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Updated: Mar 11, 2021

This is an article “An In-Depth Look at the Golden Ratio” by Marc Primo Warren

We all have seen Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Apple logo, and a sunflower but only a few people are able to see the Golden Ratio that makes them all pleasing to the eye. What is the golden ratio? Simply put, it is a mathematical ratio commonly found in everyday things like flowers, architecture designs, and art paintings among others, that bring out an intrinsically appealing visual and brings out the harmony in proportion.

Marc Primo Warren Golden Ration
Marc Primo Warren Golden Ratio

Whether some call it the Golden Mean or simply the Greek letter Phi, the Golden Ratio has long been utilized by artists into their designs to make it seem more naturally beautiful as even our own facial body features also follow the ratio.

If you’re yet to familiarize yourself with the use of the Golden Ratio in design, here are a couple of eye-openers to help you understand its significance.

The math in the Golden Ratio

In terms of numbers and figures, the Golden Ratio can simply be illustrated by dividing a line into two sections with the longer part being equal to 1.618 (or Phi) when it is divided by the shorter section. It may seem confusing at first but once you get the entire mathematical picture, you’ll get to associate the ratio with everything else that you find around you. In terms of design, the Golden Ratio can be prevalent in brand logos, model’s photos, ads, and videos.

To most artists, the ratio brings out a certain X-factor to a design that alludes to a viewer’s subconscious and attracts him to what he sees. Remember the film The Da Vinci Code? Well, the Golden Ratio is directly connected to how the Fibonacci sequence works, being an infinite number that can never be used as a whole or a fraction (much like pi). This phenomenon probably holds the secret as to why the mathematical ratio is so appealing to most of us.

The Golden Ratio throughout history

Most architects take the Golden Ratio as sacred and a near perfect avenue to beauty so they incorporate it in most of their designs. However, the ratio has been widely used even during the ancient times of the Pyramids of Giza or Phidias’ Greek sculptures and the many historical buildings and monuments of the past.

The Parthenon’s columns in Greece are good examples of the Golden Ratio as the exteriors and internal spaces within them form perfect Golden rectangles. Soon, academics began to study this type of sacred architecture and adapted the ratio onwards throughout history. We can see it in the Taj Mahal in India, the Chartres Cathedral in France, or the United Nations Building in New York.

Since its origins in Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the Golden Ratio carried on through the Renaissance period with architects like Andrea Palladio and Battista Alberti pioneering the Divine Ratio as a significant element in art and design.

When some modern architects from the 20th century attempted to introduce other concepts and avoid the Golden Ratio, designs received less enthusiasm from the general public. Soon, more architects returned to the classics and today, we can see more of the ratio in modern structures than in past decades including the Sydney Opera House and the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada.

Applying the Golden Ratio in Design

The ratio is usually used by artists as a complement to various design elements such as layout, spacing, or images which can greatly improve their works visually. It can serve as a useful guide when you lay down dimensions on your canvas by dividing it by 1.618 and breaking the frames into two columns for your photos to get the Golden Spiral. What you get then is a perfectly balanced presentation of your images that harmonizes with the entire workspace. These are best suited for web designs and other online layouts.

In terms of spacing, applying the Golden Ratio allows you to use more positive than negative space in laying out your content. You may use the ratio multiple times to present consistencies with your graphic and text elements and plot out grids as placement guides for the same via the Golden Spiral. If you want to find out more about Marc Primo Warren our services or just say hi, please reach out here.

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