Leonardo Da Vinci was a scientist, mathematician, and one of the world’s most renowned artists. Hopefully you’ve seen his master painting, The Mona Lisa. (If not, take a field trip to an art museum and get some culture in your life ASAP.)
One thousand years before Da Vinci was born, ancient Greek architects designed one of the world’s most famous buildings, the Parthenon. Five hundred years after Da Vinci died, Salvador Dali rocked the art world with his surrealist paintings.
Yet despite the differences in time, style, and place, all of these artists share one common thread: the golden ratio.
What Is It?
The golden ratio is derived from a series of numbers called the Fibonacci sequence. Basically, the idea is that you add the numbers in the sequence together, starting with 0 and 1. As the resulting numbers grow bigger, the difference between each pair of numbers gets closer and closer to the golden ratio. (For you math nerds, the ratio is 1:1.618).
What Makes It So Special?
Once Fibonnaci discovered his sequence (and the ancient Greeks discovered the ratio within it), many scientists, mathematicians, and artists began to notice the golden ratio everywhere. It occurs naturally in plants and animals, like a sunflower’s seeds or the spiral shell of a snail or even in human faces. And of course, we’ve adopted it for architecture and art.
It’s no wonder, then, that the golden ratio has come to play a large part in graphic design. You can use it to make sure the elements of a logo are proportional or to see how headlines and body text should be sized relative to one another. The golden ratio even plays a role in photo editing: cropping with the golden spiral in mind does wonders for your photo’s composition.
Want to learn more about using the golden ratio in your designs—or wondering how “the golden spiral” works? Read the original post for in-depth examples and online tools, plus an infographic to walk you through Golden Ratio 101.