What is the golden ratio in design? Why Should you, as a designer, know about it?
The Golden Ratio in design also called the Golden Mean or Golden Section Divine Proportion or Greek letter Phi is essentially a mathematical ratio that is found in the shapes and designs of nature. When incorporated in the design, this ratio fosters organic and natural-looking compositions, aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
But again, how does it matter, what is it, and how can it be of help for designers? You shall have the answer to this and so much more by the end of this read!
What is the Golden Ratio in design?
As per Wikipedia, “In mathematics, two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities.”
In other words, the Golden Ratio in design exists when a line is split into two parts and the longer part (a) divided by the smaller part (b) is equal to the sum of (a) + (b) divided by (a) – which both equal 1.618 – the number also called phi.
The ratio itself comes from the Fibonacci sequence, a naturally occurring sequence of numbers, found everywhere in nature, from the number of leaves on a tree, to the shape of a fern and even a hurricane. Fibonacci Sequence is a series in which the pattern of each number is the sum of the previous two numbers. Starting at zero, it works as : 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, until infinity.
The Golden Ratio Formula in Design: How to use Golden ratio in design?
In design, however, the Golden Ratio only strictly has to do with aesthetics. The Golden Ratio is about creating and celebrating a sense of beauty through proportions. The Golden Ratio in design provides a sense of exquisite beauty, an indefinable charm, and a certain balance.
The proportions of Golden Ratio in design and the aesthetics thereof were even put to use centuries ago by the makers of the Pyramids in Giza and the Parthenon in Athens, all the way to Pepsi’s and Apple’s logo in recent times.
The Golden Ratio can be applied to faces, bodies, and even shapes. Our brains are wired in a manner that it prefers images that use the Golden Ratio. For shapes, take a square and multiply one side by 1.618 and you get a rectangle of harmonious proportions. If you lay the square over the rectangle, the two shapes will give you the Golden Ratio!
Keep applying the Golden Ratio formula to the new rectangle on the far right and you will eventually end up with an image made up of increasingly smaller squares. If you draw an arch over each square, starting in one corner to the opposite one, you’ll create the first curve of the Fibonacci sequence (also known as the Golden Spiral).
How to use Golden ratio in design?
You should, by now, have a fair idea of what a Golden Ratio in design is at large. How do you use it for your designs though? Golden Ratios can help achieve some excellent, aesthetic designs and help you become an overall improved designer too! The Golden Ratio can be applied to elements like layout, spacing, content, images, and forms amongst others.
1. Layout: Strike the right dimensions with the Golden Ratio in design
The Golden Ratio in design is useful when you are determining the dimensions of design. The simplest way to do this is to set your dimensions to 1:1.618. If you are working on a generic 960-pixel width layout, divide it by 1.618. You’ll get 594, which will be the height of the layout. Split the layout in two using the Golden Ratio. Now, placing your design or working within these two shapes will confirm the balanced proportion of the Golden Ratio!
2. Spacing: Space your designs with the Golden Ratio in design
Negative as well as positive spaces in a design has a lot of impact on the final delivered product. Spacing, in designing, can become very time consuming, taxing, and tedious. However, if you start your design with a Golden Ratio diagram and let the squares guide where you place each element, the whole process becomes very easy. Such a technique will also help you make sure that your proportions are consistent and calculated, especially if you are dealing with several elements.
3. Content: Placement of content through tracing the Golden Ratio in design
Our eyes are naturally attracted to the designs incorporated with a Golden Ratio, and hence, using the ratio to place content will naturally gain more appreciation and harmony. For example, if a page with two columns has a wide block of content on one side with a narrower column on the other side, the Golden Ratio’s proportions can be used to decide where to put the more important text. Adopting such a layout is very common for magazines. It also provides readers with a readable, well-organized text that has a natural sense of balance.
4. Images: Golden Ratio in design for Images and the Rule of Thirds
A Golden Ratio based design can help you create an image that will have the person look at the more important elements of the picture. In other words, be drawn to the more important aspects of the picture instead of the less important noise. When using the Golden Ratio for an image, you split the picture into three random, unequal sections then use the lines and intersections to compose the picture.
The Golden Ratio in design is a standardized 1: 0.618: 1 – so the width of your first and third vertical columns needs to be 1, and the width of the center vertical column should be 0.618. For the horizontal rows, the height of the first and the third row needs to be 1 while the width of the center should be 0.618. Voila! Now just use the lines and intersections to have the viewer focus their attention on the part that you want the attention to be at!
The Rule of Thirds is also used to crop images via the Golden Ratio. Though not as accurate, the Rule of Thirds can get you pretty close. All you need to do is to set up all vertical and horizontal lines to 1:1:1, thereby equally and evenly distributing spaces. Align the important elements of the design around the center rectangle. This method works best if the elements are aligned at the four corners of the rectangle.
5. Shapes: Golden Ratio in design for Circles
The Golden Ratio can also be used to make the perfect circles for logo designing. A perfect circle in each square of the diagram will follow the 1:1.618 ratio with the circle being placed in the adjacent square. Even the most famous and well celebrated Pepsi logo is based on the intersection of two circles that follow the Golden Ratio.
6. Cropping Images: The fundamentals of the Golden Ratio in design
One of the easiest things to do, something we have all done even before we got into designing, cropping could get rather technical at times. You can ideally always identify the blank space that can be removed but how will you make sure that the image is balanced after resizing? The answer is the Golden Spiral!
For example, if you overlay the Golden Spiral on an image before your crop or resize it, you can always be sure that the focal point of the image is balanced in the center or the middle of the image.
All said and done, the beauty of any design is the fact that it is open to interruptions and no art is bad art. Use this magical number to create designs that please. If not create, you can always use it to tweak your design because when it comes to it, even a minor crop or methodical layout development can speak volumes about how your viewers interact with your design!
Though there never can be a standardized approach to making the best design, this mathematical approach can help one get at least a step closer to creating the correctly synchronized, balanced, harmonious, and aesthetic piece of art!
Putting it as simply as we can (eek!), the Golden Ratio (also known as the Golden Section, Golden Mean, Divine Proportion or Greek letter Phi) exists when a line is divided into two parts and the longer part (a) divided by the smaller part (b) is equal to the sum of (a) + (b) divided by (a), which both equal 1.618.What is the golden ratio and why is it important? ›
The golden ratio, approximately between 1 to 1.618, is an extremely important number to mathematicians. But when it comes to art, artists use this golden ratio because it is aesthetically pleasing. The golden ratio can be used in art and design to achieve beauty, balance, and harmony.How is the golden ratio helpful to graphic designers? ›
Also known as the Golden Mean, the Golden Section, or the Greek letter phi, this ratio is a decimal number. It enables you to create perfectly balanced and proportioned designs that are aesthetically pleasing at a deeply psychological level.What is a golden ratio How is it applied to real life? ›
The golden ratio occurs when the ratio of the sum of two quantities equals the ratio of the quantity as a whole, which is symbolized by the number 1.618 or the Greek letter “phi.” It has been used to create what are regarded as the most esthetically pleasing designs that display perfect symmetry in architecture and art ...What is an example of a golden ratio? ›
For example, the measurement from the navel to the floor and the top of the head to the navel is the golden ratio. Animal bodies exhibit similar tendencies, including dolphins (the eye, fins and tail all fall at Golden Sections), starfish, sand dollars, sea urchins, ants, and honey bees.How can you say that golden ratio is said to be the perfect illustration of beauty? ›
Cross-cultural research has shown that no matter the ethnicity, our perception of beauty is based on the ratio proportions of 1.618. As the face comes closer to this ratio, it is perceived as more beautiful. As an example, the ideal ratio of the top of the head to the chin versus the width of the head should be 1.618.What is golden ratio give its significance with one example? ›
|Term 1||Term 2||Ratio = Term 2/ Term 1|
One of the best things about the Golden Ratio is that it gives you a simple number to help structure the otherwise expressive nature of design. Simply multiply an element's size by 1.618 to figure out the size of another element, or overlay the Golden Spiral to adjust their placement.How can we use ratio in real life briefly explain your answer? ›
Ratios in Daily Life
Ratios allow us to measure and express quantities by making them easier to understand. Examples of ratios in life: The car was traveling 60 miles per hour, or 60 miles in 1 hour. You have a 1 in 28,000,000 chance of winning the lottery.
Throughout history, the ratio for length to width of rectangles of 1.61803 39887 49894 84820 has been considered the most pleasing to the eye. This ratio was named the golden ratio by the Greeks. In the world of mathematics, the numeric value is called "phi", named for the Greek sculptor Phidias.
The golden ratio has many names, including the golden section, golden proportion, divine proportion, medial section, extreme, and mean ratio, etc. The golden section occurs only when the formula of an equation is equal to the number phi, which is equal to 1.618.Why is the golden ratio so aesthetically pleasing? ›
Whether intentional or not, the ratio represents the best proportions to transfer to the brain. "This is the best flowing configuration for images from plane to brain and it manifests itself frequently in human-made shapes that give the impression they were 'designed' according to the golden ratio," said Bejan.Why is the golden ratio considered the most beautiful? ›
Others think that we tend to perceive a face more aesthetically appealing when it features the Golden Ratio because the human eye can process it faster and that causes our brain to feel 'pleased'. The Golden Ratio is not just observed in humans, but it is actually used in architecture and art work as well.Why is the golden ratio the most pleasing to the eye? ›
But why is the golden ratio so pleasing? Scientists believe this proportion is the easiest for the eye to scan for, and process, important details, especially when the longer side is horizontal.What is the most important element of Logo Design Why? ›
Attraction is the most important element in a logo because it can make the brand more prominent as compared to the poorly designed logo.Where is the golden ratio used? ›
The easiest way to start using the golden ratio is to implement it within your typographical graphic design elements. For example, let's say that you're using 10pt font for the body text. Using the golden ratio, you can determine the best size for the headings by multiplying by 1.618.How do you explain what a ratio means? ›
A ratio is an ordered pair of numbers a and b, written a / b where b does not equal 0. A proportion is an equation in which two ratios are set equal to each other. For example, if there is 1 boy and 3 girls you could write the ratio as: 1 : 3 (for every one boy there are 3 girls) 1 / 4 are boys and 3 / 4 are girls.What is ratio short answer? ›
In mathematics, a ratio shows how many times one number contains another. For example, if there are eight oranges and six lemons in a bowl of fruit, then the ratio of oranges to lemons is eight to six (that is, 8:6, which is equivalent to the ratio 4:3).What is a ratio and how can we use it to solve problems? ›
Ratio is used to compare the size of different parts of a whole. For example, the total number of students in a class is 30. There are 10 girls and 20 boys. The ratio of girls:boys is 10:20 or 1:2.How is the golden ratio used in fashion design? ›
When it comes to getting dressed, many experts consult the Golden Ratio to help balance proportions between different garments. It may be tough to eyeball a 1:1.618 ratio in the mirror, but balancing upper and lower pieces according to a 2:3 or 3:5 ratio creates a naturally aesthetic outfit.
The golden mean or golden middle way is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. It appeared in Greek thought at least as early as the Delphic maxim "nothing in excess", was discussed in Plato's Philebus.What is interesting about the golden ratio? ›
Now the clever part is that if you add the length of the long part 0.618… to the original length 1, you get 1.618… aka the Golden Ratio. It pops up everywhere in nature from sunflower petals to the spiral of a shell. It is even credited with the correct facial proportions that make people attractive.Why is the golden ratio so attractive? ›
Others think that we tend to perceive a face more aesthetically appealing when it features the Golden Ratio because the human eye can process it faster and that causes our brain to feel 'pleased'. The Golden Ratio is not just observed in humans, but it is actually used in architecture and art work as well.Why is the golden ratio important in logo design? ›
One of the best things about the Golden Ratio is that it gives you a simple number to help structure the otherwise expressive nature of design. Simply multiply an element's size by 1.618 to figure out the size of another element, or overlay the Golden Spiral to adjust their placement.