How much is too much whitespace?

My last post opened the amazing topic of whitespace or “negative space” as some may call it. This topic have a big connotation and can be source of many debates on how much is too much.

Today we are going to review some facts and opinions about whitespace, this will help us determine  how much is too much?

Clients usually like to use all the space you have available for them, at the end, they are paying for it. But we all know that’s not always the best option even if they are paying; a crowded design is not always effective. Whitespace is probably one of the most overlooked and underutilized concepts in design, every design has whitespace, but the problem is that not every design has enough. The truth is, whitespace might be one of the most valuable parts of your design.

HBO marketing campaign using a big deal of whitespace

HBO marketing campaign using a big deal of whitespace

Let’s think about this, you’re in a store. It wouldn’t be a pleasant experience if you had trouble moving around due to the overcrowded aisles, alongside the sales assistant constantly prompting you with their special offers. There’s just too much to look at and you have neither the time nor the patience to find what you originally came in looking for. It’s not nice, it is not productive. This is one of the key features of why Apple stores work so well. They’re very minimalist and a large amount of the shop floor is given to the products themselves.

Now, what does that have to do with design? A lot actually. We don’t come for the task of hunting out a specific string of text underneath a wealth of pointless content you don’t care about. Negative space helps with both of these problems by leaving designs uncluttered at the same time as drawing attention to the focal point of the page.

No matter how badly you want to just fill up the entire space allotted for your design try hard not to do it. Negative space isn’t negative in the least, and it can make your designs look a lot more professional. With the endless advantages of using negative space effectively, you should stop avoiding negative space and embrace it head on. Hopefully I’ve been able to reduce your fears about negative space in your designs and you are on your way to creating some great design projects.

starbucks

Starbucks designs are great on whitespace

These are the facts, but more so this is my personal opinion, can you have too much white space? No you can’t

What do you think about it? Are the examples in this article representatives of too much whitespace or are they effective designs?

Is white space wasted space?

Designers are always creating, every design is a creation on its own. In that creation process we sometimes forget or ignore the importance of white space. Sometimes is called negative space which refers to the empty space between design elements. Spaces not occupied with text, images or other visual elements. White space should not be considered merely ‘blank’ space — it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all, the balance between positive (or non-white) and the use of negative spaces is key to aesthetic composition.

Negative space is not always white in color. If we go back to the description, it refers to a SPACE regardless if it is white or not. White space can be categorize in two different ways:

  • Active White Space – insures a better structure and layout in design and it gives focus to the content area. It is usually left out intentionally, it leads a reader from one element to another.
  • Passive White Space – Empty space around the outside of the page or blank areas inside the content which is the by product of the layout process.

White space exists for a reason – to ease the process of analyzing graphics or content so this is what you have to remember while using it in graphic design. The human eye percepts an organized and clean layout better than a cluttered space full of visual disturbances.

christmas decor

Ample use of white space in a magazine

Today we will list the benefits of white space in your designs:

  1. to balance layout
  2. white spaces attract the eye
  3. give the focus to certain content or object
  4. improves readability
  5. white space can act as a separator

 

How do you use white space? Do you think white space is wasted space?