Shivanshi Sharma

The Fibonacci Fingerprint

Finding the Golden Ratio in the Fundamentals of Design

What is the Golden Ratio?

Also known as the Golden Section, Golden Mean, Divine Proportion, or the Greek letter Phi (φ), the Golden Ratio is a mathematical concept that has influenced art and design for millennia. is a special number whose value is approximately equal to 1.618. The ratio itself comes from the Fibonacci sequence, a naturally occurring sequence of numbers that can be found everywhere, from the number of leaves on a tree to the shape of a seashell and has been a significant influence in various fields, particularly art and design.

The Fibonacci sequence is the sum of the two numbers before it. It goes: 0, 1,1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and so on, to infinity. From this pattern, the Greeks developed the Golden Ratio to better express the difference between any two numbers in the sequence.

How does this relate to design?

You can find the Golden Ratio when you divide a line into two parts and the longer part (a) divided by the smaller part (b) is equal to the sum of (a) + (b) divided by (a), which both equal 1.618. This formula can help you when creating shapes, logos, layouts, and more. When this proportion is achieved, the human eye perceives a balanced, organic aesthetic.

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Here are four ways to incorporate the Golden Ratio in design:

1. Typography and Defining Hierarchy

The Golden Ratio can help you figure out what size font you should use for headers and body copy on a website, landing page, blog post, or even print campaign.

Let’s say your body copy is 12px. If you multiply 12 by 1.618, you’ll get 19.416, meaning a header text size of 19px or 20px would follow the Golden Ratio and balance the 12px body font size.

If you want to figure out how big your body text size should be, you could do the opposite. If your header text is 25px, you can divide it by 1.618 to find the body text (15 or 16 px).

2. Cropping and Resizing Images

When cropping images, it’s easy to identify white space to cut out. But, how do you make sure the image is still balanced after you resize it? You can use the Golden Spiral as a guide for the image’s composition.

For example, if you overlay the Golden Spiral on an image, you can make sure that the focal point is in the middle of the spiral. This technique ensures a finished image where negative space and key visual details achieve an organic, proportional balance.

3. Layout

Leveraging the Golden Ratio can help you design a visually appealing UI that draws the user’s attention to what matters the most. Website designs, advertisements, editorial spreads, brochures, and other layouts can all implement the Golden Ratio as an underlying grid structure.  For example, a page that highlights a wide block of content on the left with a narrower column on the right can follow the Golden Ratio’s proportions and help you decide where to put the most important content and influence the order in which viewers read and interpret content.

4. Logo Development

If you’re designing a new logo and get caught in a creative block, turn to the Golden Ratio to help you sketch out the proportions and shapes. Many popular logos follow the Golden Ratio, like Twitter, Apple, Pepsi and several other iconic logos feature Golden Ratio-derived dimensions and geometric shapes, whether consciously integrated or intuitively included by their designers.

The Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Sequence, with their inherent mathematical ingenuity, have proven to be invaluable tools in the hands of graphic designers. By applying these principles to composition, layout, typography, and other design elements, designers can create visually captivating works that resonate with a sense of harmony and balance. While these mathematical concepts offer guidelines, they also leave room for creativity, allowing designers to find that sweet spot between structure and artistic expression.