The Golden Spiral: Design found in art and nature

The Golden Spiral: Design found in art and nature

In the world of icon design, the laws of symmetry are in motion when viewers recognize shapes that form around a center point. Then they’ll notice that these shapes will match themselves when they rotate in a spiral around their center axis. These aesthetic spirals are called a Golden Spiral.

Ever noticed that these spiraling center points are not only found in art but in objects of nature as well? You can learn more here about the science behind the Golden Spiral design. Study these similarities and learn how to use a simple number to create your next amazing icon design.

Where it all began

Since the dawn of time, man has observed swirling design patterns in objects of nature that surround them. Early scientists and mathematicians soon tried to find ways to reproduce these eye-pleasing shapes in creating paintings, architecture and other forms of design. One of these early mathematicians was Leonardo Fibonacci.

Fibonacci developed the numeric math formula that enabled architects and other artists to reproduce these similar spirals from nature. These spirals became known as golden spirals.

What is a Golden Spiral?

A Golden Spiral is a geometric concept where shapes grow wider and further from their origin for every quarter turn they make. Points on this turning spiral are 1.618 times as far from the center after each quarter-turn.

The Golden Spiral is produced by Fibonacci’s math formula. The Fibonacci Sequence begins with the numbers 0 and 1. To grow the sequence, add these two numbers together like this:


Add the last two numbers again, and your sequence will look like this:


If you continue to add the last two numbers together, you’ll eventually produce a number sequence with each value equals the sum of the prior two numbers. Your Fibonacci sequence will look like this, well into infinity:

[0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233...]

This Fibonacci Sequence creates orderly spacing in nature as well as a piece of art. The Golden Spiral is the connecting piece to creating a balanced appearance on a plane called a Golden Ratio.

Golden spiral in architecture

What is the Golden Ratio?

A Golden Ratio allows artists and designers to place objects or designs within a composition that is natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing. The Golden Ratio calls on the designer to divide a surface, view or picture into two parts where the longer section is equal to the smaller section when that smaller section is multiplied by itself.

This may sound complicated, but it’s vital to ensuring that the picture is in the same proportion as it’s found in nature. Once these dividing lines are determined, you can break the picture down further into rectangles and squares that have similar dimensions as the original dividing line.

Once you have your Golden Ratio diagram laid out, sketch a continuous arch to flow through each square and rectangle. The arch should touch one of each square’s corners as well as that corner’s opposite.

When you’ve drawn an arch through each shape, you’ll have a Golden Spiral. This spiral will guide you to draw the dimensions of your object to resemble nature as close as possible.

Next steps

Ready to create amazing designs with the Golden Spiral? Use these concepts to crop or resize an existing photo. These principles can also help create engaging webpage layouts, logos or icons.

Check out our website to find out more about the principles of designing icons. We have a huge selection of high-quality vector icons. Let us help you spice up your message today!

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