Integrating Mathematics, Theory and Creativity: Visualizing Proportional Structures in Digital Media

By Soo C. Hostetler.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Mathematics has significantly influenced all disciplines since ancient times and has brought excited meaning to the complexity of the universe. The unique expressions of mathematical beauty have virtually existed in the universal phenomenon. One meaningful number, 0.618…., which is called the Golden Ratio, appears to have had astounding influences in human life. This proportion shares with various physical forms in certain structural attributes (the Parthenon, Egyptian pyramids, etc.) that appear to be related to balance, harmony, and symmetry. Historically, the Golden Section has provided artists, architects, mathematicians, musicians, philosophers, and others, with a wealth of opportunities to discover, to explore and to initiate observable manifestations of beauty, harmony and wisdom. More recently, advances in digital technology have strengthened the possibilities for visual communications by artists, designers, and others, whose foremost interests are concerned with the visualization of their concepts through expressive visual forms.

Since the early twentieth century, music has played an essential role in the development of abstractive visual art, which is inspired from music’s compositional structure, harmony and dissonance as well as it’s sensory perception of color. The Golden Section is often used to enhance the balance of harmonic structure, as is amply proven by the astonishing compositions produced by major composers.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the theoretical analysis of the proportional structure of the music of Mozart related with the Golden Section and to explore the exciting design methodologies through the creative process framework. The mystical proportional connections between nature, art, architecture, and music are analyzed to understand the historic implications. This research will exam the how designers formulate a creative planning process involving information, content and form using the Golden Section to express a wealth of visual communication in digital media.

Keywords: Golden Section, Digital Media, Proportional Structure, Mathematics, Music Theory

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.279-292. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.850MB).

Soo C. Hostetler

Assistant Professor, Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA, USA

Soo Hostetler is an assistant professor of Graphic Design at the University of Northern Iowa. She received her MFA in Graphic Design at Iowa State University and MA in Graphic Design at the University of Northern Iowa. She has specialized as a typeface designer, publication designer and book designer. Her area of expertise is in multi-media designs such as kinetic typography, interface design and web design. Recently, Hostetler’s scholarly work has emphasized motion graphics, particularly kinetic typography and interdisciplinary research integrating motion, music and mathematical proportions utilizing digital technology. Her work has appeared in national and international exhibitions, and at such conferences as the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), International Digital Media and Art (iDMAa), Hawaii International Conference on Art and Humanities: International Conference on Camouflage: Art. Science and Popular Culture, Design Principles and Practices, and Mathematical Association of America: MathFest.


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