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Using the Golden Ratio to Design Business Cards

Golden Ratio to Design Business Cards

Business cards are considered to be a commodity, and the function that they serve is to get your contact information into the hands of a potential client. However, since they are considered to be a commodity, business cards often get misplaced or disposed of, and they can be easily forgotten. If you want your business card to stand out, you must have one that is appealing, and the best way to achieve this is to have a good design. Having a solid business card design is an important tool that can help you be remembered and help you succeed.

A well-designed business card has harmony, meaning that all of the elements on the card are arranged in an effective way. One way to create a harmonious and well-balanced design is to use the principles of the Golden Ratio in the design. In fact, many business cards have the dimensions which fit the Golden Ratio, and it is also used in the proportions of credit cards, photographs, as well as flat screen televisions. You see the Golden Ratio not just in design, but in nature as well. The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio that is naturally found in nature (think sea shells, flowers, and hurricane clouds), but when it is used in design, it creates natural looking compositions that appear balanced and are aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Also known as the Golden Mean, Divine Proportion, or as the Golden Section; this mathematical ratio is based off the number phi, which is equal to 1.618. This harmonious proportion can be applied to your business card design in order to help make it appear more visually appealing. In fact, the Golden Ratio can be applied to many of the compositional elements of your business card design. Learn more about how you can use the Golden Ratio to design business cards.


It’s easy to implement the golden ratio into your typographical elements; you just simply multiply the body text size by 1.618 and you will get your complementary font size. For example, say your body text is a 10 pt font, by using this ratio you will multiply 10 by 1.618 to determine the complementary heading. In this case, 10 x 1.618 equals 16.18, which you round down to 16, which is the complementary headline text font size. It also works the other way around, if you have a headline size, you then divide that by 1.618 to find the appropriate size for the body text.

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Creating a Balanced Design

Fundamental to good design, the Golden Ratio can help designers find the perfect balance with their layout, picture placement, columns, and text kerning – all elements that are fundamental to good design. This equation can be used in a visual way, as Phi is the ratio between the number sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and so forth. The numbers come together in the sequence by adding the two preceding numbers to achieve the new number in the sequence. For example, 0 + 1= 1, and 2 + 1=3, so 3 + 2=5, and then 5 +3 =8, and the cycle continues. This number sequence is known as the Fibonacci sequence, and it directly relates to the Golden Ratio (1.618). For instance, if you take a number in the sequence and divide it by its previous number, the result will be approximate to Phi. For example:

• 2/1 = 2.0
• 3/2 = 1.5
• 5/3 = 1.67
• 8/5 = 1.6
• 13/8 = 1.625
• 21/13 = 1.615
• 34/21 = 1.619
• 55/34 = 1.6176

By using this sequence, you are able to construct a variety of shapes by using the Golden Section proportions. The most common shape is the golden rectangle, where one side divided by the other side is equal to 1.618. The golden rectangle fits the parameters of the Golden Mean, but the more times you divide a golden rectangle by the Golden Ratio, the more valuable it becomes. To create a rectangle with golden proportions, you divide the width by 1.618 to get the height. So a rectangle that has a width of 1000 pixels divided by 1.618 comes out to be 618. You would then add a 618 x 618 square on the right side, inside of the 1000 x 618 rectangle, which would leave behind a 382 x 618 rectangle on the left. Then you take the new rectangle and create another square within it, so you end up with another golden rectangle in the leftover space. With this new golden rectangle, you can divide it up again, and again, and again. Each time you divide your golden rectangle, you will notice that the largest dividing line spirals into itself. Using the golden rectangle is the most useful way to visualize the golden ratio, as you can easily see that it forms the shape of a “golden spiral”. This equation benefits designers, since using the golden rectangles and the golden spiral can be used as a general guideline; as you are able to build your design around the sequence to achieve flow and harmony within your design. The theory behind the golden spiral is to focus your design around the center of the spiral, and anything else of visual interest should also fit within the spiral. In addition, you are able to use the golden ratio when deciding on the width and height of any image you decide to use in your design.

Golden Ratio to Design Business Cards

However, it is important to know that while using the Golden Ratio can serve as an excellent template for good design, it can be difficult to achieve it perfectly. Nonetheless, the approximations are generally close enough to help you create a beautiful and balanced image!

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