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How to use the Golden Ratio to Design Attractive Social Media Visuals

Are you using social media to promote your brand? Or maybe you’re just interested in increasing your followers and boosting your likes. Regardless of whether you use social media to grow your business or just for fun — and sometimes both of those — you’ve likely heard how important it is to use visuals.


Visual content is one of the top ways to drive interest and garner likes, follows, and shares. For instance, infographics are shared three times more than any other type of content on social media.


But we aren’t just talking about any kind of visual content — stock photos, uninspired design choices, and poorly laid out brand design is much less likely to get you the results you want from your visual content.


That means that, just like with any other type of design like logo, we need to pay attention to the conventions of design aesthetics like font choices. And one of the main rules which we will talk about here is the golden ratio.

The golden ratio is a way to stage the layout of your photos, graphics, and visual pieces to make them more appealing. But the specifics behind it can get complicated because it involves math.

Dan Jenkins

What Is The Golden Ratio?


The golden ratio is a way to stage the layout of your photos, graphics, and visual pieces to make them more appealing. But the specifics behind it can get complicated because it involves math.



In the most basic terms, we arrive at the golden ratio by dividing a line into two parts; the longer part divided by the shorter part is equal to the sum of the whole divided by the longer part. The number of the golden ratio is 1.618. Both the first part of the equation and the second part equal this number.


Sound a little too complicated to break into every time you want to design an Instagram post?Don’t worry. While the facts behind it might seem complex, the actual usage of the golden ratio can be kept very simple. It’s so elementary, in fact, that the golden ratio is seen throughout creation, including in natural patterns like ferns, shells, flowers, and storms — and even in how our facial features are laid out.


It’s also been famously used for centuries and can be identified in the design of everything from the pyramids of Giza to the Mona Lisa — to famous logos, like Pepsi.


Why You Should Use The Golden Ratio In Your Visuals


So should we use the golden ratio just because it’s been used so frequently throughout history? Well, yes and no. We’re modern designers, and we like to stay on the cutting edge of trends. But we also want to be successful, and that means using what works.

And the golden ratio works.


The reason why it has been so frequently used in art and design over the years is because following that magic number results in design which is more appealing, more pleasing to the eye — it draws people in and gives them a sense of the “rightness” of the design. It’s something that is almost unnoticed — until you start to look for it. Perhaps because it is so often found in nature, our brains tend to be drawn to art and design which follows the same pattern.


Therefore, in short, if you really want to create social media visuals which are appealing, which draw people in, and which give off an unnameable sense of “rightness,” then you can’t go wrong with following the golden ratio.

The Golden Ratio And Your Social Media Visuals


Utilizing the golden ratio in the creation of your social media visuals can be easy, if you get in on the ground floor, so to speak, and make the magic number a part of your layout.

  • As you begin your new project, set the dimensions to 1:1.618. You can do this by dividing the length of your canvas by the golden ratio, and using the resulting number as your canvas height. Then, divide the canvas by the ratio again, and you’ve got two separate areas to work with. This gives you two “columns,” which can be filled with separate but complementary images, or even just with one continuous image which has a divide or a frame between the two portions.
  • The actual content of your visual can also be arranged to follow the golden ratio. Use the ratio to break up your composition into three unequal parts, and to determine where the focus should be. Draw three imaginary lines through your composition: using the 1:1.618 rule, the first and third sections will be 1., and the middle, shorter section will be .618. Duplicate the ratio in the vertical, and use the resulting intersecting lines to focus attention on the point of the visual.
  • You can also use the less-precise “rule of thirds” to get a similar result, even without specific measurements. Again, break your visual into a grid of three sections horizontally and vertically, and arrange the composition so that the points of interest are focused on the points of intersection.


This rule can be followed for any piece of visual content that you create, regardless of what social media platform you’re creating it for — just make sure to take into account the platform’s sizing requirements. It’s also a great way to craft appealing branding visuals, such as company logos, and even can be followed in your overall website design.


Creating visuals for social media using the golden ratio can get complicated once you get into the math behind it — but for everyday use, the more you use the rule, the easier it gets to know when you’ve got it “right.” The reasons behind it are fascinating, and the benefits of using it are proven by design after design.

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About Author

Meet Dan Jenkins, a freelance blogger with a penchant for video streaming and all things electronics. He likes to dig deep into topics he writes about whether it is graphic design or gadget reviews. He likes collecting CDs and music records.

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