How to Make a Golden Proportion in Illustrator

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The golden proportion is everywhere in nature, and architects, painters and other artists have been using it since time immemorial to create compositions that are pleasing to the eye. No matter what you're designing -- a logo, a vector image, a business card, a flier -- you can also take advantage of the golden proportion to ensure it is balanced and appealing. Although Illustrator does not offer a way to automatically base your document around the golden proportion, you can create a golden rectangle to use as a starting point with just two tools.

  • Launch Adobe Illustrator and open a new document.

  • Press "M" to select the Rectangle tool, and then click anywhere within your document to open the Rectangle dialog box.

  • Type a value corresponding to the height of the artwork you want to base on the golden proportion in the Height field, and then type a value that is half of that in the Width field. Click "OK" to create a rectangle with the dimensions you specified.

  • Press "L" to select the Ellipse tool.

  • Position your cursor exactly over the bottom right corner of the rectangle you just drew. Illustrator displays a small "anchor" message by your cursor when it is positioned correctly.

  • Holding "Alt" and "Shift" down, click and drag to draw a perfect circle centered over the bottom right corner of the rectangle. When the circle intersects the top left corner of the rectangle, release the mouse button to confirm.

  • Press "M" to select the Rectangle tool again. Position your cursor over the bottom right corner of the original rectangle again.

  • Click and drag to draw a rectangle. The top left corner of this new rectangle should coincide with the top right corner of the original one, while its bottom right corner should coincide with the circle's rightmost anchor point. Illustrator displays a small "intersect" message by your cursor when both of these requirements are precisely fulfilled -- when you see that message, release the mouse button.

  • Press "V" to select the Direct Selection tool, click the circle, and then press "Backspace" to delete it -- you no longer need it. You now have two adjacent rectangles left, and together they form a golden rectangle.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lock the two rectangles (see Resources) so you don't accidentally move them out of place as you work.
  • Information in this article applies to Adobe Illustrator CC. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.

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