WHITE SPACE.

 

One of the most essential elements in design is often referred to as the 'invisible' element of white space. This is something you barely notice when it used correctly and it is glaringly obvious when it is not. It's that thing that makes you either fall in love with a design or cringe because of the lack or incorrect use of it. White space is also referred to as negative space. This just means the area that is not the positive area of the design. The area without any elements. Just a reminder as well white space isn't always white. So just because a design doesn't have lots of white in it, doesn't mean it doesn't use it.

To better understand this term, it helps to understand how to recognize it. There are two different types of negative space in design. Macro and Micro. Macro is the area between the larger pieces throughout your design ex: sidebars, headers, footers. While Mirco is the area between the smaller areas in your design ex: text boxes, words, lines of text.

I think as designers it's kind of second nature to spot proper use of space in magazines, on billboards and in typography used on television commercials. However, I think it is easy to forget about it when we get flowing with a project and are trying to fit in images, content, titles and all that jazz into one area. Making that all flow together isn't just as simple as it may seem. Often clients don't know why we create something a certain way. Why that text box works best in a certain area, or why we may discourage a certain change to the design. It is our job to educate them and explain why we place things where we do. To show that thought went into the smallest details and descisions in our work. Making sure the element of space is in your thought process when designing will create a better overall look in your work. Giving your design the room to breathe allows for the user to navigate your design with ease and enjoyment. Often they won't even realize it is there, it's the invisible piece of design that should never be overlooked and rushed when creating things.

Space can be the perfect tool to use when dealing with hierarchy, drama, emphasis, sophistication, differentiation, the list goes on and on. My eye is consistently drawn to design where negative space is used seamlessly and beautifully. I love when there is large areas of negative space used in a way that lets the other elements on the page stand out and speak without the clutter of pointless items. It's kind of like ordering a pizza. You may like lots of toppings but it doesn't mean having them all on your pizza is gonna be a good thing. The same goes for design. Just because you have a huge area to design on, doesn't mean you should fill up every single inch of the art board with an element. That being said, there is definitely a balance to negative space. You can use too much negative space and end up not communicating all you want in your design with the positive elements. Using space correctly can help you guide the user through what the emphasis is, and can help you better control the user experience. A trick to see how negative space is working in your design is by separating the pieces of your design with boxes. This allows you to stop focusing on color and images, which can often distract from the grid and framework. Below are a few examples of how this can be used.

BLOG LAYOUT

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BUSINESS CARD LAYOUT

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I think for designer's this is one of the most important elements to remember, if not the most. Using negative space properly will create room for your design to communicate better. Look at what you are currently working on, that blog design or business card, make sure this tool of design has been used throughout your project with consistency and effectiveness.

 
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