Negative space is your friend


It is the friend that is always there for us. Brenton tells us why we need to show negative space a little more love.

For graphic designers, there are few bigger issues than the negative space debate. Negative space is often referred to as white space and is just any ‘unused’ space in a design. It is the opinion of most people who don’t work in design that more content is always better.

"Don’t leave white space, people won’t notice my ad!"

"Can we just make the logo a bit bigger to fill up that space?"

But I’m here to tell you, negative space is your friend. Negative space may be your best friend, and you don’t even know it. Do you even know when its birthday is? What a selfish friend you are…

Rather than thinking of negative space as ‘empty’, you should think of a design as being ‘full’ of negative space. It’s a design element just like any other, and it can be vital in ensuring people actually bother to read what you’re paying to put out there.

By giving each element of a design space to breathe, you’re doing a few key things.

Firstly, you’re actually allowing the design to have a hierarchy. Hierarchy is an important design principle that is used to guide a viewer to take in information in a specific order. Without it, viewer's eyes tend to wander and they take in nothing.

Secondly, it reduces fatigue. This may sound silly, but people actually get fatigued when reading something complex or confusing. Unless this is something people need to do they’ll stop reading as soon as they feel confused. Usually, this will be accompanied with a feeling of annoyance. Something to avoid entirely.

Lastly, it probably means stripping down your content to the bare essentials. I cannot overemphasise how important this is.

“Don't use seven words when four will do”.

Remember that you have a very limited amount of time to hold people’s attention. They’re never going to read everything, so give them what they need and only what they need.

So please, do yourself a favour and let negative space into your hearts. It’s there to help, and you won’t lose anything by letting it take charge every now and then.