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Designing with the Golden Ratio Photoshop Layer.

Inverted Design while cool is for the blog only.(It does have a very Super Saiyin feel to it)

I am by no means a professional graphic designer, and I say this, because I feel that I'm not at a comfort/skill level where I would design for compensation. I do however create my own logo's, and graphics, all the logos on the service page were designed by me, and created in Photoshop. With all the disclaimers out of the way I required a new logo for an upcoming project, and decided that it was time to try and expand my graphic design skill set, so I attempted to design with the Golden Ratio.

I first came across the concept of the "Golden Ratio" as David Cole was debunking the concept that Apple's logo is designed mathematically to these stringent proportions (Quora Answer). I later found out that my coveted rule of thirds is considered by many to be inferior to the golden ratio, so I thought lets give this thing a shot.

It took me a while to figure out why this rectangle containing a smaller rectangle and square was so special. Rather than flat out ruining your day with some long winded math heavy explanation, I'll sum it up in two sentences, and an infographic.

Golden Rectangle
You take a rectangle and divide it into a big square, and tiny rectangle. If the length of the square divided by the length of the tiny rectangle is also equal to the whole length of the entire large rectangle divided by the length of the inner square you have a golden rectangle


The cool part is that golden rectangles can be divided infinitely to make more golden rectangles. The constant number you reach while dividing is 1.618....more commonly known as Phi.

Now that I had the basic understanding of golden rectangles, what I needed was an overlay I could put into Photoshop so I could get the proportions. (which I found and will share with you Download). Essentially it's a custom shape that you can draw into a transparent top layer, and use as your guide.

When I finished my Logo adhering to the golden ratio, I was left with this


I was happy with the overall look, but because of the nature of my logo I had tons of dead space which I wasn't too thrilled with.


I decided to crop out the dead space maintaining the aspect ratio of the design but destroying the golden ratio, which left me with the following


On the other hand I could have adhered to the golden ratio, and simply stretched the image giving it a wider feel. Both are nice but the wider image doesn't pop out to me as being dramatically more aesthetically pleasing, so I stuck with the original design. I could be wrong though, if it's better leave a comment below.




In the end I think using the golden ratio isn't a matter of adhering strictly to Phi, but using it as a generally accepted guide to proportions. Art can't be created with math, only enhanced. So this exercise, while very enriching, only reinforced what I already believed.

  • We must first understand the rules in order to effectively break them. 
  • If it looks right that's good enough. 

So load your editor setup your guides, and then eyeball the hell out of it till it works for you.

Cheers, and Graphic Design Teddy Bears!
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