphic and physical design such as a building or product.
It is common to adopt the design principle that proportion and scale reflect the real world. In other words, that the size of each element should look natural relative to all other elements in the design. Where a design has depth, elements further away are smaller.

Human Scale

Physical things are normally designed to human scale. This means that things are designed to a size that is useful for people.
Human scale applies to things directly used by people, such as a spoon. Large scale infrastructure such as a dam can also be designed to human scale. For example, a dam might have doors, tunnels and other features design for maintenance crews.
A road is designed to human scale because most roads are structured to support the width of cars. Cars in turn are designed to seat two or three people comfortably side by side in each row. If people were 10 meters wide, roads would be wider too.
Proportion vs Scale
Proportion
Scale
Definition
The relative size of parts.
The relative size of independent elements.

First Principles

This is the complete list of articles we have written about first principles.
Arrow Of Time
Art For Art's Sake
Keep It Small
KISS Principle
Ban The Average
Least Astonishment
Big Picture
Rationalism
Business As Usual
Worse Is Better
Causality
Complexity Hiding
Do No Harm
Equilibrium
Fit For Purpose
Form Follows Function
Form Follows Nature
Genius Loci
Inertia
Interchangeable Parts
Keep It Simple Stupid
Less Is A Bore
Less Is More
More Is Different
Path Of Least Resistance
Preserving Ambiguity
Think Global, Act Local
More ...
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