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What Is An Aspect Ratio? Common Ratios & Print Sizes

What is an aspect ratio? An aspect ratio defines the proportional relationship between the height and width of an image or video. These ratios aren’t expressed with standard units of measurement. Instead, the numerical value is based on a representation of those proportions. Aspect ratios are especially important when managing digital media, as many websites call for specific ratios to display content correctly. However, when dealing with art prints, there are a few common ratios that most pieces conform to.

Art as a side gig: Frames in front of painted canvas.
Learn more about aspect ratios and what they’re used for!

What is an aspect ratio: Common aspect ratios and print sizes (in inches)

  • 1:1 ratio common print sizes: 6×6, 12×12
  • 1:2 ratio common print sizes: 6×12, 8×16
  • 3:2 ratio common print sizes: 2×3, 6×9, 12×18, 16×24, 20×30
  • 5:4 ratio common print sizes: 8×10, 16×20, 24×30
  • 6:5 ratio common print sizes: 10×12, 20×24
  • 7:5 ratio common print sizes: 5×7, 10×14, 20×28
  • 16:9 ratio is usually reserved for videos

Interested in printing your own list? Click here for a free, downloadable PDF that details common aspect ratios and print sizes.

What is an aspect ratio? 6 of the most common ratios in print.
What is an Aspect Ratio? – The 6 most common aspect ratios and print sizes.

What is an aspect ratio: Changing aspect ratios

It’s usually possible to switch aspect ratios of an image. Depending on the image’s original size, you may have to crop portions of your art to conform to the new ratio.

Let’s say your original image has a 5:4 ratio and a size of 16×20 inches, and you want to switch it to a 1:1 ratio with a size of a 16×16 inch square. To achieve this, you need to crop 4 inches from the height of your 16×20 inch image. Once completed, you’ve successfully transitioned your image from 5:4 to 1:1.

What if we went the other way around? Let’s say you have a 1:1 ratio square and you’d like to switch it to a 5:4 ratio rectangle. In this case, we’d have to crop from the width (rather than the height) to account for the narrower proportions.

What is an Aspect Ratio? Framed photos on a dresser showing crop zone for switching ratios.
What is an Aspect Ratio? – To switch from a 5:4 to a 1:1 ratio, you need to crop the height of your image.

What is an aspect ratio: Choosing the right frame

No matter the aspect ratio, choosing the perfect frame for any image is fairly simple. For printed images, measure the width and height of your art, and add those values to our interactive frame designer. It will generate the correct size frame based on your art measurements.

For digital images that you’re uploading to our interactive frame designer, the size of the image is automatically calculated after the upload is complete. You can increase or decrease the size of both your frame and image using the sliding bar directly below your preview image.

Make sure to consider image resolution and the Dots Per Inch (DPI) calculation as you enlarge or shrink your piece. The higher the DPI value, the clearer the picture detail. And, as we’ve mentioned, keep in mind how switching aspect ratios can result in the need for cropping.

frame it easy 0223
What is an Aspect Ratio? – Selecting an appropriate frame is simple with our interactive frame designer.

What is an aspect ratio: Final thoughts

Images come in a variety of ratios that express the proportional relationship between their height and width. Some ratios are pretty common, found across both print and digital applications. When switching ratios, it’s important to consider if your image needs cropping. Depending on the original image’s size and shape, cutting from either height or width may be necessary. Once you’ve got your size and aspect ratio down, head over to Frame it Easy’s interactive frame designer to choose your perfect frame and matboard options.

Ready to show off? Don’t forget to share all your fun and creative framing projects with us on social media! If you need additional help, feel free to reach out to our support team with questions.

Ready to get creative?

Whether you have a piece of art ready to frame, or you have something for us to print, we've got you covered. Our online custom picture framing perfectly fits not only your art, but your style and budget, too! Use our custom frame designer to create a frame, or browse our suggested frame designs. Happy designing!