On first glance, you would not think that mathematics would be an asset to web design and development. If you take a closer look, however, mathematics can prove invaluable. The beauty of mathematics lies in its symmetry, consistency, and finite properties. As a foundation for any graphic designer, creative channels can be limitless. Architecture, along with various art forms, are obvious examples of this fact. Adit Gupta of Smashing Magazine goes into more depth with various examples, but I’ll explain the golden ratio.
Right below, I have an example called the golden ratio. Basically, it is a proportion 1.618033988749895 ≈ 1.618 which holds between objects placed within some context. Say that you want to create a fixed width layout for your page and you have a given layout width. First, calculate the widths of your contact block, then divide this result by 1.62. Next, you subtract this result from your given layout width. The final step is to determine the ratio between your content and sidebar blocks, followed by the ratio between your container-width and container block. If done properly, the ratios should all be close to equal.
Clearly, a designer does not have to use this example to a tee. Nevertheless, the value of this symmetry is evident when looking at a website like Mint.com, which we had discussed here in the past. It exudes a sensual, calm visual experience with good composition and crisp color schematics. Many designers can learn from the golden ratio and see that limits aren’t all bad.