Have you ever considered the role that “nothingness” plays in life? Most times all we think of is the noticeable, but for a design to be strong we are required to pay attention to both what’s there and what’s not there. White space is very important because it unconsciously tell us what elements are important in the design, it also helps to keep your design from being jumbled.

You may have heard people refer to white space as negative space. There are two main types of white space in graphic design.

·      The Passive White space – This white space occurs naturally (it is not intentional), for instance the space surrounding a graphic element or the space between words on a line.

·      The Active White space – This is the white space that you make consciously to add emphasis and arrangement to your design. Active white space is most times irregular, and this makes your design look more active and lively.

Passive White Space is the type that occurs naturally. Click To Tweet

When working with white space, we are mostly concerned with active white space. But we also have to take note of the passive white space and how it flows with the whole design.

Active White Space is the type that you make consciously to add emphasis and arrangement to your design. Click To Tweet
Figure 1-A diagram representing the difference between active and passive white space.
Figure 1-A diagram representing the difference between active and passive white space.

White space is not always white.

Don’t be fooled by the Phrase, White space can also be any color or pattern you like. The term ‘white space’ is somehow misleading because it suggests that the space has to be white in color. For instance, a book cover or a brochure can have bright colors in place of the color white to bring energy to the design. White space can also be represented with repeating patterns to make a more appealing visual, but the pattern should have a soft and subtle texture to avoid distractions.

White space can also be any color or pattern you like. Click To Tweet

In most cases, colored white space looks more appealing and interesting than the plain white, but never forget that the rules are still the same; it’s that part of the design that you don’t really want the eye to focus on.

 Figure 2- A book cover image with a lot of white space

Figure 2- A book cover image with a lot of white space

Why is White space so important?

·         It indicates luxury and complexity: White space can be used as a design element to make your marketing materials look sophisticated. It can actually become a central element in a design when it’s used to create a certain mood or look. We associate a large amount of white space with luxury and sophistication, so using it effectively may be a way to bring these associations to your design.

White Space indicates luxury and complexity Click To Tweet

Consider eating out at a five-star restaurant versus a cheap family diner. At a fancy restaurant, the food is arranged neatly on the plate with plenty of white space, while the family diner piles all the food onto one plate with little room for anything else. The same idea goes for your design—too many graphic elements cheapen the overall look. Rather than trying to improve a design by adding more and more imagery, let the white space do its job so that you can simply focus on making the graphic elements look their best.

·         It adds emphasis: As you can see from the image above, our brains have a habit of leaning towards elements surrounded by white space. This is because the white space gives us clues about where the important elements are in the design (where we should be looking).

White Space adds emphasis. Click To Tweet

Take the apple logo for instance, anywhere it appears, they make sure that no other object or element is found around it. When viewers interact with the logo, they might not know the rules and how apple are using the white space around the logo, but unconsciously they just somehow feel the importance of the logo, and that’s the exact message apple are trying to pass across by using the white space. This makes the logo easily recognizable anywhere it is placed.

Figure 3 - The apple logo
Figure 3 – The apple logo
Whatever you do, never fall into the trap of thinking that white space is also “empty space”. Click To Tweet

Whatever you do, never fall into the trap of thinking that white space is also “empty space”. Though it may look empty, this is because the space was designed to give viewers a better look at the design, and not because you did not have anything better to add.

At Capeworx, we pay attention to detail, and obsservation of global design principles, you can trust us with your visuals, Contact us, let’s talk.