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Geometry and Design

July 1, 2020

Geometry is the branch of Mathematics that deals with the properties and interrelations of points, lines, planes, solids and space. The study of geometry enhances many foundational skills and helps us to create forms, patterns and structures of products, helping in their detailing. The word geometry comes from two Greek words, ‘geo’ meaning ‘earth’ and ‘metria’ meaning ‘measuring’. (‘Measuring the earth’)

In ancient Egypt, the ownership of property was essential because rents and taxes on property were collected based up on the land or the area of earth being farmed. Every year land was washed away because of floods in the Nile River and that’s why the measuring of land every year was necessary. That time in Egypt the word for measuring the land was ‘Geometry’.

The geometry we are familiar with was developed by a Roman citizen named Euclid.

Euclid lived from approx. 330 to 260 BC and wrote a 13 volume book called ‘Elements’ that illustrated all the concepts used in Geometric Construction. Geometry has many practical uses in everyday life, such as measuring circumference, area and volume when you need to build or create something. Geometric shapes also play significant roles in common recreational activities, such as video games, sports, astrology etc.

Pythagoras in those days gave the equation for the right angle triangle- square of hypotenuse is equal to summation of square of two sides of a right angle triangle.

The mathematician and philosopher Plato had proved that there are only five platonic solids and after that Archimedes created thirteen Archimedean solids by truncation of those platonic solids.

Applying geometry in design is unavoidable. Designers apply geometry, along with colour, scale and proportions to make aesthetically pleasing forms and patterns. Beyond geometrical constructions designers use geometric phenomena like golden spirals and golden proportions to add visual values to their designs.

In fact, geometry can be discerned right from when the universe was born. The first particle of universe, the electrons, protons and neutrons are in spherical forms which is 3D geometric form and their orbits are ellipses which are of 2D shape. The system exists on 2D plane suspended in a vast 3D space.

Beginning with galaxies, starts systems, comets, planets, geometry can thus be discerned clearly across a wide variety of natural creations and phenomena here on earth- honeycomb, pineapple, sunflower, plants lives. Even the human body and body parts of animals have functional geometry. For example, eye ball, ears glands, horns etc. If the geometry of the body part is wrong, that part reduces functionality or stops functioning.

Examples of Geometry in Nature:

Geometry is a unique and special science. Sacred in Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Masonry, geometry is believed to hold special powers which exert a strong influence. Even religions that don’t necessarily hold geometry as sacred, such as Christianity and Islam, still make extensive use of geometry in their art and architecture.

All design uses the principles of geometry and proportion in one form or the other; thus it is one of the foundational aspects of design. Understand of these principles as a fundamental requirement of design education and understanding ensures an aesthetic treatment of space, volume and surfaces while optimizing function.

Ramesh Suthar, Assistant Professor, School of Industrial Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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