White space is your friend.

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.

Talk to Toast today about your next project

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.    

Notable brochure cover

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.

Talk to Toast today about your next project

Looking for something different?

If you found this helpful you might be looking for a new agency that likes to support its clients. We have created a service specifically for clients looking for quick turn-around, high volume and no-nonsense design service, we call it Toast Design Services. Check out our new Graphic Design Subscription Packages, tailored to their ongoing needs.

David Foreman

David Foreman

Dave is the MD at Toast and has been working on branding, creative and web development projects for over 25 years. He's a founding member of Toast and enjoys a good rant.