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I am having a hard to figure out what are the right proportions between a rectangular and a circular shapes and how to horizontally align them. These two shapes are two icons but they always look wrong to me. I wonder if there is a clear rule to avoid perception influence and align and size them right.

Example of aligning shapes

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It's hard to help you here if you don't include an example or an image of what you're talking about here – Yi Jiang Mar 1 '11 at 10:57
I always align different shapes to the exact center. Only way to do it if it's the same size but a different shape imo. – Kyle Mar 1 '11 at 11:22
As it stands there seems to be a mix of (1) a specific question about horizontal alignment of those two shapes (2) a general question about sizing and alignment of two classes of shapes. I think for this to be answerable within the SE schema, you need to focus down to a single question. – e100 Mar 1 '11 at 11:59
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I think you are asking about the graphical implementation of an overshoot, commonly used in typography. In short, overshoot is added to letters like A and O (pointy or round—like circle in your example) to visually make them look the same height as f.ex. H and X ("flat", rectangle-like).

The sources of the Wikipedia article suggest overshoot of 1–3 % or 5 % for O. Keep in mind these are suggestions for typefaces and differ from font to font. You're better of trying different ratios and choosing one that is the most æsthetically pleasing in your opinion. Of course you could use the given percents as a starting point.

In practice:

  1. Align your rectangle and circle by their centers
  2. Choose a ratio—say, 5 %
  3. Resize the circle by its center using double the value you've chosen (ie. 10 % in this example) as in typography the 5 % is added only vertically with the baseline as pivot point.
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Yes, I am looking for something like this but I don't get why you want me to resize the circle back to its size (step 4) – piede Mar 1 '11 at 12:56
@piede true, me neither. Must've been a brainfart of some sort. – koiyu Mar 1 '11 at 13:00

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