Tech Tips« Back to Ideas Collection
More Tech Tips
- • Unlocking Design Flow Secrets: Expert Advice for Print Projects
- • Packaging Your Files for Print: 5 Simple Steps for Flawless Printing Results
- • 6 Tips for Creating an Impossible-to-Ignore Cover
- • A Perfect Landing Place
- • Understanding Typographic Emphasis and Hierarchy
- • How to Rebrand Your Business in 7 Steps
- • 4 Principles That Can Make or Break Your Grid Designs
- • Using Glyph Shortcuts in Your Design Software
- • Sharpen InDesign Type Spacing with Three Easy Tips
- • Kiss Print Hassles Goodbye by Packaging Print-Ready PDFs
- • Employ Printed QR Codes for a Rapid Response
- • 6 InDesign Best Practices
- • Understanding Photoshop File Formats
- • Leading Like a Pro
- • Become A Keyboard Shortcut Superman
- • Master the Light With Custom White Balance
- • Spot, Heal, Clone: The Perfect Combination
- • 4 Illustrator Hacks You Didn't Know You Needed
- • Preflighting: The Perfect Launch
- • Think Inside the Box with Grid Systems
- • Caring for the Widows and Orphans
- • Fix Distorted Photos
- • Fine Tuning Typography
- • Real-Time CMYK Previews
- • Compose Yourself!
- • Understanding Compound Paths
Add Beauty and Balance Using the Golden Ratio and the Perfect Spiral
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it actually stems from mathematics.
Proportion is one of the guiding principles of design. Proportion includes the visual size and weight of elements and how they relate to each other. Proportion helps you group your design in sections, like consolidating elements by size, amount, or numbers. Whether it’s columns in a magazine, sidebars on a poster, or focal points in photography, proportion communicates importance and helps the brain decode information.
The Golden Ratio
When you want to create captivating designs, remember that the Golden Ratio (1: 0.618) is the most recognized proportion that aesthetically appeals to humans. With its strict proportions, this ratio creates harmony, off-center midpoints, and even gorgeous spirals.
To use the golden ratio, you can start with a line, a square, a rectangle, or even a triangle. On a line, points A and B are placed at opposing vertices, and point C is set between the points. On an AB line, for example, the golden ratio is achieved if the center point C is placed so that line AB divided by section AC is equal to section AC divided by section CB. Point C is placed at the “golden ratio point,” or approximately 0.618.
It looks like this:
The Fibonacci Sequence
Once you’ve studied and mastered the golden ratio in polygon shapes (or pages), you can compose perfect spirals within them. This phenomenon, called the Fibonacci Sequence, was proposed in Western science by an Italian mathematician in 1202. The numbers in this sequence are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc., where each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. When the proportions are right, the spiral created from this sequence matches some of the most intricate designs in nature – like a sunflower, a flowering artichoke, a budding pinecone, or an intricate snail shell.
Using the Fibonacci Sequence can bring an exquisite sense of balance to a page. In photography, some artists like to use Adobe Lightroom to perfect compositions during post-processing. This software has a range of crop overlays, including one called the Golden Ratio based on the Fibonacci Spiral. It offers an easy shortcut for incorporating a professional sizing and spacing system into your designs.
Want to try it?
When using the crop tool, move between the different types of crop overlays by using the shortcut key [o] and [shft] + [o] to toggle between the different angles and varieties of the overlay that are available. Position points of interest on the perfect spiral and lead viewers to explore the points of interest you capture in your image.
Working with this grid, you can shift elements to create energy, add natural balance to a page, and centralize headlines or focal points for maximum impact.
Effective visual communication is not an accidental occurrence, but the result of serious intention on the part the designer to balance all aspects of the design. This is often achieved through careful application of proportion based on certain guiding principles long in existence: the golden ratio, or divine proportion, and the Fibonacci sequence. Both mathematical constructs that mirror patterns found throughout nature, from leaves and shells to sunflowers and pinecones. Artists and designers have made use of these principles for centuries to create work with long lasting appeal, from renaissance paintings to modern logos. Following a practical overview, Visual Harmony presents a survey of contemporary graphic design that all exhibits this masterful use of proportion.