The Wonders of White Space

Written on the 9 May 2006 by Kay Zetkin

White space in graphic design is a good thing, however, many new designers have a hard time seeing the benefit of it within their designs.

White space signifies a good composition, as a crowded space is never a good thing. White space has many positive attributes and this article will lay them all out for you.

White spaces are everywhere about in the artists’ world – the blank white paper spread, the untouched canvass of a painter, the white space in a web page …In fact, we can be thankful as long as we still see a white space around. It significantly tells us of the fact that there are still artistic creations waiting to be conceived.

The blank white space in a paper spread signifies the conception of another unique design. It is a signal of another graphic style that will perhaps go on trend for years. Why do painters look into a blank canvass fondly? Because lurking in those white spaces are the art waiting to be created in his hands.

Also, white spaces signify composition. Before doing any kind of graphics manipulation in a workspace, the physical confinements of the designs are first laid out. A design impact’s potential is often encompassed by the physical confinements of the paper pages’ sizes.

In composition, an entire work space is roughly blocked in first. The artist will then limit up the spaces needed to create his designs and the white space he will be leaving out. A crowded design is never good. The eyes tend to shy away from overflowing and overdone designs. As such, the amount of white space you have left out in your design workspace might be the essential thing that will attract viewers and users.

Composition can also be done by the proper arrangement of photographs, descriptive selling copy and headlines. Your consumer, viewer or users should always be taken into consideration during this stage of format development. Always keep in mind that the consumers use their eyes and not their mind in reflecting if a design element looks good or not.

For example, book publication spread layout can apply the same concept. Once you are working the facing pages as a single visual unit, there is a need to plan very well on the diverse graphic elements needed to be combined.

In making a clean, dramatic frame for your four-color photography, graphics and images, there may not be another best element than the use of white space. It will be appreciated by viewers and users of your web page very much since it is easy on their eyes. Studies have shown that there’s always a positive response – a liking -- towards a white space. It is because the white space allows a breathing space especially for important graphics like product photos, logos or ads.

Your empty design element may not be entirely white, though. It can even be a solid background color, but for the viewer it is still a white, blank, refreshing space that relaxes their eyes. Just remember that this space is a very important ingredient in coming up with more effective and enjoyable designs. It is provides the simplest way to unite all elements in your graphic design.

Author: Kay Zetkin