The sequence of nature
A Fibonacci sequence is a sequence of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers – for example, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc. Patterns which reflect this sequence are commonly found in nature, for example the petals of flowers, spirals of galaxies and bones of the human hand.
It is considered that the patterns found in this sequence are intrinsically aesthetic, and therefore important considerations in design. They have been used extensively in the arts, turning up in Virgil’s Aeneid, Mozart’s piano sonatas, and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Le Corbusier meshed the idea with measures of the human body, to develop a system of architectural proportions to create more practical and harmonious designs.
Fibonacci sequences are often used in conjunction with the golden ratio, and the principles are closely related. As the sequence of numbers progresses, the ratio of two adjacent numbers becomes increasingly close to the golden ratio. Although the sequence itself is seen in nature, there is debate over whether it’s aesthetic appeal is due to nature or nurture (that is, have we just been taught to find such designs attractive).
The sequence is highly influential in mathematics and design. It provides a useful start point for developing interesting patterns, designs and contexts across a wide variety of sensory modalities (eg visual design, music).
Principles of Design, Revised and Updated by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler (2010)