Used for over two thousand years by architects, designers, artists, mathematicians, and philosophers, the golden ratio is fundamental to all. Not many know of the common mathematical ratio found in nature. This comes by through several names such as the Golden section, the Greek letter phi, the golden mean. What is surprising is the fact that it is found in man-made designs as well. Be it Da Vinci’s painting of the last supper, The Pyramid of Giza, the Parthenon, Mona Lisa even the Taj Mahal all of them are said to contain this ancient ratio.
But what is the Golden Ratio?
Closely related to the Fibonacci series (this may seem like a math class but bear with us), this Golden Ratio describes the perfectly symmetrical relationship between two proportions. With a value approximately equal to 1:1.161. Start with a rectangle of this ratio and draw a square within that rectangle and lo! You’ll be left with another golden rectangle! Continue doing this over and over again to infinity just like the Fibonacci series. Try plotting the obtained result as shown in the picture below:
But what has this got to do with design?
Although there is never going to be a one-size-fits-all approach especially in designing, applying the golden ratio in designs is a way our subconscious mind naturally registers the harmony and proportion that comes with this ratio. It gives a balanced and aesthetically pleasing appearance to the design. Whether it is a web page or a design, the golden ratio can be applied through the rule of the thirds which is a familiar concept to most graphic designers. If you take a rectangle and apply the rule of the thirds in the ratio of approximately 1:1.618, you will find that you are very close to a golden rectangle. It gives people a focal point to look at in designs.
Where can you use it in Graphic Design?
Shapes: Many companies use these proportions in their logos such as apple, Nissan, Toyota, National Geography, or even the Pepsi logo, the Golden Ratio or the golden proportion is used to create the aesthetically pleasing balance. Creating an eye-catching logo is a challenge that most companies face to draw people in.
Design of a web page: The placement of the various components of the webpage can be arranged according to the golden ratio. Most designers are known to apply this ratio to the pixels in the content area, spacings and designs.
Modifying images: When deciding on the right image size, instead of taking a step back and pondering over whether to crop the image further or edit it, the focus on the subject of the picture should be in accordance with the Golden Ratio. The spiral nature of the elements in the image gives the right harmony.
Typography: Always keep in mind the hierarchy in your layout. Headlines and text sizes are in the Golden Ratio with respect to one another to give an overall look good factor by maintaining 10/6, 20/12…so on font size as required. Whether it is a website layout, a poster, or any article, the layout should have the right hierarchy.
The power of the Golden Ratio can be unleased through software available like Adobe, with photoshop and Illustrator.