The design in question here is an official variation of the SBI logo:

enter image description here

Now, I've always felt that the main circular icon feels a bit smaller, and must be corrected by enlarging it a bit to make it look more aesthetic and balanced from both sides. I've seen many many famous designs that do things like this, just to make it look better, so I guess there must be some reason behind it.

Am I correct and if yes, what is the reason for this?

2 Answers 2


In typography, this is called an overshoot. And has been a very long-standing practice.

In typeface design, the overshoot of a round or pointed letter (like O or A) is the degree to which it extends higher or lower than a comparably sized "flat" letter (like X or H), to achieve an optical effect of being the same size; it compensates for inaccuracies in human visual perception.

Yes, it makes a difference. Human visual perception is not always a mathematical constant.

  • So I guess since that is a government bank, they didn't focus much on design?
    – Vikas
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 8:10
  • @Vikas Well, there's no "law" for good design. And "tweaking" can always happen regardless of the size of the corporation or nature of the business. Some designers see things other's don't or learn more and realize an adjustment would help.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 8:12
  • But this is our top bank. I guess their designers are at least better than me. They must have known this.
    – Vikas
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 11:02
  • 1
    @Vikas It seems ironic that the State bank of India uses European script for its logo at all. (And not being Indian, I have no idea what the circular thing is supposed to represent - a keyhole maybe)?
    – alephzero
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 21:54
  • 4
    @alephzero The language situation in India is extremely complex, and there is no single "Indian" script. English, written in Latin script, is often used as a "neutral" lingua franca. So not ironic at all, and not even particularly surprising.
    – IMSoP
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 10:22

At first glance, this may look like a typographical overshoot, i.e., round bases and tops of letters extending a bit further up- or downwards than flat ones – which accounts for an optical illusion. However, if you look closely, you will note that the logo and the S already feature an overshoot in the original. Also, in the corrected version, the overshoot of the S is not increased, which would be the logical conclusion if you consider the original overshoot too small. Therefore, there must be more to it.

The reason why the logo needs even more overshoot is that it is darker than the text and on top has a hue similar to the background. This results in an optical illusion similar to the one requiring the typographical overshoot, which the additional overshoot compensates. See this question for a similar problem. For illustration, here is the original with a white logo, thus eliminating the need for this additional overshoot:

original with white logo

  • Disagree a little bit. Today I resized it to 41x18 pixels, and what you wrote seems to fail here.
    – Vikas
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 2:55
  • 2
    @Vikas: When resizing to a height of 18 pixels, you are going to see more aliasing effects than anything else. On top, a size increase of one pixel in each direction already corresponds to more than a 10% increase in size (and that’s if you exclude the padding). The original overshoot (or whatever you call it) was 5%. Finally, the result strongly depends on your resizing algorithm, so I cannot even guess what you see. If you want a logo properly rendered at that size you do not just resize, but engineer the pixels.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 5:28
  • Just Inspect Element here (Chrome) and resize the image in your answer. You'll see.
    – Vikas
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 5:35
  • @Vikas: I won’t install Chrome to test this and it doesn’t really matter anyway. Any logo will look bad if you just resize it like that.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 5:37
  • Don't install if you don't want. The point was to say I tested it in a browser. You can test it in any browser.
    – Vikas
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 7:14

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