This is just one example of an article promoting use of the golden ratio in design. Over the past few years I've seen quite a few similar articles, but none of them really seem to go into depth beyond just explaining what the golden ratio is. I've been able to find very few actual studies that test it and it seems as if the results are inconclusive.
Here are some more web design articles advocating the golden ratio:
- The Golden Ratio in Web Design
- Applying Divine Proportion To Your Web Designs
- Applying Mathematics To Web Design
- Design Tip: The Golden Ratio
- Applying the Golden Ratio to Your Web Designs
- Applying the Golden Ratio to Web Layouts and Objects
- The Principles of Beautiful Web Design
- Fibonacci and Golden Ratio in Web Design
Unfortunately, even though the articles above are from some of the more popular design blogs online, not one of them even cites a study. Only Jason Santa Maria seems to be even questioning its use, but he only questions it for the medium of the web.
At the risk of going against the grain of the design community, is there any objective evidence that the golden ratio actually improves design? Are there any split test studies comparing the effectiveness of a website design based on the golden ratio versus one that isn't? And if, in fact, the golden ratio in design is proved to be more effective, why is that the case? Are there greater principles that we can pull from it that can be applied in different ways? Are there are other golden ratios?