Blog | Pi Day and the importance of Maths in Web Design

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Pi Day and the importance of Maths in Web Design

14 March 2018

Pi Day and the importance of Maths in Web Design

Is Mathematics really the Spanish Inquisition of the world's reality? Nobody ever expects that, or that's the general impression.

We live in a world where Maths are considered to be a separate subject, reserved to those brainiacs who prefer to live in a more abstract world. Put your hands in the air (and say yeah!) if you've ever declared "Oh sure, I'm so going to use the Solid of Revolution theory when checking if my groceries bill is correct!", or something along that line.

Since today is the 30th anniversary of Pi Day, annual celebration of the mathematical constant π or more generically World Maths Day, let's get a bit irrational (pun intended) and quickly see how much Maths is actually relevant.

Without getting too specific, we can safely assume that Mathematics is one of the very first sciences humanity started to take interest to. If we must pin it down on the world's history timeline, we'd probably go somewhere around the 6th Century BC, in Greece, amongst the Pythagoreans.
The discovery of the best way of defining and calculating Pi was made not long after that by Archimedes of Syracuse, 3th Century BC.
Geometry was born, and it would never stop evolving and being relevant to humanity.

But how does all this relate to us, right here right now?
Think again.

First of all, especially when considering classic Geometry, we are referring to rules and concepts that have been around for millennia, not even kidding.
Secondly, don't forget that the history of Visual Arts is studded with artists that were also scholars and, thus, combined all of their knowledge in their work. Think of Leonardo da Vinci, to name just one.
In reality, there's been a close connection between Geometry, proportions and the concept of "visually pleasing" since the beginning of Visual Arts.

Web Design is no different.
Simply put, our job is to create visually pleasing websites that have to fit rectangles, whether they're desktop or tablet or mobile sized. It doesn't get simpler than this.

The Golden Ratio, for example, has been used to design logos for companies such as Apple or Twitter. Uh!

 

The Fibonacci Sequence, a specific series of numbers where the next number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two, is widely used for content-heavy websites, and also a very popular "building blocks" style layout.

The Rule of Thirds is possibly nowadays' most widely known rule. Photographers swear by it, and so do designers of all kind.
No UX designer needs a lesson on this rule, it's just generally accepted, assimilated and used for everything from layout and content placement. There's entire frameworks out there that are completely built on this basis - Bootstrap much?

 

Long story short, Maths can be as helpful as beautiful when applied to Web design, and thus the Web Community should unite their voices in celebrating this special day.

So long live Mathematics, and happy Pi Day to everyone folks!

 

Serena Cappellini