White space seems to be a controversial aspect of design i.e designers love it and non designers hate it. When designers talk about ‘white space’ they don’t necessary mean the colour white, they are referring to the negative space on the canvas, meaning the areas in the design that don’t contain any elements. There are numerous reasons why white space is important . So in this blog I am going to talk about the main reasons as to why I think it is important, hopefully converting none designers in the process. Okay, let’s start!!
1. Less is more – Sounds cliché but it’s absolutely 100% true…well…when it comes to design that is… maybe not on your birthday or Christmas or anything like that. But in design it is very beneficial and can speak volumes for a design. Believe it or not less can actually speak more on your canvas, making your artwork have a bigger impact. As I said previously white space doesn’t mean ‘white’ it’s areas that don’t contain elements. Here is an example of the iconic Tiananmen shot, and how less can actually say more by attracting the eyes and focal point.
2. Legibility and Clarity – The use of white space can create much more clarity, it gives viewers breathing space and time to absorb the information they are receiving, without giving them a visual headache. With the use of white space you can get the viewer to receive the main overall message of your design easily as there is no other visual noise present. This places their focus on the main objective/message you are trying to get across.
Also white space can create a harmonious, legible layout for viewers as it easier on the eye (you wouldn’t want to read a newspaper article with no, or teeny tiny vertical spaces between sentences). White space can also show the relationship between one element and another. For example with the image below, the designers use of negative space for the text, balances out the entire layout not making it look so crowded even despite the use of a full colored picture on the page. It breathes, doesn’t look messy and visually head-achey.
3. It’s NOT Negative space – ‘Not negative??’ I hear you say. ‘But Charlene, all you’ve blabbed on about in this post IS NEGATIVE SPACE!’ and I must reply you are right, oh wise one. But I am not talking about it NOT being negative. I am saying negative space isn’t negative, it’s space you should use to your advantage and incorporate into the design…you can design the space…creating interesting visuals…confused? Ok, images speak louder than words so below is an example of a Christmas poster I created for a shoe shop.
Pretty cool huh… 🙂
Designers don’t use white space because they’re lazy or whatever, designers design with negative space. They use it to their advantage. Designers see every aspect of elements on the canvas and ‘that blank space’ you think isn’t getting used, is actually getting used and it is there for a very good reason. Designers essentially use negative space just as they would any other element like type and imagery. They don’t see it as an empty, blank vessel. So non-designers need to learn to love and appreciate negative space as it is very important to any kind of design, and as you can see from this post it can make powerful imagery, create legibility and clarity to any piece of work, and enhance visuals. Negative space isn’t ‘negative’ it is a very valuable design tool.
But what do you guys think? Do you love white space? or hate white space? Feel free to get in touch and let me here your feelings and ideas 🙂