A recent Hackernews article linked to http://cyber.dabamos.de/88x31/ with some animated gif banners from the 90s. Which got me to wonder: how did the ratio of 88:31 become a standard size? People typically like to round to whole numbers (for either the actual size, or at least for the ratio), or we'll use a whole fraction of typical screen sizes of the time.

Excepting 88x31 size "micro buttons" a.k.a. "micro bars", just about all "standard" sizes for web banners listed by wikipedia have some kind of "round" number for at least one of the dimensions (often both actual size and ratio).

What is the origin or rationale behind 88:31 for microbutton web banners?

  • I’m not sure whether it’s relevant, but 88:31 ≈ 2.8387 ≈ 2√2 = √8, which is related to standard paper sizes which have have a √2 aspect ratio.
    – Crissov
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 17:02
  • no idea, seems like many things from old days: someone did it first and other people followed
    – Devin
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


According to this article, GeoCities started it. It was really common in the '90s to just copy what the most popular sites were doing:

The Geocities homepage link included an animated GIF file that was 88 pixels wide by 31 pixels high. Some users not happy with the default graphic produced modified versions to better fit in with the theme of their page. Graphics and buttons to link to other pages and Internet resources were also created, often at the same 88×31 size. Authors of web pages with many such graphics and buttons would arrange them into a banner, strip or grid. No doubt the popularity of Geocities (3.5 million sites had been created on it by the time of the Yahoo! purchase) helped make 88×31 size buttons and images go viral, they soon appeared on pages outside of Geocities.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released the HTML 4.0 specification in December, 1997. Soon afterwards a 88×31 graphic appeared on the 1998 W3C home page that linked to their Markup Validation Service. Other web sites would validate their HTML and include the graphic.

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