The old Apple logo was not designed with the Golden Ratio in mind.

Its iterations were not.

And its latest version(s) weren’t either. Here we see that Apple’s apple actually has slightly different shapes in their Unicode logo and their vector-based press kit logo.

David Cole, product designer at Quora, pulled out all the geometric stops to debunk the myth further. He began checking if circles could be matched to the logo’s curves.

As it turns out, the arcs aren’t built from strict circles.

He can SORT of get the circles idea working, but that begins stretching the ratio into pointlessness.

Because eventually, you can get circles to fit into anything.

As a fantastic kicker, Cole redesigned the iPhone with the Golden Ratio in mind. Here’s what it would look like. It’s not ugly. But it’s sorta like that friend you’d never actually date.

Debunking The Myth Of Apple’s "Golden Ratio"

We’ve all heard that Apple’s logo and products adhere to the Golden Ratio. It’s a lie.

The Golden Ratio: just typing the words can make the clouds part. The most mathematical way of describing the ratio would be 1.6180 (read more here). The least mathematical way of describing the ratio might be a balanced imbalance, in which the small part of a figure is balanced with the larger part of a figure in a once-removed mathematical relationship, or almost guttural way.

In geometry, the ratio leads to aesthetically pleasing shapes, and its believers (including many bona fide scientists) will point to the ratio’s existence in nature all the way down to the human genome and even atomic particles. No doubt, if you go deep down that rabbit hole, you’ll encounter ratio conspiracists deconstructing Apple’s designs. They say Jony Ive’s designers are either peons arranged by this greater force or members of an Illuminati of industrial design. Either way, they’re all servants of 1.6180.

It makes for a nice story, backed by geometric wireframes that few of us have the patience to truly understand. But recently, David Cole, product designer at Quora, posted an epic debunking of the Golden Ratio as the impetus of Apple’s own apple logo (one of the biggest conspiracy theories out there). You should read the whole thing for its sheer intellectual crassness, but to spoil the takeaway, the Apple logo follows the Golden Ratio in the determined, mathematical way that you could make any shape fit a series of circles and triangles. Here’s Cole’s big conclusion:

Real visual rhythm is hurt by precision. This fact is where we get the saying in design: if it looks right, it is right.

So in a funny way, the Apple logo feels like it adheres to some system because it doesn’t.

In other words, Apple’s logo is great because it’s a custom creation. And it may be popular, not because it can be quantified within some formula of success, but specifically because it can’t. Then, to rub salt in the wound, Cole went on to redesign the iPhone with the Golden Ratio in mind. I wouldn’t call the result hideous by any means. But I also wouldn’t call it an iPhone, either.

Read more here.

[Hat tip: Core77]

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17 Comments

  • It's so obvious that they follow the exact same pattern that old designer people use for designing. It's all based on numbers, one of the sacred ratio in human history. Why do you even believe his statement? Of course, no one want to reveal what their secrets are. It's one big huge secret. The reason why it's so powerful and looks appealing to the eye is because it is a repetition of the later Fibonacci sequence (previous number plus the current number). Alright, I don't care if you don't believe in those number stuffs. But keep in mind that the United States got its independence in (888*2)=1776. The same thing apply to Illuminati. The number 13 is almost everywhere in all of US government logos. Almost every disaster and killing/shooting of people happen in number divisible by 9 and 11. Now go figure it out by yourself.

  • Just Someone

    Laffing @ the "golden" iphone.  Does that guy even understand what the golden ratio is?  Spamming "1" and "1.6" on everything like that's it, "i got this guys look I can do it too tee hee"

  • Bartz A Johnson Jr.

    Now I know why the blog seems so wanting, it's to get to to click on a dataming site. Good day Sir.

    I said GOOD DAY!

  • Kevin Muldoon

    Some designers follow the rules more strictly than others - for a wide variety of reasons. Mark Wilson would conclude Jazz musicians do not follow the rules of music because the player did not follow the sheet music exactly.

  • Osama Nofal

    I am happy with the golden ratio analysis more than the article; maybe it is a lie but I think its creative.

  • Aaaa

    "The most mathematical way of describing the ratio would be 1.6180".
    A more accurate mathematical way of describing the ratio would be (root(5)+1)/2.

  • Marc

    personally 

    I am just very glad that there are people like David Cole out there willing to actually spend time to investigate some of these statements and make intelligent well structured conversation in such an important but overlooked subject.
    If he or someone like it doesn't it can just be hijacked.
    Shampoo ads next ?

    Wearing 2 hats here -  i am a personal apple devotee and would not be too devastated if it was a bit of spin as i suspect it was inspiration within a decade of design evolution   - but I am also a brand designer am intrigued by the observation 

  • Daniel

    Someone (David Cole.) doesn't know how to play well with toys and its breaking other people's

  • cassette_walkman

     Nonsense. He's celebrating the original toy and telling other people to stop pretending it's theirs.

  • Hm

    Golden rules, exact alignments and perfect curves have their place, but frequently perfection is found in imperfection.