A horizontal image is a quicker read.
Here’s the thing – humans have binocular vision. Which means, we can take in more visual input, and have a clearer picture of that input, if it is presented to us in the same aspect ratio as our field of vision. Roughly, 2.25 units wide by one unit high.
In a world where everything moves so quickly – including us – a mental “snapshot” is all the average consumer has time for. If store signs/logos/identification marks have a horizontal design, they are easier to consume quickly. And, of course, the easier they are to consume, the easier they are to remember.
So, if you’re a new store, still in the logo development stage, it might be wise to consider making it horizontal in shape and have it fill a space that is roughly two by one. Also circular logos like Burger King’s, and squares as used by Domino’s Pizza: BAD
According to, Laura Ries a leading brand strategist and bestselling author, your sign has at best 2 seconds to register a message.
At 35 miles an hour, the typical speed limit for a retail area, an automobile will pass 100 feet of retail space in less than two seconds.
The higher the percentage of the consumer’s field of vision occupied by your sign, the greater the likelihood of capturing his or her attention.
The television industry has recognized the importance of matching the shape of the TV screen with the optical field of vision of the average consumer. The aspect ratio of TV sets was initially set at 4 by 3, but today most televisions have aspect ratios of 16 by 9, much closer to filling the viewer’s field of vision, though still not quite there.
The ancients also appreciated the aesthetic value of a horizontal shape. The “golden rectangle,” with an aspect ratio of approximately 1.6 by 1, was considered particularly pleasing.
Mathematically, a golden rectangle might be pleasing, but I think a more effective shape for a sign matches the target’s approximate 2.25 to 1 field of vision.
Something to remember about signage – it’s something a person moves past. This is not to say that a vertical format cannot be effective. In fact, a vertical format in newspaper can be extremely effective. The difference, of course, being that you can take as much time as you like with a newspaper.
But when we’re talking about a logo for a new store that is totally unfamiliar to the customer – a customer who will give you 2 seconds at best, the universally quick visual grab of a 2.25 to 1 aspect ratio is hard to beat.
Click on the following link to read Laura’s National Restaurant News article, “Shape up your signage”