Size Orientation Matters

One of the realities that artists must come to terms with in today’s world is that far more viewers will see their work on a smart phone than in person. Social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook favor square or vertical format images. People hold their phones vertically while browsing these sites so vertically formatted postings will appear mush larger than horizontally oriented work. That is why I use a 3:4 ratio for most of my work.

Because in so many instances the smart phone is the platform for our introduction to a piece of art it is import- ant to recognize that complex and highly detailed images may be less engaging in this very small format. For that reason artists should keep this in mind as they create their work. I think it is advisable to view work at a small scale now and then as it is being created because like it or not, simplicity can result in a greater degree of engagement when it counts.

Now of course we can rotate the phone 90 degrees to get a full screen view of a horizontal image, but the viewer must notice it first at the smaller size. When viewing social media we can scroll through hundreds of images in a short period of time. The choice to engage occurs in a split second, so composition and simplicity can improve the odds of that happening.