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What is the Golden Ratio and Why Should You Use It In Design

What is the Golden Ratio and Why Should You Use It In Design

Among many mysterious terms and expressions coming from the world of design and marketing, sooner or later you might come across the arts and mathematics-related concept of “Golden Ratio”. You might or might not have heard of this concept yet, however if you are confused as to what it actually means, we are here to explain it to you in a simple manner. In this article, we’ll also be explaining how you can apply the golden ratio to any of your design projects.

What is a Golden Ratio?

Golden Ratio

Image source: Idfive

The “golden ratio” combines insights from the field of nature, art, and mathematics, enabling designers to apply it to their products. ‘Golden’ refers to the most brilliant, best, and perfect quality, whereas ‘ratio’, in this case, refers to a shape or figure that has clear-cut relations within it. Mind that the golden ratio is something has been used by plenty of creators, among which has been the inventors of the Pepsi logo, pyramids in Giza, Parthenon in Athens, the Eiffel Tower, and even the Mona Lisa.

What is the value and how was it deduced?

To put it shortly, the ‘golden ratio’ (also known as the ‘golden rectangle’, ‘golden mean’, ‘golden section’, ‘divine proportion’ or Greek letter ‘Phi’) refers to the specific number which hints a shape with the exact proportion, which is 1 – 1.618. As baffling as it may seem, somehow, this proportion has been incredibly successful. It was deduced by Leonardo Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician born in Rome in 1170.

For designers who decide to apply this rule to their artwork, here is how the process usually goes. The golden ratio 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 equals to 1.618.

Then, here’s where it gets even more complicated. If you take the golden ratio diagram and draw out an arch in each square from one corner to the opposite corner, you will end up drawing the first curve of the Golden Spiral (or Fibonacci Sequence). Each number in the Fibonacci sequence is the sum of the two numbers before it. Therefore, the first 10 members of the sequence are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55. The same pattern continues infinitely.

Golden Ratio and Design

In design, the golden ratio primarily boils down to the matter of aesthetics. When applied, it instantly helps provide your work with a sense of artistry to it. The purpose of the golden ratio was well thought out to create a sense of harmony and unforced, eternal beauty. In fact, what’s even more interesting about it is that our bodies and face also naturally follow the mathematical rule of the golden ratio.

Our brains are hard-wired to prefer golden ratio ruled objects and images over others, so it’s completely up to you whether or not you want to use it in your design. However, note that once it is used, this can consequently impact your customer’s brain beyond his or her cognition. Ultimately, the golden ratio is a forceful tool that allows you to establish the right emotional and visual message. It directs your recipient’s attention to areas where he or she will most likely look at and focus on, and this knowledge is one that is based solely on natural laws, where balance and proper scales are innate.

Golden Shapes for use

Now that we’ve discussed what the golden ratio is, the question you may want to ask next is, how can you use it in practice? At the end of the day, designers are not required to be real mathematicians. However, the application of the golden ratio can truly be beneficial to the work they’re creating.

The golden ratio will always be there for you to use, whether you want to or not. If you decide that it’s time that you apply it to enhance your design, be sure to take note of the best tips for using the golden ratio tools in your design projects. However, one of the very first things you need to know about it is that the golden ratio is often represented using the shape of a spiral, circle, or triangle.

Setting Layout dimensions with Golden Ratio

Layout dimensions with Golden Ratio

When it comes to applying the concept in design, start with setting up the background by using a grid that is based on the ratio to create the initial harmony of the image. It’s possible that you already have an eye for creating projects accordingly to the golden ratio standard and are able to use it intuitively. However, it’s also never a bad idea to test your skills from time to time in order to achieve an authentically perfect design. Your objective here is to create a design that fits the ideal golden ratio shape. By using this rule, you can either create a logo, header, or any other type of design.

To start, take your typical 960-pixel width layout and divide it by 1.618. You’ll get 594, and this should be the height of the layout. After you proceed with the further schematic steps of the golden ratio creation (breaking that layout into two columns, etc.) you will then achieve your very first, individually- tailored harmony of a design.

Logo design using Golden Ratio

Logo design using Golden Ratio

Image source: Apiumhub

However, when creating a logo, make sure you use larger squares like unit 8 and 13 to define the layouts. For gutters and content spacing, utilize smaller squares of unit 1, 2 or 3 to define them instead.

Unfortunately, the applications for print and web design projects are often less precise than the exact Fibonacci number. Because of this, some designers tend to round numbers for grids that are easier to work with. Nonetheless, it is always best to be perfectly precise with your project in order to stand out!

Using Golden Ratio in Typography

The science of using the golden ratio to determine precise typographic proportions like font sizes, line heights, and associated spacing is actually considered to be pretty good idea! It not only serves as a foundation for pleasing designs but also enables the creation of dynamic and proportioned layouts. This level of precision simply has not been possible before. Therefore, you can also consider applying the concept when creating a base grid or hierarchical scale for new typography.

Defining spacing between content using Golden Ratio

What about spacing? This essential element of any design, definitely makes the final result sparkle. Determining the spacing of elements, if conducted with the ‘golden ratio’ diagram will ensure that proportions are well-calculated and impeccable. Feel free to layer several diagrams if you’re dealing with several elements, and use them to determine the size and placement of each element to ensure a well-proportioned final product design.

Tools to help you use the Golden Ratio

While the application of the golden ratio may seem like a challenge, there are many reliable and great tools out there that can help you with creating an unforgettable design whether it’s for your logo, product, or website banner, you name it. Specific names of these tools include:

  • The Phiculator: You can enter any number and get the corresponding golden ratio value.
  • The Golden Ratio Typography Calculator: This will enable you to create a scale based on a base font and size.
  • The Golden Ratio Template: From this, you can download a vector template that is ready for use.
  • The Golden Ratio Wireframing Template: Use this to get layers for a curve, circle or square.
  • The Golden Ratio Calculator: Use this to calculate the ratio with any set of numbers
  • The Golden Rectangle Calculator: This is another option apart from the Golden Ratio Calculator. It provides you with dimensions for outer and interior golden rectangles for any number.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has been useful in helping you understand the idea behind the golden ratio as well as how it can be applied to design. Whichever type of creative project it is that you are working on, you can be sure that the application of the golden ratio will truly result in a beautiful and high-quality design.

Among many mysterious terms and expressions coming from the world of design and marketing, sooner or later you might come across the arts and mathematics-related concept of “Golden Ratio”. You might or might not have heard of this concept yet, however if you are confused as to what it actually means, we are here to explain it to you in a simple manner. In this article, we’ll also be explaining how you can apply the golden ratio to any of your design projects.

What is a Golden Ratio?

What is a Golden Ratio

Image source: Idfive

The “golden ratio” combines insights from the field of nature, art, and mathematics, enabling designers to apply it to their products. ‘Golden’ refers to the most brilliant, best, and perfect quality, whereas ‘ratio’, in this case, refers to a shape or figure that has clear-cut relations within it. Mind that the golden ratio is something has been used by plenty of creators, among which has been the inventors of the Pepsi logo, pyramids in Giza, Parthenon in Athens, the Eiffel Tower, and even the Mona Lisa.

What is the value and how was it deduced?

To put it shortly, the ‘golden ratio’ (also known as the ‘golden rectangle’, ‘golden mean’, ‘golden section’, ‘divine proportion’ or Greek letter ‘Phi’) refers to the specific number which hints a shape with the exact proportion, which is 1 – 1.618. As baffling as it may seem, somehow, this proportion has been incredibly successful. It was deduced by Leonardo Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician born in Rome in 1170.

For designers who decide to apply this rule to their artwork, here is how the process usually goes. The golden ratio 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 equals to 1.618.

Then, here’s where it gets even more complicated. If you take the golden ratio diagram and draw out an arch in each square from one corner to the opposite corner, you will end up drawing the first curve of the Golden Spiral (or Fibonacci Sequence). Each number in the Fibonacci sequence is the sum of the two numbers before it. Therefore, the first 10 members of the sequence are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55. The same pattern continues infinitely.

Golden Ratio and Design

In design, the golden ratio primarily boils down to the matter of aesthetics. When applied, it instantly helps provide your work with a sense of artistry to it. The purpose of the golden ratio was well thought out to create a sense of harmony and unforced, eternal beauty. In fact, what’s even more interesting about it is that our bodies and face also naturally follow the mathematical rule of the golden ratio.

Our brains are hard-wired to prefer golden ratio ruled objects and images over others, so it’s completely up to you whether or not you want to use it in your design. However, note that once it is used, this can consequently impact your customer’s brain beyond his or her cognition. Ultimately, the golden ratio is a forceful tool that allows you to establish the right emotional and visual message. It directs your recipient’s attention to areas where he or she will most likely look at and focus on, and this knowledge is one that is based solely on natural laws, where balance and proper scales are innate.

Golden Shapes for use

Now that we’ve discussed what the golden ratio is, the question you may want to ask next is, how can you use it in practice? At the end of the day, designers are not required to be real mathematicians. However, the application of the golden ratio can truly be beneficial to the work they’re creating.

The golden ratio will always be there for you to use, whether you want to or not. If you decide that it’s time that you apply it to enhance your design, be sure to take note of the best tips for using the golden ratio tools in your design projects. However, one of the very first things you need to know about it is that the golden ratio is often represented using the shape of a spiral, circle, or triangle.

Setting Layout dimensions with Golden Ratio

Setting Layout dimensions with Golden Ratio

When it comes to applying the concept in design, start with setting up the background by using a grid that is based on the ratio to create the initial harmony of the image. It’s possible that you already have an eye for creating projects accordingly to the golden ratio standard and are able to use it intuitively. However, it’s also never a bad idea to test your skills from time to time in order to achieve an authentically perfect design. Your objective here is to create a design that fits the ideal golden ratio shape. By using this rule, you can either create a logo, header, or any other type of design.

To start, take your typical 960-pixel width layout and divide it by 1.618. You’ll get 594, and this should be the height of the layout. After you proceed with the further schematic steps of the golden ratio creation (breaking that layout into two columns, etc.) you will then achieve your very first, individually- tailored harmony of a design.

Logo design using Golden Ratio

Logo design using Golden Ratio

Image source: Apiumhub

However, when creating a logo, make sure you use larger squares like unit 8 and 13 to define the layouts. For gutters and content spacing, utilize smaller squares of unit 1, 2 or 3 to define them instead.

Unfortunately, the applications for print and web design projects are often less precise than the exact Fibonacci number. Because of this, some designers tend to round numbers for grids that are easier to work with. Nonetheless, it is always best to be perfectly precise with your project in order to stand out!

Using Golden Ratio in Typography

The science of using the golden ratio to determine precise typographic proportions like font sizes, line heights, and associated spacing is actually considered to be pretty good idea! It not only serves as a foundation for pleasing designs but also enables the creation of dynamic and proportioned layouts. This level of precision simply has not been possible before. Therefore, you can also consider applying the concept when creating a base grid or hierarchical scale for new typography.

Defining spacing between content using Golden Ratio

What about spacing? This essential element of any design, definitely makes the final result sparkle. Determining the spacing of elements, if conducted with the ‘golden ratio’ diagram will ensure that proportions are well-calculated and impeccable. Feel free to layer several diagrams if you’re dealing with several elements, and use them to determine the size and placement of each element to ensure a well-proportioned final product design.

Tools to help you use the Golden Ratio

While the application of the golden ratio may seem like a challenge, there are many reliable and great tools out there that can help you with creating an unforgettable design whether it’s for your logo, product, or website banner, you name it. Specific names of these tools include:

  • The Phiculator: You can enter any number and get the corresponding golden ratio value.
  • The Golden Ratio Typography Calculator: This will enable you to create a scale based on a base font and size.
  • The Golden Ratio Template: From this, you can download a vector template that is ready for use.
  • The Golden Ratio Wireframing Template: Use this to get layers for a curve, circle or square.
  • The Golden Ratio Calculator: Use this to calculate the ratio with any set of numbers
  • The Golden Rectangle Calculator: This is another option apart from the Golden Ratio Calculator. It provides you with dimensions for outer and interior golden rectangles for any number.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has been useful in helping you understand the idea behind the golden ratio as well as how it can be applied to design. Whichever type of creative project it is that you are working on, you can be sure that the application of the golden ratio will truly result in a beautiful and high-quality design.

What is the Golden Ratio and Why Should You Use It In Design

Among many mysterious terms and expressions coming from the world of design and marketing, sooner or later you might come across the arts and mathematics-related concept of “Golden Ratio”. You might or might not have heard of this concept yet, however if you are confused as to what it actually means, we are here to explain it to you in a simple manner. In this article, we’ll also be explaining how you can apply the golden ratio to any of your design projects.

What is a Golden Ratio?

Image source: Idfive

The “golden ratio” combines insights from the field of nature, art, and mathematics, enabling designers to apply it to their products. ‘Golden’ refers to the most brilliant, best, and perfect quality, whereas ‘ratio’, in this case, refers to a shape or figure that has clear-cut relations within it. Mind that the golden ratio is something has been used by plenty of creators, among which has been the inventors of the Pepsi logo, pyramids in Giza, Parthenon in Athens, the Eiffel Tower, and even the Mona Lisa.

What is the value and how was it deduced?

To put it shortly, the ‘golden ratio’ (also known as the ‘golden rectangle’, ‘golden mean’, ‘golden section’, ‘divine proportion’ or Greek letter ‘Phi’) refers to the specific number which hints a shape with the exact proportion, which is 1 – 1.618. As baffling as it may seem, somehow, this proportion has been incredibly successful. It was deduced by Leonardo Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician born in Rome in 1170.

For designers who decide to apply this rule to their artwork, here is how the process usually goes. The golden ratio 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 equals to 1.618.

Then, here’s where it gets even more complicated. If you take the golden ratio diagram and draw out an arch in each square from one corner to the opposite corner, you will end up drawing the first curve of the Golden Spiral (or Fibonacci Sequence). Each number in the Fibonacci sequence is the sum of the two numbers before it. Therefore, the first 10 members of the sequence are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55. The same pattern continues infinitely.

Golden Ratio and Design

In design, the golden ratio primarily boils down to the matter of aesthetics. When applied, it instantly helps provide your work with a sense of artistry to it. The purpose of the golden ratio was well thought out to create a sense of harmony and unforced, eternal beauty. In fact, what’s even more interesting about it is that our bodies and face also naturally follow the mathematical rule of the golden ratio.

Our brains are hard-wired to prefer golden ratio ruled objects and images over others, so it’s completely up to you whether or not you want to use it in your design. However, note that once it is used, this can consequently impact your customer’s brain beyond his or her cognition. Ultimately, the golden ratio is a forceful tool that allows you to establish the right emotional and visual message. It directs your recipient’s attention to areas where he or she will most likely look at and focus on, and this knowledge is one that is based solely on natural laws, where balance and proper scales are innate.

Golden Shapes for use

Now that we’ve discussed what the golden ratio is, the question you may want to ask next is, how can you use it in practice? At the end of the day, designers are not required to be real mathematicians. However, the application of the golden ratio can truly be beneficial to the work they’re creating.

The golden ratio will always be there for you to use, whether you want to or not. If you decide that it’s time that you apply it to enhance your design, be sure to take note of the best tips for using the golden ratio tools in your design projects. However, one of the very first things you need to know about it is that the golden ratio is often represented using the shape of a spiral, circle, or triangle.

Setting Layout dimensions with Golden Ratio

When it comes to applying the concept in design, start with setting up the background by using a grid that is based on the ratio to create the initial harmony of the image. It’s possible that you already have an eye for creating projects accordingly to the golden ratio standard and are able to use it intuitively. However, it’s also never a bad idea to test your skills from time to time in order to achieve an authentically perfect design. Your objective here is to create a design that fits the ideal golden ratio shape. By using this rule, you can either create a logo, header, or any other type of design.

To start, take your typical 960-pixel width layout and divide it by 1.618. You’ll get 594, and this should be the height of the layout. After you proceed with the further schematic steps of the golden ratio creation (breaking that layout into two columns, etc.) you will then achieve your very first, individually- tailored harmony of a design.

Logo design using Golden Ratio

Image source: Apiumhub

However, when creating a logo, make sure you use larger squares like unit 8 and 13 to define the layouts. For gutters and content spacing, utilize smaller squares of unit 1, 2 or 3 to define them instead.

Unfortunately, the applications for print and web design projects are often less precise than the exact Fibonacci number. Because of this, some designers tend to round numbers for grids that are easier to work with. Nonetheless, it is always best to be perfectly precise with your project in order to stand out!

Using Golden Ratio in Typography

The science of using the golden ratio to determine precise typographic proportions like font sizes, line heights, and associated spacing is actually considered to be pretty good idea! It not only serves as a foundation for pleasing designs but also enables the creation of dynamic and proportioned layouts. This level of precision simply has not been possible before. Therefore, you can also consider applying the concept when creating a base grid or hierarchical scale for new typography.

Defining spacing between content using Golden Ratio

What about spacing? This essential element of any design, definitely makes the final result sparkle. Determining the spacing of elements, if conducted with the ‘golden ratio’ diagram will ensure that proportions are well-calculated and impeccable. Feel free to layer several diagrams if you’re dealing with several elements, and use them to determine the size and placement of each element to ensure a well-proportioned final product design.

Tools to help you use the Golden Ratio

While the application of the golden ratio may seem like a challenge, there are many reliable and great tools out there that can help you with creating an unforgettable design whether it’s for your logo, product, or website banner, you name it. Specific names of these tools include:

  • The Phiculator: You can enter any number and get the corresponding golden ratio value.
  • The Golden Ratio Typography Calculator: This will enable you to create a scale based on a base font and size.
  • The Golden Ratio Template: From this, you can download a vector template that is ready for use.
  • The Golden Ratio Wireframing Template: Use this to get layers for a curve, circle or square.
  • The Golden Ratio Calculator: Use this to calculate the ratio with any set of numbers
  • The Golden Rectangle Calculator: This is another option apart from the Golden Ratio Calculator. It provides you with dimensions for outer and interior golden rectangles for any number.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has been useful in helping you understand the idea behind the golden ratio as well as how it can be applied to design. Whichever type of creative project it is that you are working on, you can be sure that the application of the golden ratio will truly result in a beautiful and high-quality design.

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Christiaan

Written by Christiaan

Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world's largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.

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