Since the Renaissance many artists, and architects have proportioned their creations to approximate the golden ratio. The ratio itself has been known by many names, including the Phi Ratio, the Fibonacci Ratio, the Divine Ratio, the Golden Mean, and the Golden Section.
Guide to Proportion
It is probably the most well-known guide to proportion which can dramatically improve the communication of your design. While it is not meant to be prescriptive one of the key aspects of design is composition and it still should be something you feel rather than create logically. However, the Golden Ratio’s mythical status in art and design should not be completely ignored.
This sequence is owed to Leonardo of Pisa, also known as Fibonacci, a thirteenth-century Italian Mathematician. The sequence he discovered can be found in computing, mathematics, game design, in the arrangement of a cones, music, art and nature.
Used by the Masters
The Golden Ratio proportions have been used by renowned artists in their masterpieces in the past. The value of the golden ratio is equivalent to 1.618, which is used to determine the dimensions of a painting when it comes to size, composition and colours. Leonardo’s ‘The Last Supper’ is based on the Golden Ratio. Whether this is by design or accident is still subject to speculation.
Fractal geometry consists of infinite repeating patterns. Fractals are most evident to us in Geometry. They demonstrate the geometrically spiralling pattern of the Golden Ratio. In nature there are other “beautiful line patterns to be found; for example spider’s webs, leaf vein patterns, the arc of a rainbow, the line of tree buttresses”.
The face of perfect beauty is one where the distance between various facial features such as from the tip of the nose to the chin, the top of the head to the pupil of the eye and so on. Jessica Simpson, George Clooney and Paula Zahn have this so-called perfect facial beauty.
In music the golden ratio is apparent is the organisation of the sections in the music of Debussy and Bartok. For example in Debussy’s piece, ‘Reflection in Water’ the sequence of keys is marked out by the intervals of 34,21,13, 8. The transcendental quality of this piece of music owes as much to the pianist as a product of a mathematical formula.
The Golden Ratio can help create a feeling of harmony and balance, and it is in this context that I would apply it to my designs. The message of my design and its application of the Golden Ratio would meet my design objectives. Does it communicate what I need it to?
Simon is a Sydney based digital designer. He is the Director of a boutique digital design studio, Bailey Street Design located in the vibrant inner west suburb of Newtown. Simon studied graphic design at Shillington College and specialises in web design for small and medium size businesses. Simon and his team (Toby the studio dog) are passionate about visual communication in the digital environment.
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