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Golden ratio in the design of the iPod

Posted by Julian Seidenberg on 6 January 2006 | 33 Comments


The Apple iPod is the world's most beautiful MP3 player.

The iPod was designed by Jonathan Ive and his team of designers. Their goal was to create the perfect product. They achieved this with an extreme amount of attention to detail.

One aspect of the design is the basic shape of the device. The rectangle that is the iPod comes closer than any other MP3 player to the golden ratio 1 : 1.618 (also sometimes called the golden section). This ratio appeals to us at an unconscious level.

Attractive human faces have proportions that correspond to the golden ratio, indeed, the human body itself exemplifies this ratio, the Greek Parthenon and many other famous ancient monuments use the ratio throughout their design, the logarithmic spiral on a Nautilus Shell conforms the to golden ratio and even a TV image using those proportion is more appealing (that's why widescreen TV is 16:10). The golden section is deeply ingrained in the design of the Universe. We can't help but be attracted by it.

Here are the ratios of several popular MP3 players:

ipod iriver h10 creative nomad zen xtra

1 : 1.67 = iPod
1 : 1.75 = iRiver H10
1 : 1.47 = Creative Nomad Zen Xtra

The iRiver is too tall, the Nomad is far too fat, but the iPod's shape, though also slightly too tall, comes closest to this magic ratio. It is certainly no accident that it is the most visually appealing. I am however surprised that no other company has created an MP3 player that exactly uses the golden section (the iRiver H320 comes close by using the same ratio as the iPod, but otherwise looks like an ugly brick - sigh).

So remember, whenever you design anything try to use this golden ratio and people will become instinctively attracted.


  • Posted by, 13/08/2015 8:21pm (4 months ago)

  • Posted by, 11/08/2015 7:35pm (4 months ago)

  • Posted by Jean, 17/10/2008 10:00pm (7 years ago)

    Chanced on this site by accident trying to follow through leads on fibonacci. I had a medium to poor MP3 player, relunctantly exchanged for a better - the better is a stick, and the former, I'm sure, was close to the Golden Ratio, hence the reluctance of the exchange. I took delight at looking at my Redford, but more delight in the functionality of my new one. I am writing on a Toshiba laptop, for which I fell, in the first instance, on the shape. Functionality happily matches shape! I haven't yet measured its dimensions but am pretty certain it's in the Golden Ratio. Surely the happiest combination is of aesthetics with functionality?

  • Posted by george, 28/06/2008 5:44pm (7 years ago)

    marketing is the art of selling to statistics.
    so for the select few who have the brainpower to realize that this particular phi concept is absurd and are more inclined to choose functionality over mass appeal then yes these sort of marketing strategies need not apply to you/i but statistics say otherwise, refer to first line

  • Posted by Bir Tak?±m ??eyler, 27/11/2007 10:49pm (8 years ago)

    [...] admin, 11.28.07 at 12:49 am :: G? 1/4 nl? 1/4 k :: permalink :: rss Tasar?±m ve kullan?±labilirlik ? 1/4 zerine bir ??eyler okurken kar???±ma alt?±n oran(”Golden Ratio”) ?§?±kt?±. Alt?±n oran ?§ok acayip bir ??ey. Bitkilerde, hayvanlarda, piramitlerde, insan v? 1/4 cudunda, hatta dna molek? 1/4 llerinde bile kar???±n?±za ?§?±k?±yor. Ke??fedildikten sonra y? 1/4 zy?±llarca incelenmi??, hakk?±nda ciltlerce kitap yaz?±lm?±??. Estetik aranan; sanatta, mimaride, end? 1/4 striyel tasar?±mda ve her yerde uygulanm?±??; halen de uygulan?±yor. iPodlarda dahi, ekran ve boy oran?± alt?±n oranm?±??. ?°??te bir ka?§ link daha. [...]

  • Posted by eddy, 12/07/2007 3:39pm (8 years ago)

    Please look at to see the way you can use the gauge to solve your design problems, with 100% confidence, that everyone will agree the the proportion looks right.

  • Posted by Bill, 26/05/2007 9:25am (9 years ago)

    What about Pollock's work? =)

  • Posted by Bill, 26/05/2007 9:20am (9 years ago) are no doubt RIGHT!

  • Posted by Hilary, 25/05/2007 7:10am (9 years ago)

    I thought that the aspect ratio of widescreen TV is 16:9. Correct me if I am wrong?

  • Posted by Darius Young, 08/05/2007 6:28am (9 years ago)

    I think it would be a harder decision visually if the <a href="" rel="nofollow">Meizu Miniplayer</a> was part of this comparison. It falls just in line with the iPod, but I think the Miniplayer looks better.

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