Design & Photography

The importance of white space

Often when critiquing design work, clients often pay very close attention to the elements that make up the designs, such as typography, colours and images, but frequently overlook one of the fundamental areas, which is 'negative' or 'white' space.

So, what do we mean when we talk about 'negative areas' or 'white space'? It is the solid colour  that is left in the absence of imagery or text (please note that 'white space' can be any colour and not just white!). This includes everything from the spacing between letters, lines and paragraphs to large expansive spaces. This space allows ours eyes to escape graphical elements such as text and images and be guided to the next.

The negative areas in graphical work can and do play a vital role in the tone and usability of all mediums - everything from websites to leaflets. It is with frustration when you see designs that are crammed without any thought to negative space in an around graphical elements. The space should allow your eyes to be guided around the design and allowed to escape the text and imagery. It is typical that designs that use lots of solid negative space typically appear more upmarket and sophisticated. The increased space normally allows the texts to be read more easily and specific elements are highlighted more effectively without competing with other items.

When analysing your commission, my advice would be to consider decreasing the spacing between elements that naturally belong together and increasing space when they do not. Ask simple questions like;  Is the spacing consistent and aligned? and does the spacing convey right feeling?

If you you have any questions about 'negative space' or you would like help with your design and marketing please get in touch.

Reading next