Go for the Gold: Using the Golden Ratio for Great Graphic Design

What does an ancient mathematical principle have to do with modern graphic design? More than you might guess! The “Golden Ratio” is found throughout nature and has influenced the design of everything from the Pyramids at Giza and DaVinci’s Mona Lisa to contemporary logos for Pepsi, Chevron, Apple, and Twitter. The Golden Ratio is an essential tool that we use every day at Articulate Solutions to create stunning work that “wows” our clients—and delivers real results.

What is the Golden Ratio, Exactly?
The Golden Ratio is often defined as the ratio “A/B”, where the ratio of “A” to “B” is the same as the ratio of the entire segment (“A+B”) to the larger segment (“A”). And no matter what size you are working with, the ratio always works out to 1.618.

In a simple line segment, it looks like this:

Don’t let these equations scare you. Even if the math seems a little complex, the Golden Ratio is quite simple. In fact, it appears in nature all around us—including human faces, flowers, fern fronds, and seashells.

At Articulate Solutions, we find that the more we incorporate the Golden Ratio formula in design, the more pleasing the outcome. Why? The Golden Ratio creates harmony, beauty, balance, and hierarchy. It also ensures that the composition feels organic and aesthetically pleasing—even though most viewers are completely unaware of it.

Here are three ways that the creative team at Articulate Solutions uses the Golden Ratio:

#1: Golden Ratio in Website Design
The most common way we use the Golden Ratio is when we design website page layouts. We typically start with a 960-pixel width layout and divide it by 1.618. That gives us 594 pixels, which we use for the height of the layout. We then break this layout into two columns, using the Golden Ratio formula to achieve more grids. The two-column layout shown below is well suited to web design, providing a natural sense of order, balance and hierarchy.

#2: Golden Ratio in Typography
The Golden Ratio also helps us determine the font size we use for body copy and headings on flyers, posters, web pages, and even blog posts (like this one!). If we are using 10-point type for the body copy, we multiply 10 by 1.168 to get 16.18. That means that we should use a header text size of 16- or 17-point. Following the Golden Ratio proportions provides balance as well as a clear sense of hierarchy, giving the right amount of weight and importance to the headings.


#3: Golden Ratio in Logo Design
We also use the Golden Ratio formula to create unique logo marks for our clients. For example, the logo we created for leadership consultant Bobbie LaPorte uses circles within the Golden Ratio as a grid to form a perfectly balanced contemporary logo design that is memorable and aesthetically satisfying on a deep cerebral level.

At Articulate Solutions, all of our highly skilled graphic designers know the Golden Ratio and the number 1.618 by heart, and we apply it to a wide range of projects we develop for our clients. (Perhaps that has something to do with all the gold design awards we’ve got up on our trophy wall!)

Ready to take your logo, flyers, advertisements, and websites to the next level? Put the Articulate Solutions creative team (and the Golden Ratio) to work for you!


Articulate Solutions is a premier marketing agency in the Bay Area that has been delivering award-winning creative work for almost 30 years. Our talented designers and marketing experts provide a full range of creative services that deliver lasting results for your organization, from logo development and marketing collateral to advertising campaigns and social media management. Ready to see what great design can do for you? Contact us today to get started!

Posted on June 29, 2020