A-Z Popular Blog Design Search »
Related Guides

Proportion vs Scale

 , updated on
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
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
Business As Usual
Worse Is Better
Complexity Hiding
Do No Harm
Fit For Purpose
Form Follows Function
Form Follows Nature
Genius Loci
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 ...
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.

Design Principles

A list of design principles.

Ban The Average

Why averages are counterproductive for design.

Fit For Purpose

A way to define the ideal level of quality.

Principle Of Least Astonishment

An overview of the Principle Of Least Astonishment.

Preserving Ambiguity

Overview of preserving ambiguity.

Form Follows Function

An overview of form follows function with examples.

Principle Of Least Effort

An overview of a common design and marketing principle.

Examples Of Design Principles

A definition of design principles with examples.


An overview of common learnability principles.


The definition of elegance with examples.


A comprehensive guide to design.

Design Flaw

The common types of design flaw.

Design Constraints

The common types of design constraint.

Information Scent

The common types of information scent.

Design Unity

The common types of design unity.

Product Experience

The common types of product experience.

Ease Of Use

The definition of ease of use with examples.


The common elements of typography.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map