I am currently in the process of creating a logo for myself, within Photoshop. I know many may say that using Illustrator or Vector may be better but I am using the logo as an opportunity to learn more about Photoshop.

I understand that there are no 'standard dimensions' for logos, since the logo dimensions will be influenced by its purpose.

The logo will primarily be required for:

  • Website & Favicon
  • Social Media Channels: Profile and Hero/Headers
  • Stationery

With the above in mind, I am under the impression that I would need to create a logo to factor in each of the above dimensions. Over time, I will end up having a lot of files for various purposes.

Is this the 'best practice' or is there a way to create 1 or 2 (primary and secondary for example) logos which scale up and down as is necessary for each of the above?

I have heard about the use of proportions over dimensions. Would this be a better approach? If so, how would I go about the use of proportions? For example, say I open a new File in Photoshop, what dimensions would I insert, when thinking about the proportions approach?

If proportions was the better approach, how would I establish the correct proportions, as to ensure they fit the various purposes, outlined above?

Note: I understand how to work out proportions. For example: 600px by 300px would be 1:2 and 900px by 300px would be 1:3 etc. Where I am uncertain, is the application of proportions and any best practices which should be considered, when working with dimensions and/or proportions.

5 Answers 5

  • Photoshop is a bad place to start. It's not a matter of "people thinking" it's better to use Illustrator, it's really the only way to ensure you create a proper file for a logo. If you fail to use Illustrator, it is inevitable that at some point you will have to recreate any logo as a vector file.. i.e. Illustrator, Inkscape or some other vector based application, never Photoshop. If you use things like the filters in Photoshop, you may find it impossible to recreate those appearances in a vector-based application. In short, don't use Photoshop for designing logos!!!!
  • Designing a logo isn't the time to "learn about Photoshop". You should focus on the logo, not on "tricks" or learning tools/features within an inappropriate application. If you want to play around and learn Photoshop, then that's fine.. play around. It's not the right time to design a logo though. At least not any logo you actually want to use anywhere.

If you really are interested in designing a viable, well formatted, logo....

  • Start with a pencil and a piece of paper for the design. Only after exploring hand-drawn sketches and determining you have a couple solid directions to "flesh out" do you move to any computer software.
  • When you're ready to move to a digital image, start in Illustrator and ignore Photoshop with it's raster format entirely. It's pointless to design a logo using Photoshop 99.9% of cases, if not 100%.
  • Proportion or dimension should mean nothing when designing things such as logos. The focus should be on the message and how you can convey that in small iconography or a pleasing image. You should be free to draw what seems "right" to you. Later you can worry about various dimensions.

By limiting yourself so greatly - What software, what size, what proportions - all you are doing is ensuring you won't create a logo you feel really good about. To be more creative you need to remove these restrictions and brainstorm to get as many ideas as you can out.. then you start refining with things like proportion in mind. And only after settling on a design do you ever worry about dimensions.

To clarify.....

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Rough draft
  3. Comprehensive draft
  4. Experimentation --- For a logo neither proportion or dimension matter during design. Once you've settled on a design, or feel you've got a solid footing then you may want to experiment with variations based upon different proportions.. how does the logo look if I try and stack it... what about if I make it horizontal... that sort of thing. It's all exploratory to find the best possible image. Then, much like Google variations, you can start to experiment with ideas based upon proportion... such as....
    • "What if I just use the symbol for a favicon/social media icon?"
    • "How can I simplify the design to its bare minimum?"
    • "How can I condense the name to just an initial or two and still convey the overall brand?"

It's here where you start to consider the overall shape or proportions of the image as a variation for use in specific instances but not as the basis for the primary design.

The gist is that proportion is the last thing to consider. It's a means to display in a specific instance, it shouldn't be the driving factor for logo design.

Imagine if all the old Master painters started every painting thinking.... "How should I paint this so it looks good on a postage stamp?" Everything they painted would be square and relatively detail free so it appears great at 1 inch big. Imagine if every designer in the world all specifically designed for a favicon first.... how horrible would it be to only ever see square or round logos?

Starting with proportion and dimensions only makes sense for designs specifically targeted for a process. i.e. a trifold brochure... you know it has to be a specific size and there are specific proportions created by the reproduction process. Or a business card.. you know it has a very specific size and only 2 possible proportion variations. So starting from that point is a restriction you must adhere to. Logos will appear everywhere on everything. There's no need to restrict any logo to any specific proportion.

All that being posted... if you ONLY want a square logo.. then okay.. go design a square logo. It's art and it's not like some design regulation committee is going to penalize you because you want a square so that's what you design for. I just know my best logo work only comes when I feel free to create whatever is working well... then I adjust for specific uses. It is much easier in my opinion to alter a logo or create a variation for an icon and retain branding than it is to restrict branding design to only rudimentary shapes (square, circle, hexagon, triangle). Few of the world's fantastic logos fit that restriction.


I would not design a logo with either a specific proportion or dimension in mind. There are countless possibilities for where a logo can end up that I would say it is pointless to assume that your logo will be used for a specific size.

However some companies do have their logo in different formats. A company can have variations of 1 logo that is suitable for vertical or horizontal orientation. Some people will specify that they will want you to use their horizontal logo as the primary logo and use the vertical logo when appropriate. A vertical logo is sometimes referred to as a stacked logo. Where the graphic element is on the top and written text below the logo, sometimes on multiple lines if there is a lot of text.

There isn't really a best practice for a specific ratio or size, that is why most logos are in vector format. For size I would probably design a logo around 2,000px but I highly recommend you just created the logo in a vector program.

  • Thanks for your answer. You say "I would not design a logo with either a specific proportion or dimension in mind". Couldn't this cause problems when applying the logo from the website to, say, a Social Media Profile image, since the dimensions will likely be different. At first thoughts, I was under the impression that logos should be created with specific purposes in mind.
    – Craig
    Jan 19, 2018 at 0:43

A couple of quick ideas:

  • use Illustrator and thank us later. this also takes 'dimensions' out of the equation since vector logos can have any dimension
  • a business card works with any possible logo you can imagine, but the web part can have restrictions. even when transparent, favicons are generally square (width = height) so make sure your logo or any symbol you include can be made into a favicon
  • ignore all the 'best practice', 'top 20' drive-traffic-to-my-blog-type articles and just do a logo you like. check out some existing logos (no affiliation) and see how others are looking at the dimensions vs. proportions situation
  • 1
    Thanks for your answer. I have not yet installed Illustrator but thank you for the pointer. How does Illustrator deal with dimensions? Are you saying that images, created in Illustrator, can be scaled up and down without the 'stretched' and 'squashed' look? Thank you for the link.
    – Craig
    Jan 19, 2018 at 0:49
  • Yeah you can scale AI artwork up and down and generate any dimension or format without any quality loss. In Photoshop, you do a logo at 1000 pixels, then scale it up, there will be quality loss. Plus AI works better with shapes and fonts.
    – Lucian
    Jan 19, 2018 at 6:26
  • You cannot scale a small design up and have it look good unless the 16px version works at 120px also (it almost always does not). Vector means scalable but design is not scalable. Bigger images need more detail, smaller images need less detail. Try making a perfect 16 pixel ying yang, checker board, even a circle, they break at larger sizes.
    – Webster
    Jan 19, 2018 at 21:40

Craig, I see you're struggling with the various answers because you feel like you're not being heard. Here's the issue: You're going at this backwards.

With the above in mind, I am under the impression that I would need to create a logo to factor in each of the above dimensions. Over time, I will end up having a lot of files for various purposes.

Yes, you are correct to note that "a logo for a favicon has to look good at 16px" and so on.

But "making sure I have something to use for a favicon" is Item 25 on your Logo Design Checklist. It's NOT Item 3.

What you are doing is saying "I need to make sure my car is yellow so I can find it in a parking lot" before you've even decided if you need a car or truck or motorcycle, what brand, compact/sedan/minivan/pickup, your budget, and a sunroof. The paint color is just not important if you don't know yet if you're getting a smart4two or a Nissan Avalanche. And you won't know what you need until you figure out your budget and you test-drive vehicles.

I agree that "Can I reduce this to a favicon? Can I make this work on letterhead?" should be at least on your radar when you're in Illustrator designing. But it should NOT be part of your initial sketches on paper. That's what Scott is trying to explain.

Yes, you will, at some point, need to create a variation or a version of your logo for different uses. Some may be stripped down of color, or a different dimension than your original logo. I promise that this is okay.

There is absolutely no problem with starting with a circular logo and then taking one wee element out of it to use for a favicon. There is no problem with starting with a rectangular logo and restacking it to use on the web. And so on.

In short, you are prioritizing the wrong end of the design process.

  • 1
    Thank you for your insight @Lauren Ipsum. Much appreciated.
    – Craig
    Jan 21, 2018 at 1:54

Proportions are a key consideration in logo design and any design.

Favicons and other icons should be squarish. Squarish allows balanced integration into many layouts. Icon holders are square. If you don't fill the square there will be blank space. A favicon is very small without a lot of room to spare. That is why I recommend a square-ish shape for your logo.

The three uses you mention can all use a square-ish logo

A logo in a banner may be wider, or even tall and narrow. Remember proportion and shape convey meaning and affect balance.

Wide and flat shapes lend a feel of relaxed and heavy, static. Tall and narrow is more exciting and noticeable, but may feel tense or top heavy.

It's possible your logo needs to be much wider than it is tall. That won't make a good favicon.

Once you have your design you can produce versions at a few different dimensions. Basically the same design with increasing levels of detail. Dimensions, or final size, is more a technical consideration that does not come into play until its time to generate large or small images, at which point you may modify your original art to suit the dimensions, adding or subtracting detail.

  • 3
    Proportion is nowhere near as important as the message the logo will convey. Stating that it is the "primary" concern is just wrong. One should never start designing a logo with a 16px "favicon" in mind.
    – Scott
    Jan 19, 2018 at 21:47
  • Good discussion for a question about logo message.
    – Webster
    Jan 19, 2018 at 23:27
  • 1
    There are situations where the question itself is so wrong that the answer must be wider. This is one of tye situations. However I also think that tye word logo used by OP does not exactly have the same meaning as what designers here mean, but something considerably lighter in meaning.
    – joojaa
    Jan 20, 2018 at 7:37

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