Anyone that has spent a significant of time in design will come upon what many consider the “Holy Grail” of design strategy, the Golden Ratio. It’s considered the perfect design strategy in some circles as well as a hoax in others. So why the extreme difference of opinion as well as what truly is the Golden Ratio. Let’s explore.
The Making of a Legend
2,300 years ago Euclid came up with a mathematical equation that stated “two objects are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. The value this works out to is usually written as 1.6180.” In essence it means that if you’ve got two objects within a rectangle and do some fancy math, you get the perfect design. This was supposedly used to create the Mona Lisa, Pyramids of Giza, and even the Apple logo. Those are pretty famous objects to build the resume of the “Golden Ratio”, but one question begs to be asked. Who’s to say that the “Golden Ratio” is the perfect method of designing? That was created 2300 years ago and many people thought the world was flat back then so why is this perfect?
Design is like Religion
The belief in the Golden Ratio is very similar to how many believe in their religion. It’s their be all, end all and everything others believe is incorrect. However, it’s not that simple. Just like a religion, the belief in design principals vary from person to person. Another thing that varies is what someone believes in what makes a quality design. Therefore, the Golden Ratio is not necessarily a falsehood or a myth, but one way of looking at what makes an effective design. I would also challenge the thought that the Golden Ratio is something that a creator with an Engineering brain would find more effective using compared to a Creative brain that is much more loose in their design thought. We’ll talk about these two in a later blog post.
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder!
The Golden Ratio is not a perfect system for the world of design. Does it work for some? Sure. But, does it work for all? No. The truth of the matter is that the tastes of the world are not based on the creation of one. That’s what makes the world such an imperfectly perfect place. There is no method to the madness that we can all follow which allows for people to constantly be able to create on their own without the need for a formula, that is, unless you want to be tied to one!
In short, the Golden Ratio is neither a myth nor a perfect science for all. It’s a scientific way of looking at design that was created by people who also believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe. How’d that work out for them?
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