Does the Golden Ratio appear in fonts?

Before including fonts in the Focus #WordPress Theme, I test their metrics so I can apply Golden Ratio Typography and deliver the PERFECT reading experience.

Just tested Bodoni Moda—its lowercase-to-uppercase letter height equals the Golden Ratio 🔱

Here’s why this is fascinating:

1. Modern fonts—anything produced since 1995—tend to have x-height ratios GREATER than the Golden Ratio because this promotes easier reading on digital devices.

2. Premodern fonts tend to have x-height ratios closer to the Golden Ratio.


Larger x-height ratios—where lowercase letters are closer in height to uppercase letters—only promote easier reading up to a point.

Because of this, there’s definitely a “sweet spot” for x-heights of digital fonts.

If we only cared about beauty, the Golden Ratio would be the standard for x-heights.

But the existence of “counters” in letterforms—such as the enclosed top of a lowercase “e”—makes the Golden Ratio seem inadequate on non-retina devices.

The trend of the past 25 years has been an ever-increasing x-height ratio:

• Up to 1995, the average x-height ratio was between 0.6 and 0.7

• From 1995 to the present, the average x-height ratio is closer to ~0.75 (and you almost never see anything below 0.68)

I suspect this trend may begin to reverse itself, though!

The proliferation of retina screens and the concomitant trend of larger font sizes is making “golden” fonts more accessible.

Take another look at Bodoni Moda—the proportionality is pleasant and beautiful.

More of this!

Slow sites suck. Focus makes yours fast.

  • blazing speed that delights visitors
  • responsive and consistent design on all devices
  • optimized for both search engines and people
  • highly customizable without wrecking performance
  • easy to manage over time

Check out Focus →