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White space

Are you interested in further exploration of the topic of composition in design? If yes, we shall reveal some more secrets! Today we will talk about white spacein design.

You may have a feeling that we have already discussed this topic. You might have remembered the article on negative space, where we talked about the space between design elements. Yes, in the examples which we provided there;this space was white! But these are two different concepts!

What Is the Difference Between These Two Compositional Elements?

Negative space – let us briefly reiterate – plays a certain kind of game with the eye of a viewer. It is both present and absent. In theory, it remains unused. In practice, it takes an active part in forming shapes. It constitutes a very concrete and expressive element of the design. White space, on the other hand, does not take such tangible forms. It is merely (but, at the same time, so much more than that!) a blank, unused space between the elements of a design.

The Objective of White Space –Less Is More

The blank surface allows you to “take a breath”. It is a place where the eyes and the brain can take a rest from other elements which convey some information. Thanks to the fact that white space appears in the design, the whole composition becomes more aesthetic and transparent. And, as a result, it is automatically easier in terms of reception.
An overabundance of elements – and thus also an overabundance of information –makes the eye confused. The recipients do not know which element of the design they are looking at is the most important and where they should focus their attention. Consequently, they lose interest in what they are looking at. They become tired, even annoyed. But that is a different effect from what we would like to achieve.

What White Space Looks Like

Depending on the design and the medium, the blank space will take different shapes and cover different surface. We can notice it in:

■ printed and virtual texts, e.g. books, leaflets, blogs – where it takes the form of letter spacing, spaces, interlining, paragraph indentation, margins, etc.;

■the Internet–a white background is present on the web as spacing between sections on a page, the distance between photos in a gallery, the space between consecutive posts on social media, etc.;

■company logos–here, as in the previous examples, white space is the space between text and graphics or light between letters;

■ posters, book covers, etc. –e.g. the space between the graphic, the author’s name and the title;

■ business cards – here, a blank space comes in the form of very wide margins and large spaces between lines of text;

■ billboards;

■ product packaging;

■ forms, questionnaires –here, the white space can be seen very well, for example in the form of clearly marked, contoured answer boxes.

How to Use White Space in Projects?

Although the blank space is primarily intended to make the design transparent and easily comprehensible, it can also serve other functions.
With white space, it is easy to highlight the most important elements of a composition, and thus, to direct the recipient’s attention to them. White space also helps to group information. It can be used to indicate that the given elements form a single, larger and coherent group. A good example of this is a space-separated comment section under a blog post, or separating products from other categories in an online shop by a space.

White Space – Space Which Is Not Always White

Even though the term itself clearly implies what kind of an empty space you may expect, don’t get deceived. The surface between design elements does not always have to be white. The background of the composition may have any color, texture, or even pattern. What makes it a “white” (blank) space is that the place has not been used.

What Should Be Avoided?

Extremes are not good, in either direction. It is not only an overabundance of elements that can have a negative impact on the design message. An excess of white space will not be well received either.A design with too much blank space can give the impression of being unfinished or of having been created unskillfully, in an amateurish manner.


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