The centre is not where it seems

September 5 2024

Nick Heer talking about the centered Apple logo on iPhones 11 (and all iPhones after that as of the writing of this post):

I can’t find it right now, but I remember an old piece of advice — possibly in the HIG — that said that items mathematically centred vertically tend to look like they’re lower than they are. The suggestion was that a visually vertically centred item typically needed about twice as much space below the item compared to the space above it.

Page 184 of Apple’s HIG guidelines from the 2003 edition:

[the] distance from the bottom of the window to the top of the Dock (if it’s at the bottom of the screen) should be approximately twice the distance as that from the bottom of the menu bar to the top of the window.

Matthew Butterick on centering page contents using margins:

To make the text block ap­pear cen­tered ver­ti­cally, try mak­ing the bot­tom mar­gin about a 0.25″ larger than the top mar­gin. Oth­er­wise, the text block can look like it’s sag­ging.

Finally, David Lynch as John Ford to Sammy Fabelman (Spielberg):

Where is the horizon?…Where is the goddamn horizon!?…When the horizon’s at the bottom it’s interesting. When the horizon’s at the top, it’s interesting. When the horizon’s in the middle, it’s boring as shit.