Designing Information Material 4(1+3)

Lesson 2: Principles of Design


Proportion is the comparison of dimensions or distribution of forms. It is the relationship in scale between one element and another, or between a whole object and one of its parts. Differing proportions within a composition can relate to different kinds of balance or symmetry, and can help establish visual weight and depth. It is about realistic relationship or ratio. As an illustration, the ideal human proportion is eight heads high and the shoulders are two heads wide so artists can change these relationships or proportions for dramatic or comic effect or to emphasise a feature or quality. In cartoons the head and hands are emphasised by enlarging them beyond realistic scale.


In the below examples, notice how the smaller elements seem to recede into the background while the larger elements come to the front.


Last modified: Friday, 27 April 2012, 7:21 AM