There is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to the gold section. I hear everything from "essentially it is the rule of thirds" to people describing it in as a way to make two column layouts. Neither of these are completely accurate however. The golden section is a ratio that creates a rectangle with sub-rectangles in the most visually appealing way. The ratio and golden section has been found in everything from the ratios and proportions of ancient artwork, modern and historic architecture and even can be seen in what we perceive as natural beauty in the human face and body.
To say that the golden rectangle is powerful is an understatement. Powerful and skilled designers can use this ratio to improve their designs dramatically, and what is amazing about it is that people won't be able to directly place their finger on how or why the design is so effective.
The Golden Rectangle Explained
The golden rectangle is a rectangle with its sides in the 'Golden Ratio' or 1 : 1.618. Where most people get this wrong with they might account for the ratio to divide a canvas horizontally (ie: into two columns) but they don't account for the fact that the ratio also specifies a height (vertical divisions). Failing to account for the vertical ratios will reduce the impact and effect of using this tool for visually pleasing designs.
The Photoshop Guide
To make it easier to use this principal we have created a simple tools that lays out a golden rectangle and it's divisions (on all four corners) that you can overlay onto any of your designs. While it is originally designed for a 960 pixel wide canvas, it was created using vector shapes so it can be easily re-sized to any dimension with out losing any quality.
Downloads and Suggestions
I am open to all suggestions, thoughts or improvements. I am releasing this under the creative commons, so if you choose to post it somewhere or repurpose it please do the right thing and at least attribute me with a link (or two).