If you haven’t studied design or art, you may think the Golden Ratio is a 16th-century explorer’s schooner or a quest in “Harry Potter,” but it’s not. However, you’ve definitely seen it and appreciate it, even if you don’t realize it. It’s hidden in plain sight.

proportioner 4

“The Golden Ratio describes the perfectly symmetrical relationship between two proportions,” explains the Creative Bloq design site. The Golden Ratio is closely connected to the mathematical Fibonacci Sequence, but we’re not numbers people. We love visual style, and the Golden Ratio is a key player in that.

Basically, The Golden Ratio, or Divine Proportion, is the formula for designing visually pleasing items or artwork. No one is certain when the Golden Ratio was first used; though it is seen in Greek architecture, many people believe it dates even further back, citing the pyramids as examples.

proportioner 6

proportioner 5

As these pictures show, many famous artists used the Golden Ratio when they created their masterpieces.

proportioner 3

Now, architect and author Scott Onstott has invented a cool new implement to help the more geometry-challenged of us to spot the Golden Ratio in the world around us, and also to plot our artwork to make more effective use of the Golden Ratio. Thanks to him, you can take Da Vinci and Rembrandt’s technique and apply it as you plan out your next creation.

proportioner 8

The Proportioner calipers reach from just over 1 foot to less than 1 inch, and they can be converted into regular two-arm calipers by removing the inner set of arms, which are attached by built-in magnets.

When you find a measurement you want to transfer, you simply tighten the arm screw with your fingernail to freeze the Proportioner in place. Mark it on your canvas or page, then free the arm and get your next measurement.


proportioner 2Onstott is an expert on all things Golden Ratio. He is the author of seven books showing the beauty of the Golden Ratio in art and the world, including “The Divine Proportion” and “Secrets in Plain Sight: Leonardo da Vinci.” He has also produced the “Secrets in Plain Sight” film series that shows patterns in art, architecture and beyond, highlighting his interest in and study of “sacred geometry.”

He’s also designed what he dubs the Large Proportioner, with a range of 3 inches to 3 feet, as a workshop tool for people working on bigger projects. “Cabinet makers, quilters, furniture makers, painters or anyone making larger objects will rejoice!” he says.

proportioner 1

After testing many different woods and thicknesses, Onstott decide to make the Proportioner with dense fiberboard that is less brittle and more stable than plywood. He laminates premium walnut veneer on both sides. Rare-earth magnets are hand-pressed into the arms (keep away from kids!).

Even if you don’t need to use the calipers every day, you’ll find them an interesting conversation starter. Display them on the stand that comes with them, and you’ve a sculpture, right there on your mantel.

The Proportioner has a lot of supporters on Kickstarter, and Onstott has already raised eight times his goal. Hopefully that’s a pleasing proportion too, so we’ll see these clever calipers on the market really soon.