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The Golden Ratio is the stuff of legend (and I believe some derision if Pepsi's latest logo change is of any indication) and is purported to have been used in many famous projects. My question is two-fold, really: Is the Golden Ratio really a good tool used in modern design (defined here as 20th century on forward), and if so, how often is it used outside of the aforementioned known uses?

EDIT: To @e100's first comment, examples of modern use of the Golden Ratio would be a great thing to add here if there any documented or arguably conclusive uses of it.

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Jan Tschichold's mid-20th century book layout work, based on studies of medieval manuscripts, is referenced on the Golden Ratio Wikipedia page you cite, so not sure if you're looking for examples other than that? –  e100 Jan 6 '11 at 21:40
    
Just to note the derision around the Pepsi logo was aimed at a rather odd background document which appeared to place the "Pepsi Ratio" on a similar pedestal to the Golden Ratio, but that was by far the least outlandish of its propositions. –  e100 Jan 7 '11 at 12:58
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That "BREATHTAKING" Pepsi logo background document in full - slideshare.net/tblogosphere/pepsi-gravitational-field The diagrams comparing "Relativity of Space and Time" to the "Gravitational pull of Pepsi" are my favourite :) –  user568458 Aug 7 '12 at 12:19
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There's a question on if/how it actually works on the Cognitive Science site, some interesting answers cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/1627/… –  user568458 Sep 11 '12 at 16:50
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5 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I asked a similar question on the usefulness of the Golden Ratio on the User Interface site. Unfortunately, there isn't any compelling and objective evidence that the Golden Ratio actually does what everyone says it does, despite the plethora of blog posts about it.

That said, I don't think that using the Golden Ratio hurts a design. It's an eye-pleasing proportion and a design always benefits from following a plan.

I don't have statistics regarding the use of the Golden Ratio, but anecdotally, I think that more logos and websites don't use it than do. The majority of web designs and logos simply aren't created by trained designers and so less people will actually be aware of it.

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I think that many of the designers that use the golden ratio don't sit down and think "I'm going to incorporate the golden ratio", quite often it just falls that way because the GR is actually quite pleasing to look at, so as proportions go they probably sized it in lots of different ways and then the most pleasing just happened to be the GR. That being said, the GR is used a lot more prevalently in layouts than logos and graphics. Laying out a magazine with the GR is quite often the preferred style unless you are going for something a little more abstract. –  Dan Hanly Jan 20 '11 at 16:53
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Using golden ratio it is a good practice, because it is a constant proportion, but at the same time it increase in exponential matter, becoming interesting respect to other proportions. You shouldn't feel compelled to use it, but it is a great guideline in defining a design project.

If you talk about modern, on the internet, you cannot just apply the golden ratio to a web designed page. You can apply it on graphic design, software or product design, and it is nice applied because it is a proportion that it is doesn't look boring.

The reason that you cannot apply to web design it is because, web design it is a flexible design and not static/immutable: text can change proportion, different monitor proportions, layout can change size, the disposition of paragraphs and images can lose the relation. Too many variables to take in consideration.

I saw websites done by good designers trying to apply it, but still users with a simple click or resize of a page can change the whole proportion losing the effect. So for me you cannot apply golden ratio to something that cannot maintain a static proportions. You can try, but the effort of achieving it, it is not worth the result.

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The new twitter design is based off the golden ratio:

alt text

Source: Twitter's Flickr page

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Not sure what the downvote was for? –  maq Jan 8 '11 at 4:42
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I believe they have changed the width of the two columns since, Golden Ratio no longer applies. To me, the use was GR was a bit gimmicky. I don't think it works well on the web, at all. Golden Ratio, like many grid systems serves as a guide. As a designer, we need to think about what the best way to present content first, instead of thinking what grid system to choose. (btw I didn't downvote). –  Jin Jan 8 '11 at 5:39
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-1: I think this is a misleading graphic - yes, the width of the two main columns approximately follows the Golden Ratio, but the overall cropping of the screen to a Golden Rectangle and inscribed red lines seem to imply there's more to it, including some kind of height relationship, which just isn't there. The relationships at top right seem to work in this particular graphic, but that's dependent on the length of the username and tweet. –  e100 Jan 9 '11 at 10:07
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I don't know the answer, but I'm fairly sure that its use is massively outweighed by the 1:(square root of 2) ratio, approximately equal to 1.414, used for ISO paper sizes globally and thus all kinds of posters, leaflets, flyers, brochures, magazines, etc.

Or simple ratios like 1:2, 1:3, 2:3 etc, which often occur in layouts based on columns or grids.

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Just a Comment I found interesting

Note to designers: Golden Ratio Typography is intended to serve as a basis for proper typesetting. Factors such as x-height and other typeface metrics also influence typography and should be considered in finalized designs. Golden Ratio Typography provides the most rational starting point for adjustments of this nature.

source

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"Golden Ratio Typography provides the most rational starting point" = a purely subjective comment. –  DA01 Aug 30 '12 at 22:21
    
@DA01: Not a expert of this mate but I found it helpful so added to the post. –  Jawad Aug 30 '12 at 22:25
    
I think it does, in a way. The 'golden ratio' tends to be a bit of an overused design platitude. ;) –  DA01 Aug 30 '12 at 22:46
    
@DA01: As I said, no more than a noob in this field, have no idea about what is leading or kerning in a font even. Did not even know "GR" existed. Always thougt it was 1:4:9 but that was quantum mechanics. The OP and others who asnwered are better "rivals (for want of a better term)" in favour or against this concept. Been a good reading though. –  Jawad Aug 30 '12 at 23:07
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