What is the golden ratio?

The golden ratio is a special number. Mathematically this number is an irrational number. This means that it has an infinite numbers after the decimal place. What makes this number so special is that you will find a lot of times in nature. Additionally the golden ratio has a lot of other names. You will hear other names like: golden mean, golden section, extreme and mean section, divine proportion, divine section, golden proportion, golden cut, golden number, etc. However, two quantities are in golden ratio  if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities.

Aside from the mathematical aspect of the golden ratio, let’s analyse why is this ratio important for design purposes. What is really interesting about this number is that it connects with harmony. From evolution point of view it seems that our brains are hard wired. to prefer this ratio. This number seems to act subconsciously. Our brain is somehow programmed to like this ratio.

How to use the golden ratio?

The golden ratio was used countless times throughout history. We don’t know exactly when this ratio appeared, but one thing is certain. The ancient Greeks have used it. Whether we talk about important mathematician like Pythagoras or Euclid, whether we search in artist’s work, the ratio is there. One great example comes from the Greeks. The Pantheon in Athens is the perfect example to demonstrates the presence of the golden ratio. As you can see in the picture below the width of the building and the height have the a ratio of 1.618…

But not only the building respects this ratio. All its constituting elements are in the same ratio with each other. If you want to read more about this topic I invite you to read this article.

Golden ratio in nature

What is really fascinating about the golden ratio is the fact that you can see countless examples day to day. It seems to be a natural number which is present in nature under numerous forms. Weather we speak about animals of plants this magical number pops up everywhere. Interestingly this seems to be present all over the universe. Hurricanes, galaxies or even the waves all seem to respect the golden spiral. I invite you to check out the following examples.

Golden Ratio


How to use it for your creative work?

Do you want to use the golden ratio in your photos? Are you using Lightroom during your image processing workflow? If the answer is YES then you may know that there is an option in Lightroom. You can crop your images using the golden ratio or golden spiral. If you don’t remember where you can change this setting here is where you can find it. With the crop overlay tool active go Tools/ Crop Guide Overlay/ Golden Spiral or Golden Ratio. This way you can crop your image respecting the golden ratio.

Final thoughts

I invite you to share your opinions in the comment section below. Do you use the golden ratio during your workflow process. Or do you think that it has some utilization in day to day activities? Leave a comment below.

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