How to Create a Golden Section in Both Digital and Analog Media

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Golden Section was acknowledged as one of the most beautiful ratios in Art and Architecture. It was recognized into the best artworks of Western Civilization.

Employing the Golden Ratio in the Graphic and Web Design is considered a good practice. In today’s tutorial, I will show how to construct Golden Ratio on the paper and inside Adobe Illustrator. In the third part of this workshop, I am going to simplify a process of Golden Ratio transformation to the single click by using actions in Adobe Illustrator.

One-click Golden Section in Adobe Illustrator

What is Golden Section

The Golden Section rectangle is a ratio of the Divine Proportion. The Divine Proportion is derived from the division of a line segment into two segments such that the ratio of the whole segment, (a+b), to the longer part, a, is the same as the ratio of the longer part, a, to the shorter part, b. This gives a ratio of approximately 1.61803 to 1, which can also be expressed
Golden Ratio

Golden Section Rectangle on Paper

Step 01. A Square

Draw a square.

Draw a Square. Golden Ratio on the paper

Step 02. A Median

Draw a diagonal from the midpoint A of one of the sides to an opposite corner B.

Draw a median

Step 03. An Arc

This diagonal becomes the radius of an Arc Z that extends beyond the square to C. The smaller rectangle and the square become a Golden Section Rectangle.

Golden Ratio rectangle

Step 04. Subdivisions

The Golden Section Rectangle can be subdivided. When subdivided the rectangle produces a smaller proportional Golden Section Rectangle which is the reciprocal, and a square area remains after subdivision. This square area can also be called a Gnomon.

Step 05. Continue

The process of subdivision can endlessly continue, again and again, producing smaller proportional rectangles and squares

Continue To Create Endless Possibilities

Golden Ratio in Adobe Illustrator

There are several ways how you can transform objects by Divine Proportion. You can use a Scale Tool dialog box, Transform Panel on top of your Workplace or with the live Transform Effect.

Please note: all of our tranformations rely on arithmetic functions inside Adobe Illustrator. We will use forward slash / to divide and aterisk * to multiply.

First Step. Create a Shape

 Firstly, we need to create any shape and keep it selected, so we can apply all transformations the shape.

Golden Section With the Scale Tool

Head over to the Scale Tool onScale Tool on your Tools Panel the Tools Panel and double click on the icon to open the dialog box. Place a cursor in the Uniform Field right after 100% value and type forward slash followed by 1.618. Click Tab to proceed the calculation and Ok or Copy to apply changes.

Golden Ratio with A Scale Tool in Adobe Illustrator

Golden Section With the Transform Panel

Transform Panel is a essential part of the Control Panel.  To bring up the Control Panel head over to the Window>Control. Navigate to the Width and Height values towards the shape and type forward slash with and Divine Proportion (1.618). Click Tab to apply changes. This method doesn’t allow us to create a duplicate though.

Golden ratio with a Transform Panel

Golden Section With the Live Transform Effect

First step is to head over to the Effect>Distort and  Tranform>Transform… . In Opened Dialog box divide both Width and Height by the value of Divine Proportion (phi as it is also called in math). In order to do this, type / and 1.618 after the value of 100% in each field (see the step 2 in the picture below). Click Tab to proceed calculations and set a number of copies before clicking if you need them.

Goldean mean wi the Live Tranform Effect

Although this method is the most versatile it requires one additional steps in order to convert the Live Effect into the group of regular vector shapes. So do not forget to visit Object>Expand Appearance to expand Live Effect.

Golden Section With the a Single Click

Fow those of you, who want to take the most from the Golden Ratio in Adobe Illustrator, I have a good news. Allows me to present a free Golden Ration Action, that helps you to size up and size down objects by Divine Proportion with a single click.

Installation of Golden Mean Action

To install it bring up an Action Panel by going to the Window>Actions. Locate the Humburger Menu at the top-right corner of the panel. In opened dropdown menu select the “Load Actions..

Windows Action path Load actions menu item

Run action with a play icon

Select the file and enjoy! Now you can click the Play Button at the bottom of the Action panel and forget about the phi number.

And to further simplify and streamline the process you can assign a Functional Key through the Actions Options dialog box.

First thing first, select either Size Down or Size Up action. Head on to the Humburger Menu again and this time choose Actions Options.


In the opened dialog box set you functional key. Now you key fire up the transformation on a keypress:

Golden section with a single click

That’s all for to day, feel free to share this article and check this tutorial to practice your Golden Ratio skills.

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