- Jennifer Cooper

# When the designer met the mathematician…

Updated: May 4, 2019

I’m the designer and I needed some help from my Dad, who happens to be a maths teacher. I didn’t need his help with maths, I needed his carpentry skills. Unlucky for him, he is my right hand man for all things DIY.

I had a plan, I always have a plan. He gets roped in and then we usually make a new much more realistic plan. I wanted to make some display stands for my new range of Christmas cards using some pallets that should have been taken to the tip months before. However, as I sat staring at them with my cuppa one day I decided that it would be much better to repurpose them. Because that’s what’s cool these days. So in goes a call to my personal assistant, I mean Dad, and we begin to draw up some plans.

The Plans…

As a designer, I am aware of ‘The Golden Ratio’ and I suggested we use this within our design (I also wanted to impress my Dad that I knew some things to do with numbers, even if it is just that one thing) But I didn’t really remember how to work it out because I learnt that at art school about 15 years ago. I probably should have been using it a bit more…

The Lesson…

Everything is a lesson with Dad. But not in an annoying way, genuinely in a really interesting way. He begins sketching and explaining things to me and my sister who has since arrived and tried to distract Dad with her new found interest in Space.

The Golden Ratio…

Its basically a rectangle that is pleasing to our eyes. If you were handed a page with lots of rectangles, all different sizes and proportions, most of us would choose the rectangle which uses The Golden Ratio. Even better, its surprisingly simple to work out. You take the length and then divide it by 1.618, the result will be the width.

The History…

The ancient Greeks worked it all out. This is the symbol they use ⌽. Looks mathish doesn’t it?! Its know as ‘phi’ and it’s the 21st letter of their alphabet. (Remember that for pub quizzes) There are lots of theories about whether the formula was applied to ancient Greek architecture, or whether they just built in the way they did, because it was simply pleasing to the eye.

Applying the formula for my stand…

It was straightforward. I knew the size of my cards and how many I wanted on a row, and more importantly, I knew roughly what size stand I’d be able to cart around to various events.

The length was set to 77cm

The width then became 47.6cm

77 ÷ 1.618 = 47.6

If you're like me, once you've realised how easy it is, you'll begin measuring everything to see if its used the formula. It all becomes very exciting. I’ve just measured my Apple Mac computer screen and it uses the formula. Obvious really, everything Apple is beautifully designed. Whilst researching this blog I found that even their logo uses the formula.

So now you can have a go too. See what you can find that uses The Golden Ratio and let me know what you find in the comments section below...