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One Amazing Trick to Guarantee Great Design!!!

Our lives would be so much easier if great design boiled down to a mathematical formula.

Doug Novak, Creative

Maybe you’ve heard that great graphic design, product design, architecture, and even Renaissance art are based on the Fibonacci Number Integer Sequence. No? Hmm… maybe you’re more familiar with its colloquial name: The Golden Ratio Spiral.

What’s the Golden Ratio Spiral?

Wikipedia has a pretty confusing article about it, but essentially The Golden Ratio Spiral looks like a rectangle that is made up of smaller squares, each half* the size of the previous, and a curved line connecting two opposing corners of each box that forms a spiral. It’s based on a sequence of numbers (those Fibonacci numbers mentioned earlier) which are “characterized by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding ones.” Whatever that means.

*Not actually half.

Fibonacci Mathematical Golden Spiral

The Fibonacci Mathematical Golden Spiral

So what? 

Well, what if there was one template or guide that you could use on anything that you were working on to ensure that it was well designed? Golden Spiral enthusiasts seems to theorize that you could, and they love to show examples of how all beautiful designs adhere to it—even NATURE!

So you may ask, “If I’m a mathematician, does that mean that I’m a graphic designer/ product designer/ architect/ fine artist of Renaissance paintings too?” OR “If I’m a talented designer, does that mean that I’m some kind of mathematician too?” Individual results may vary. In my case, while the calculator is probably the most used app on my phone, I’m more likely to be using it to figure out a 20% tip at a restaurant than I am to be calculating the integer sequence of a page layout or the shape of a logo.

Hmmm, so is the Golden Spiral BS?

Well, look at these other examples and draw your own conclusion.

The truth is good design isn’t accidental. It’s also not formulaic and template-able.

Leading the eye through a design using scale, hierarchy, balance, and the implementation white space—among other things—is more likely to be applied instinctually by a designer than applied via the mathematical template of a spiral.