Exploring fractals and design

Fractals are intricate geometric structures created when patterns (or pieces of patterns) are altered and duplicated at ever-diminishing scales.  Besides having a tremendously important effect across a range of sciences, fractals make a stunning picture on your tablet. Even simple shapes can quickly grow complicated when they are altered again and again.  A close look can reveal endless variations of the same design theme.

Scientists use fractals to better comprehend rainfall trends, patterns formed by cloud and waves and the distribution of vegetation.

They have been called mathematics for the eye and emotions.  Others that have been overwhelmed by the beauty see the hand of God in fractals.

Naturally occurring fractals

Countless examples of fractals can be found in nature.  Plants, animals and even nonliving structures like rivers and rocks have designs that can be duplicated using mathematical laws.

nautilus shell
The nautilus shell’s spiral pattern is based on the duplication and alteration of a single curved rib.

The rib is the seed shape.  The succeeding ribs are duplicates of the seed shape that have each been altered in exactly the same way, a process that is called iteration.  In the case of the above image, each rib has been rotated slightly, scaled down and moved in a counterclockwise direction.

The leaf’s seed shape is a straight line.  Each iteration creates a duplicate line that branches from the first.  Each part of the of the vein of the leaf forms a part that is in some way similar to the whole.

 

Fractal design according to promising research results may help to the stress response of the observer.  Stress reduction is of enormous benefit to society and their use by designers to influence mood and communicate balance and harmony in their designs.

 

teamSimon 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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