What is white space?
Sometimes when we’re working on a brochure for instance, the client notices some white space on the page and feel they need to fill it with something. In their eyes this is wasted space that could be used to insert more information. When this happens we have to explain to them why this isn’t always the best thing to do. White space is their friend.
White space (or negative space) is the area around any text or images that appear within a design. It forms an integral part of a layout because it provides balance. This space doesn’t have to be white, it could be a colour, background image or texture.
Having too much content on a page is hard to read because the viewer doesn’t know where to look. This affects elements such as callout boxes which can lose impact and become lost when there’s no space around them to ‘breathe’. On the other hand, having too much white space makes the page look empty so getting the balance right can be tricky at times but is important.
There are 2 types of white space, these are:
- Active White Space – This is the space that a designer will make a conscious effort to add to a design layout for emphasis and structure. Active white space is often asymmetrical, which makes the design more look more dynamic.
- Passive White Space – This is the white space that occurs naturally, such as the area between words on a line or the space surrounding a logo or graphical element.
Benefits of white space
The main benefits of white space are:
- It makes content easier to read
- Is a visual tool to separate different elements such as paragraphs of text or images
- Places more emphasis on certain elements such as call outs or titles
- It creates balance
- It enhances the visual appearance and style
So before you ask your designer to fill that gap you see on the page of the brochure or an exhibition design with some more information, think do I really need to include this and are you filling this just for the sake of it. A good designer will let you know and should advise against this if it has a negative effect on the layout or clouds the main message.
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Dave is Toast’s Managing Director and also heads up the digital team. He’s been a designer, illustrator and WordPress designer/developer for over 25 years and has worked on various projects across many industry sectors. Dave’s primary area of focus nowadays is website planning, design and UX, SEO and website optimisation, which makes a real positive difference to businesses bottom lines.