The Golden Ratio

Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a sort of unspoken symmetry about certain things? Or how sometimes some things might look a bit off until you shorten it here or lengthen it there, but you can’t really explain why it looks better now? What you are unknowingly observing, or subconsciously trying to achieve, is the Golden Ratio.


The golden ratio, represented by the Greek letter ϕ (phi), is often associated with the Fibonacci sequence. Mathematically speaking, if the ratio between two quantities is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities, they are said to be in the golden ratio. But what does this mean practically? The numerical representation of this ratio is 1.618.


This number exists everywhere around us, as it is most pleasing to the human eye. The best example is the harmonious rectangle. Almost everything we use in our day to day lives (that’s rectangular shaped) has this 1:1.618 ratio. Take flags for example, every country has its own unique flag, but apart from a few, they all have the golden ratio.


Pieces of paper that we write or print on, A4, A3, whatever you pick, it’s there. Furniture often fits in here too, unless you’re specifically looking for something a bit longer or wider, standard table or desk dimensions will usually fit the ratio. Classic TV screens, computers, or tablets; 1:1.618. It’s not just larger things, but small things too. The universal size for cards is another great example, it doesn’t matter if it’s your bank card, gym membership or library card, they all somehow ended up the same size.


Curled up Myriapoda

Getty Images / Moment / Helder Faria


Nature also has its fair share of golden ratios. Look down now at your hands, or at your fingers to be more precise. From the tip of your finger to your knuckle, and then from that knuckle to the next, and again; each of these goes up in accordance to phi. Measure from your shoulder to your elbow, and then to your fingertip, or hip bone to knee, and then to heel. Even tiny insects; the ratios of each body segment to each other are golden. Go on, have a look around you, and see what else you can find.


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