As a designer, you have to go through a lot of fuss to create the perfect design. Often the hard part of designing is not just to create a good design, but to create an excellent one and proportion plays a big part in it. The right proportion between lengths of different parts in your design says a lot about your design and finding the right proportion between lengths is usually the fussy part.
But, what would you say if we told you that there is a ratio that could help you make your designs look absolutely great? A single ratio!! And it has been used for hundreds of years by great architects to make their sculptures and designs look more and more eye pleasing. Right from the paintings to great sculptures, this ratio is everywhere. So, what is this ratio? And why is it so special?
Well, it’s called the GOLDEN RATIO and rightful to its name, it works wonders for the designers. Also known by the names of Golden mean and even The Divine Section, this ratio has been used since the times of ancient scholars including Euclid and Pythagoras.
So, if you are a designer and you don’t know what this Golden Ratio of Design is, you are at the right place. This post is exactly for you. But, even if you are not a designer, you should still definitely know about this amazing ratio, that is used literally almost everywhere. In this post, we will explain to you, the golden ratio, right from what it is to how you can use it in your designs. SO KEEP READING.

What is the golden ratio?

Represented by the Greek Alphabet ‘Φ’ (Phi), the ratio between two numbers equalling approximately to 1.628:1 is called the golden ratio. The ratio is an irrational number and has a non-terminating decimal value of 1.61803398875… , but this value is rounded up to the third value after decimal as 1.618. The golden ratio is usually taken as the ratio between lines of different lengths and also the ratio of the sum of the lengths of both these lines to the length of the long line among them.

This ratio is the ideal ratio for designs and has been used at multiple places by a number of designers and architects.

Why is the golden ratio so special?

Now that you know what the Golden Ratio is, you might as well be wondering, why this ratio is so important ?
There is a really interesting answer to it. We are subconsciously used to looking at things that have the golden ratio. YES!! Unbelievable but True. The golden ratio is available abundantly in nature. Right from the spikes of the pine cones, a blooming rosebud, center of sunflower to the Nautilus shell and even the features on the human face abide by this ratio. The Golden Ratio is Literally everywhere. And so, for the same reason, we have an affinity for the shapes and structures that abide by the golden ratio too.

A number of ancient and great sculptors and artists have used this factor in their structures and paintings for years to make them more pleasing and attractive to the human eye. Paintings like the Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa & The last supper and popular & ancient structures like the Greek Parthenon, The Eiffel Tower & even the great pyramids of Giza follow the Golden ratio of design.
Shapes using the Golden ratio:
A few shapes can be made using the Golden Ratio, the most popular of which is the Golden Rectangle and the Golden Spiral. Both these shapes are discussed in detail below.
– The Golden Rectangle:
A rectangle, the ratio of whose sides is approximately equal to the Golden Ratio, i.e 1.618 is called a Golden Rectangle. It is the ideal rectangle. The idea of the Golden Rectangle can be seen in the structure of the Greek Parthenon.

To understand this better, let’s play a game. Take a pencil and paper and make a rectangle of 34⨯21 cm. Notice that the ratio of these numbers is approximately equal to 1.618. So this is a Golden Rectangle. Now, divide this rectangle by drawing a segment at 21 cms, thus you have a 21⨯21 cm and a 21⨯13 cm rectangle. Now, if you notice carefully, this new rectangle is also a Golden Rectangle. Again divide this new rectangle at 13 cms, creating a 13⨯13 cms square and a 13⨯8 cms rectangle, which is another Golden rectangle. Keep repeating this process and see how each smaller rectangle is a Golden Rectangle. This is the beauty of the Golden Rectangle.

This is a key feature of Golden rectangle, as you keep dividing you get smaller and smaller golden rectangles.
– The Golden Spiral:
The best example of the omnipresence of the Golden Ratio is the Golden Spiral. RIght from a blooming rosebud to the Nautilus Shell a lot of natural phenomenon show this spiral. It is formed as the ratio of the radii of consecutive spirals in it form the golden ratio. It is not the perfect spiral but is much more attractive than it.

A good example of the Golden Spiral being used in the art is that of the famous painting Mona Lisa.

Source: Pinterest

In fact, in the above activity, if you start by joining the diagonally opposite vertices of the rectangles and continue the curve, the Golden Spiral is formed.

Source: Pinterest

To understand The Golden ratio, there’s a sequence you should know about called the Fibonacci sequence. We have explained it below for you.

The Fibonacci Sequence:

You don’t have to be a Maths Aficionado to know of this sequence. If you are an avid reader and fan of Dan Brown and have read The Da Vinci Code or even seen the movie of the name, you must be knowing about the Fibonacci sequence.

The sequence of numbers given by the Italian Mathematician Leonardo Pisano Bigollo, better known as Fibonacci in which every consecutive number is the sum of the last two numbers before it is called the Fibonacci Sequence. It can be given as 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,……… It’s an infinitely long sequence of numbers.

Now, how is it connected to the Golden Ratio?

If you take the ratio of consecutive numbers after 2 in the Fibonacci Sequence or the ratio of the sum of two consecutive numbers to the larger number, you will notice that the ratio is approximately equal to the golden ratio. Amazing, right? Well, moreover, in the above-mentioned activity if you notice the side length of the squares if seen while moving from inside to the outside of the spiral follows the Fibonacci sequence.

Source: Pinterest

Now that you have understood what The Golden ratio is and why we have such an affinity for shapes and structures involving it, you must be contemplating how you can use this wonderful ratio in your designs.

Here, we have mentioned a few ways you can use the Golden ratio to enhance your designs and to make your designs look not just good but quite amazing.

Using the Golden Ratio in Designing:

– Golden Ratio in design Layout

The layout is a very important aspect when it comes to graphic designing. Not just that the height width proportion, but also the division of the page in the right proportion wherever needed also makes a difference. So, it’s important that you make sure that the layout of your design is perfect. The golden ratio is what you need to be using for this. You can set the height-width ratio equal to 1.618 and further divide the length of the page by the golden ratio to divide it into sections perfectly.
Suppose the width of your layout is 960 px. Dividing it by 1.618, the approximate value is 594px. This can be the height of the view of the layout. Now if you wish to further divide the page into two sections, you can divide it at (960-594)= 366 px. You can even continue to divide the page into smaller and smaller sections in the same way.

Source: Pinterest

A good example of using the Golden ratio is the layout of the above-given picture. The designer has used the golden ratio for the height-width ratio of the page layout. The page has then been divided using the golden ratio into the left square and the right sections. In the same way, the whole page has been designed using the ratio to look attractive and easy to read.

– Golden ratio of design in spacing

As a designer, you can tell that the white space in any design is as important as the elements in it. Right spacing can make all the difference and make your design look great. But what we do need to consider is that spaces in a design can be both positive as well as negative. So, it’s important for you to consider how you are placing the elements on your design to get the right effect and avoid any negative space in it. Here is how the golden ratio can be of use to you. Using the golden ratio of design, you can easily place the elements at the right places on your design.

A above-given picture is a great example of using the golden ratio in deciding spacing and placing of elements in the design. Using the golden ratio, the designer has smartly placed the concise text at the top, against the large blank space, which makes it more attention grabbing. Moreover, the designer has also smartly the outer curve of the Golden spiral to depict the first letter ‘b’ of ‘beethoven’.

– Golden ratio of design in Typography

Yet another important aspect of a perfect design is the text. When your design involves dealing with a lot of text, the challenging is to place it in a way that it doesn’t look cluttered to the viewer and they read it completely. Besides this, the right text size is an important part of any design as the text is what separates different parts of the text with each other while making each equally visible. Now, you can also use the golden ratio to decide the ideal text size for the heading and body text of your design.
Suppose, the title text size in your design is 24 px, then the ideal size for the body text will be (24/1.618) = 14.833 which is approximately equal to 15 px. Thus, its best to keep the body text of the size 15 px. You can do this easily by using one of the softwares mentioned towards the end of this post.

– Golden ratio in logo design

Believe it or not, everyday you see a number of logos, which has been designed taking into consideration the phenomenon of the golden ratio. Right from the little bird icon of Twitter, to the apple icon of the company Icon, all these perfect icons involve the use of the golden ratio. So, that gives you one big reason to use this amazing ratio, the next time you are designing a logo.
The key is to use the golden shapes, usually the golden spiral, the golden triangles, and the golden circles in a specific pattern so as to attain a perfect and attractive logo.

Source: Pinterest

The image above illustrates the use of golden shapes in the formation of an ideal crab logo. To understand the concept of using golden shapes in creating logo designs, you can visit the below given links and understand in detail how the phenomenon works.
how to design a logo its golden ratio spiral
how to design a logo using golden ratio

Tools to help you:

Now you know how helpful the Golden ratio can be to you in the different aspects of designing, the next step is to use them. But, How? Well, you can use any of the numbers of software easily available on the internet to help you maintain the proportions in your design according to the Golden Ratio. The software will help you a lot in creating the perfect designs using the Golden Ratio. Here we have mentioned a list of such software below, which can be used for the purpose.
Golden Ratio Calculator- CalculatorSoup
Golden Ratio Typography Calculator
Golden Ratio Sketch Freebie
Golden Ratio Elements Generator
Golden Rectangle Calculator.

Concluding we can say that, using the golden ratio in designing can help you turn your designs from good to great easily. Though the concept is not much complicated to understand, to master the technique, you should practice working with the ratio thoroughly, You can learn from online tutorials and also use the tools mentioned above to make the perfect designs with the help of the golden ratio.

We hope you found this post helpful in understanding the Golden Ratio of design and its uses. If you have any queries regarding the subject and wish to contact us, you can leave them in the comments section below or mail us at