Golden Section confusion-Layouts!

bagopeas's picture

Hi All,

I realise this subject has been previously discussed but i still cant seem to find the answer to my question.

How do we actually use the GS?
My tutors at college never actually explained it properly ( to be honest i dont even think they got it!) so its a matter that always baffled me.

I know how to construct it, depending on the chosen page dimensions etc, but when i get all the proportions right how do i implement it?
Sorry this might sound silly, but i cant seem to find anything online with a good amount of examples.

Also, do people actually use it? I have been reading mixed reviews.

When i get a design brief i usually analyze the content and let that guide the layout. The reason why i want to implement the GS is because i feel that it would improve my compositions/layout and provide more of a cohesive direction.

Many thanx in advance.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

In terms of layout: I personally never use the golden section. I just eye it. If it looks right, I’ll use it. Perhaps I should, though :) I’m not world famous yet.

In terms of type: I know many of the old classic types used the golden section to determine x-height vs ascender (or was it cap) height.

William Berkson's picture

I find the golden section interesting, but in the end not so useful as a goal.

The problem is that one proportion is in the context of many others, and the relationship among all is more important than the one proportion. For example, on a typical book page you have the text block, four margins, and the proportions of the page itself, and how it relates to the other page in the spread. Then running heads and page numbers are additional factors, which may or may not be counted as 'text block'. Only the text and page blocks are likely to be golden in proportion, and then only one of those. To my eyes the way they all fit together is more important than any one being "golden".

Also the economic demands of not wasting paper often militates against very large margins, which make it easier to get the golden proportions on the text block.

bagopeas's picture

thanks for the replies!
ive been wrecking my brains with this and just decided the way forward for me is to eyeball it. i love experimenting on the page but thought maybe i needed some rigidity. i dont think that was such a good idea, tho i do find it useful to understand the golden section and there are guidelines that i try to follow so i guess it all works out.

gracias once again!

dirtcastle's picture

In my own work, I find that I get the best results when I consider the grid AFTER the initial craetive impulse. I find it most useful in understanding what I have created and occasionally in fine tuning.

If your layout has many elements, there may be several overlapping or even competing grid/ratio relationships.

Some layouts call for balance, while others call for tension.

But I agree with your conclusion about eyeballing. Ultiamtely that is what one should strive for. Of course, some of us must learn to eyeball it. Not everyone is blessed with perfect ratio pitch.

I recently started learning photography and I have noticed that the ratio plays a huge role. When I first started taking shots, I often needed to crop my photos in Photoshop. But now I rarely need to crop them because I got a better feel for cropping ratios on the spot.

bagopeas's picture

You make a good point there dirtcastle about considering a grid after youve sorted out a layout. It definately helps structure your vision as opposed to dictate it.

Very interesting about the photography, do you work with the rule of the thirds? I myself am getting back into photography and taking it quite seriously. i reckon its a very good way to train the eye.

dirtcastle's picture

What's the "Rule of the Thirds"?

dirtcastle's picture

I remember reading that article by Jason.

I guess I occasionally apply an intuitive "Rule of Thirds" (ROT) approach, but with a variable central space.

The great things about GR, is that it is so perfect, and yet has so much tension. It's dynamic. ROT would seem to have a static tendency. Of course, static can be good sometimes.

With photography, I am definitely mindful of ratios, but not ROT. It seems static and absolute, whereas I try to stay loose and flexible.

I think I draw imaginary lines during composition, but they can be diagonal, curved, asymetrical. I think a lot of great photographers unconsciously "break the grid". There are several good books on this subject, including Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop by Timothy Samara.

Syndicate content Syndicate content