DESIGN ELEMENTS:  point line shape form tone texture colour letterform     FOR TEACHERS

DESIGN PRINCIPLES:  figure-ground balance contrast cropping hierarchy scale proportion pattern
INDEX   Members only
The surrealist painter
Magritte often used
distortions of
proportions to create
striking effects

Click here or here to
see the above image
in full
Here is a diagram which shows
how to construct a golden
1. Draw the square (a)
2. bisect the bottom side
3. draw the arc from the upper
right corner to the extension of
the bottom side (b)
4. complete the rectangle


PROPORTION refers to the size of one part relating to
the size of another part. It also refers to how the size
of one part relates to the size of the whole item.
For more go to
scroll down below 'Balance'

In the last 35 years the ideal personified by the fashion
model has fostered a standard which idealizes
exceptionally slender body proportions for women.
Sports have provided models for ideal
male body

The Superhero is the mainstay of the modern comic
book. The Superhero comes in many forms and
Drawing Superheroes involves
determining proportions for the basic human figure.

The "normal" figure is the basis for the muscular
Go to
For more go to

But what does all this mean for you - the designer?
Proportion refers to the relationship of one part to
another or to the whole with respect to size, quantity, or
degree; a ratio.
Often proportion is allied with another
design principle - 'hierarchy'. For example, if one part
of a layout is larger compared to another part, it may
have greater importance.

The Golden Rectangle
The proportions of the 'Golden Rectangle' are thought to
be the most pleasing of all rectangles

The 'Golden Rectangle' is a rectangle where the two
dimensions (length and height) are related by the
'Golden Ratio' - 1 : 1.618

The beauty of the golden ratio may be indicated by the fact that
a golden rectangle subdivides into a square and another,
smaller golden rectangle
. This process can be continued ad
infinitum, and similarly inversed by adding a square over the
longer side of a golden rectangle.

Since the Renaissance the golden ratio has been used
extensively in art and architecture. It figures in the Venetian
Church of St. Mark built early in the 16 th century, and
become a standard proportion for width in relation to height
used for
        facades of buildings
        paintings and picture frames
There is something 'satisfactory' about the relationships of the
proportion. In the l930's the Pratt Institute of New York did a
study on various rectangular proportions laid out as vertical
frames, and asked several hundred art students to comment on
which seemed the most pleasing. The ratio of 1 : 2 was least
liked, while the Golden Ratio was favored by a very large
margin, which seemed to point to the actual dimensions as
generating a pleasing response by their size.
The Golden Section has been referred to as the Divine
Proportion, the Golden Rectangle, or the Fibonacci Sequence
(after Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa who pioneered some of the
early mathematical phenomena and its connection with nature).  
This proportion has been demonstrated in the Greek
architecture of the
Parthenon, the Renaissance architecture of
Leon Battista Alberti’s Santa Maria Novella in Florence, and
used extensively by Le Corbusier in his quest for modular
designs of modern architecture.

"The Parade"
     by Searat
     A painting deliberately designed
using the golden ratio. The ratios of all
the dimensions indicated are all
approximately 1 : 1.618