As a seashell collector with a background in engineering and medicine, it was only natural to turn to the golden ratio when I decided to make something beautiful by starting to design visual poems. If you’re not familiar with the golden ratio, this blog post will tell you what it is, how to use the golden ratio in art and design and it will show you 7 examples of how I used the golden ratio in visual poetry.
What is the golden ratio and why is it important?
Imagine a line split in two parts: a and b. If (a+b)/a=a/b, then that ratio between a and b is called the golden ratio, the golden mean, the golden section or the divine proportion.
The golden ratio is important in art and design because proportioning one’s creation by making use of this irrational number (which is approximately 1.618) leads to aesthetically pleasing art and design.
How to use the golden ratio in art and design
There are probably ways to use the golden ratio in non-visual arts such as music, but here I’ll give a few ideas on how to use the golden ratio in visual art and design with examples below on how I used these in my own visual poems:
- fit the image you create inside a golden rectangle. A golden rectangle is a rectangle whose width is a, whose length is a+b and if you divide a/b you get the golden ratio.
- place the main part of your image in the left or right third of the image (leaving the other two free) by using a golden ratio grid as your guideline instead of using the rule of thirds, thereby dividing the grid in 1:0.618:1 instead of 1:1:1.
- place the main part of your image in the origin of a golden spiral. A golden spiral is a spiral which gets wider by a factor of the golden ratio with every new quarter turn.
- if your image has a shape other than a rectangle or if it contains different shapes which increase in size, you can use a different golden shape to balance the elements inside your image or to place the main part of your image. You can have circles, triangles, pentagons and many other shapes increasing in size by a factor of the golden ratio and following a linear path (sitting next to each other, e.g. squares) or the path of a golden spiral.
How I use the golden ratio when designing visual poems
I start each visual poem by sketching an Ikebana flower arrangement, but instead of using cut flowers, I use English words and seashells, the latter being an example of the golden ratio in nature. While the growth path of each seashell made by a mollusk is different depending on its species and environment, I have inadvertently included many logarithmic spirals into these poems through this choice.
2. The golden spiral
While there are many ways to use the golden spiral when you create something beautiful, I use this golden spiral image 4 times as a separate layer in Inkscape, the main open source software I use when designing marine Ikebana poems from lyrics and photos of my seashells, mainly to find the perfect place for the title and/or logo/signature of each poem:
3. The golden ratio grid
I also use the golden ratio grid when deciding on where to place the seashell vase of each Ikebana arrangement as you see below:
Ready to see some examples of the golden ratio in art and design?
Scroll down to see 7 examples of everyday items on which marine Ikebana poems designed with the help of the golden ratio are available.
Sophisticated rare beautiful seashell garden poem photo block (desk and shelf decor)
Which one do you like the most? I’d love to hear from you in a comment below!