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OBH | White Space

Beautiful, luxurious, glorious… not words you would usually associate with a blank area.

We live in a world surrounded by information, where we are drowning in content. So when you have a message, how can you break through the noise and confusion? A graphic designer will make your message cut through visually and that’s where white space comes in.

So… what is white space?

White space, also known as negative space, refers to the open area between design elements. These are the spaces unoccupied by text, images and other visual elements. This doesn’t mean that the space has to be white, which is a common misconception. It refers to an area free of text and imagery, regardless if it is white or not.

Designers will take into consideration how content (text and imagery) interacts with the intended white space. We consider the passive white space which occurs between text and imagery and how that connects elegantly with the active white space.

Why is it so important, you ask?

When used correctly, white space helps create groupings, adds emphasis and improves legibility. While images and fonts communicate a message, white space enhances and clarifies information.

Many clients consider white space to be wasted space. They opt for a design full of elements, thinking that printing with ‘empty spaces’ will simply be a waste of money. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The well-known ‘less is more’ mantra true. The human eye reads an organised and clean layout better than a cluttered space full of disturbances. A cluttered design is like a cluttered desk – you either can’t find what you need or you spend too much time looking for it. We can, instead, direct the eye towards the intended message using white space. It also provides visual relief and serves as breathing space within the design. We regularly apply this design theory to books, prospectuses, magazines and posters.

Of course, there are always occasions when we can’t be as generous with white space, or when we intentionally disrupt the theory in order to communicate a different message. Even a cluttered design, however, will benefit from the use of white space.

White space allows us to create design that encourages you to read on. That’s the whole point, right?

So… let’s embrace the white space!

Sarah Lelliott // Lead Creative Designer

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