I have learned you ignore the whitespace at your own peril. MICHAEL BEIRUT
Sounds foreboding, doesn’t it, but he has a point.
Whitespace are those sections of a printed or digital design which are left blank and untouched by text, images and illustrations. Using whitespace is a fundamental design element that can provide many benefits. Some people, however, think that less is just a bit too less and they feel short-changed if not every millimetre of space is used.
But is it really a value for money question? ‘Empty’ space in a layout isn’t really empty at all. It’s filled with tension, promise, potential and excitement, and so, can add a lot of value to your piece of print or web design to show off your products and services or bring your brand identity lo life.
The concept of Whitespace started its life in the world of glossy women’s magazines and art books in the 1950’s. It was being used in layouts in Harper’s Bazaar to give a touch of elegance and luxury. To this day, glossy magazines carry on with this principle and, when we flick through them, create a sense of longing in us.
1. Hierarchy & Balance
Whitespace creates hierarchy and balance, it’s not just a beautiful, but also a very purposeful element in Design. It’s a very effective way to communicate with your audience and it can help establish a clear hierarchy in your ad, leaflet, brochure or website which helps to guide your audience around the page. It makes it easier to take in the information and imagery in one glance.
Whitespace also creates harmony and comfort. The more whitespace you use in your design, the fewer elements compete with each other. It cuts down on ‘visual’ noise and gives a sense of calm.
Before you start pulling together content for a leaflet, think about your copy and images you plan to include. Remember, less is more. Keep it short, keep it interesting and keep it clever.
2. Put your products & services centre stage
Designing with whitespace helps to set the scene for the star of the leaflet, brochure, postcard – your product or service. It creates suspense, excitement and intrigue. Whitespace allows you to really focus on the product or service you offer – in fact it lets the product speak for itself. Think about the sleek minimalist website of Apple for example, or their packaging and magazine adverts. You’ll find heaps of white space, razor sharp product images and a minimal amount of text. How does that make you feel about the brand and products?
3. Add a look of sophistication and luxury
Whitespace as a concept was invented to create a sense of luxury. It oozes quality and professionalism. It can create a feeling of sophistication and elegance. In a way whitespace has an inbuilt quality control element to it. The quantity of whitespace you require depends on your target audience. If your product is lower in value, less white space is needed. Adding more white space gives a product or service an appearance of high value and quality.
Of course, densely packed text in design has its place too. Newspapers wouldn’t be affordable otherwise. They need to be tightly packed, their clever design is all about economy.
So whether you love it or hate it, whitespace is a powerful addition to your design toolkit.