How I Try to Explain the Issue of Aspect Ratio
No, you can't just "crop it to fit" (┛ಠ_ಠ)┛彡┻━┻
In This Post:
What is aspect ratio
Why I need people to understand it
An attempt at illustrating the problem
Aspect ratio is the proportional relationship between a rectangle’s width and height.
In graphic design, it determines the canvas size of an image. Posting to Instagram? It should be a 1:1 ratio. Posting to Twitter? It’ll look best at 2:1. Making a PowerPoint slide? 16:9.
Most people assume an image that doesn’t fit one of these ratios can simply be cropped or enlarged to fit. While this might not be a big deal for a photo, for a graphic design asset, it’s a really big deal. You’ll either lose information or get stuck with gaping white space at the sides.
How do I explain this, in an easily understandable way? I just tried to, and it took two paragraphs and I’m not even sure it did the job.
Given enough motivation and shower time, I can almost always come up with a good metaphor for anything. But this one still has me stumped. (If you have heard a good analogy for this problem, though, please let me know!)
The Solution I Crafted
So I made this handy diagram, which I hope does a passable job of explaining the issue. At least better than a wall of words can.
A good designer will always ask before they even begin, what size the image needs to be.
This is why. I'd much rather design it on the correct-sized canvas rather than try to fix make it fit into a different size later.