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Golden ratio in the design of the iPod

Posted by Julian Seidenberg on 6 January 2006 | 37 Comments

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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.

10 Comments

  • Posted by Bill, 26/05/2007 9:25am (7 years ago)

    What about Pollock's work? =)

  • Posted by Bill, 26/05/2007 9:20am (7 years ago)

    Hilary...you are no doubt RIGHT!

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

    I think it would be a harder decision visually if the <a href="http://www.meizuplayer.com" 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.

  • Posted by More phi &laquo; and so&#8230;, 03/05/2007 6:20pm (8 years ago)

    [...] Following up the hint in the movie I measured my iPod ??" 10/4?  = 1.67 . This blogger thinks this is close enough to relate the design of the iPod to phi. [...]

  • Posted by Why you prefer the Ipod at Vincenze&#8217;s Pit, 20/03/2007 1:29pm (8 years ago)

    [...] From deltaflow- 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??(TM)s why widescreen TV is 16:10). The golden section is deeply ingrained in the design of the Universe. We can??(TM)t help but be attracted by it. [...]

  • Posted by Bear, 04/02/2007 1:57am (8 years ago)

    The success of the iPod is due to good marketing (with iTunes to boot), not just its looks.

    I havent seen an advert on TV for any other mp3 player.

  • Posted by Golden Ratio &raquo; eon, 17/01/2007 9:33am (8 years ago)

    [...] I gave a talk before on the golden ratio, so when I came across this blog entry Ipod and the golden ratio via Gooseania, I had better save this link in case I have to give the same talk again. [...]

  • Posted by Josh, 27/12/2006 11:38am (8 years ago)

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

    Yeah, i don't think it's that simple.

  • Posted by Labnotes &raquo; Blog Archive &raquo; links for 2006-01-14, 14/01/2006 5:37am (9 years ago)

    [...] deltaflow ?» Blog Archive ?» Golden ratio in the design of the iPod (tags: design) [...]

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