Thursday, July 23, 2009

This week in school #2

Once again, not in school because it's summer, so we're going to recap about....
Phi (also known as the Golden Ratio)

Anyone in any field that involves people looking at your work (art, architecture, design, advertising, plastic surgery...almost anything I can possibly think of) should learn about phi. If you are in these fields already and have never heard of the Golden didn't learn enough in college, sorry. Phi, or the Golden Ratio, is the mathematical reasoning behind why we find certain things aesthetically pleasing and other things not so much.

Phi is basically this:
(a+b)/a = a/b =phi OR 1+2=3....3+2=5....5+3=8....8+5=13, etc then divided by the previously found number: (3/2)(5/3)(8/5)(13/8)etc....

The exact number of Phi is approximately 1.618

So, how does this all translate visually?

We'll start off with Architecture. Studies of the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, have concluded that many of the proportions of the site approximate Phi, or the Golden Ratio. A more recent architect, Le Corbusier, strongly emphasized Phi not only his structures, but also studied the Golden Ratio in relationship to the human body, emphasizing what Leanardo da Vinci did not. For example: To the left is a picture of the Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier. (I Googled this online and could not find any picture that anyone has ever marked up with the Golden Ratio before, this is my original "Phi Finding.") Not only was the building's width created by the turning radius of Le Corbusier's car, the width of the driveway is phi to the height of the 1st level, and is also phi to the length of the entire 2nd level. The 1st level facade opening is phi to concrete below it. The 2nd level window are phi to the concrete above it. The list goes on and on. Le Corbusier's work was extremely emphasized by the Golden Ratio, that you can almost find it anywhere in his structures.

Now onto something that many of you have probablly seen before; the Golden Ratio of a face. The Golden Ratio strongly effects who we find attractive and who we find ugly. If you Google image search "Golden Ratio face" you will see picture of famous Hollywood start whose face fits perfectly into the "Golden Ratio mask." No matter what culture or color a face is, if it fits the golden ratio, we will find it attractive. I wouldn't be surprised if modeling agents carried around a transparent golden ratio mask so they could figure out instantly if you even have the chance of becoming a model. Not only can the Golden Ratio be found on our faces. Nearly our entire body is composed of a golden ratio! The length of our legs compared to our arms, the length of our body compared to our legs, the legnth of our hand compared to our arm, the list goes on and on and on!

More examples of Phi can be found in nature as well. To the left is an example of the "Fibonacci sequence" spiral. The Fibonacci sequence is merely the name of the sequence of numbers that I stated above (1,1,2,3,5,8,13,etc). This sequence can be found in such simple things as shells, flower, and hurricanes! It can also be found in the growth of a plant. Each number to the left represents the number of stems created in the average plant's growth. Interesting huh?

So if you aren't yet using Phi or the Golden Ratio to subconsciously influence the way people view your work, you should seriously research the complexities of this valuable tool that is found in nature. For some reason, we find Phi attractive and aesthetically pleasing to us, no matter what form it is found in, so you might as well use that to your advantage!

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