Tutorial Tuesday: How the Golden Mean can make your designs more compelling.

golden mean

In a previous Tutorial Tuesday session, we talked about designing on a grid and the importance of an underlying order in design. Today’s tutorial addresses a more subtle way of ordering designs: the Golden Mean – sometimes referred to as the Golden Ratio or the Divine Proportion.

Big disclaimer: I am not a mathematician, nor do I aspire to be. But there is more math in design than may be obvious. For example, uneven numbers tend to be more interesting than even ones, and a photo divided exactly in half tends to be static and dull:

So, what is the Golden Mean and how does it affect design? Mathematically, it is 1.618033987 or, expressed another way, the ratio of A plus B to A is the same ratio as A divided by B. Confused yet? Look at the image carefully, and decide how you can divide the elements of your design this way.

The eye finds arrangements on the Golden Mean to be aesthetically more pleasing, whether or not the viewer is actually aware of it. Read more about the Golden Mean here. If you don’t care for math calculations (I don’t), there are caliper tools to help out.

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