The Gold of
Good Numerals

The Gold of Good Numerals

Across generations, numbers have always fascinated humankind. Not only does it serve its purpose to count and measure, but it can also be used to label, keep a record of things, draw, design, and so on. We often underestimate the importance of numbers and their influence on our lives and surroundings. People have discovered several number sequences, number patterns, and unique number relations over many centuries. Many such designs are often found in life and nature and often influence how we look at things. One such special relationship between numbers is the golden ratio.

The golden ratio is a mathematical concept known since the time of the ancient Greeks. Also called the number phi, this ratio is known to represent the dimensions of perfect beauty. Hence, the name "golden" ratio. This unique mathematical concept creates aesthetically pleasing designs and is featured in art and architecture worldwide. 

So, what is the golden ratio? When a line is divided into two, and the ratio of the long segment divided by the short segment is equal to the whole length divided by the long segment, it is said to be in the golden ratio. Mathematicians have approximated this value to 1.618. The Greeks developed the golden ratio from the Fibonacci sequence, which is the sum of the two numbers before it. The series goes like 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc. The ratios of the sequential numbers in the Fibonacci sequence approach the golden ratio, especially when we go higher. 

The golden ratio is often called the 'divine proportion.’ This is because we can find many patterns in nature that follow this ratio. Some say that this is the idealized population ratio. When we divide the female honeybees in any given hive by the male bees in the same pack, we will get 1.618. This is also the case of population growth in rabbits under idealized conditions. The golden ratio in population growth was so valuable that people used it to predict the population growth of major cities in the 1970s.

The golden ratio can also form a rectangle called the 'golden rectangle,’ and a sequence of such rectangles creates a spiral. Many claims that this spiral-like shape can be found in many places in nature - a snail's shell, a flower bud, a chameleon's tail, and the most popular of all, a nautilus seashell. The golden spiral is also found in natural phenomena like the spiral galaxy, a whirlpool, and a tornado.

The human body also has several links to the golden ratio. It is said that the ratio of the height of the navel to the height of the body is 1.618. There is also a belief that specific proportions of a perfect human face relate to the golden ratio.

How can the golden ratio be used in the design? Following this unique mathematical approach in image composition helps create amazing designs and excellent photo composition. Using this ratio to figure out the perfect header to body font size ratio or achieve the ideal amount of white space in an image helps create a balanced and attractive visual appeal. 

Logo designing and website designing often use the golden ratio. To achieve the right proportion and shapes in their logos, designers often employ the golden ratio. Famous logos that follow this are Twitter, Pepsi, and Apple. There are several tools and software that help you design and optimize according to this golden proportion. Designers also use this to create the perfect layout for their homepage or blog pages. 

The golden ratio may be just a number. Still, the beauty and perfection associated with it are fascinating to the human eye. Who would have ever wondered that the mathematician Subha Rakesh was right when he said, "mathematics is the beautiful language of the universe."