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one third / 2 thirds theory??


Junior Member

I recently watch a program (Megafactories: Aston Martin Supercar) where the designer was talking about a theory which 'has left scientists and designers baffled'.

It was where, for some reason, if you design things to a percentage where a portion is a little over 33% and the rest was a little under 66% (it was an exact measurement but I cant remember) that human beings would automatically find it pleasing on the eye. Apparently this theory can be found in many famous things designed in history.

It was described as 2 words and I would really like to read about this more. Does anyone know what I am talking about? I;m not a designer so figured I would try a forum instead of waiting in hope that the program gets repeated!

Thanks for any help.



Staff member
It's also known as Golden Mean and Divine Proportion but I've always known it as golden ratio and the shell spiral shape made from decreasing size squares....oh and da vinci's Vitruvian Man as that uses it too :)
Golden ratio, golden section, divine proportion... it has many names.

The actual ratio is not strictly a third, it's 1.62. If you take an A4 document and divide the height (in portrait) by 1.62 you get 183mm. Roughly two thirds, but not quite. This is the 'golden' ratio.

The proportions can be found everywhere, form the Mona Lisa's face to medieval typesetting. I'm not aware of a singular reason why it works so well. It's probably because it's so abundant in nature that we've evolved an affinity with it. But then if nature's so fond of it, it must have something else going for it other than it looks pretty. It's probably God's name, yeah, that's it. God is 1.62.


Junior Member
Wow! Thank you so much guys. Now I have seen it in your posts, the narrator actually used the words "Divine Proportion" but I will be looking into all of your phrases. And yes, they actually used a spiral and the Mona Lisa as examples too.

Thank you so much, it was really bugging me!