Whitespace in graphic design is the area of the composition left unmarked; it’s the space between margins, graphics, gutters, columns, between lines of type or elements. Whitespace provides visual relief for the eye. It is an important element of design and not to be feared!
Strong design requires attention to both what’s there and what is not there. White space or negative space is important because it guides us and tells our brains which elements in the design are the most important–it helps us organize elements.
Types of white space in graphic design:
- Active White Space– This space in design is used for emphasis and structure. This space can be asymmetrical, making the design look dynamic and active.
- Passive White Space – This is the white space such as the area between words on a line or the space surrounding a logo or other elements.
It’s not always white
Whitespace isn’t always white. It can be any color or pattern. White space can be any color that represents the negative space in design. Sometimes colored or patterned whitespace can be more interesting. The principle is the same‑it’s the area you don’t want your reader to focus on.
Why is whitespace important?
- Separates and groups elements
- Whitespace provides the brain with information about elements that belong together and which are separate
- Implies luxury and sophistication
Whitespace used as design element
- Can make your marketing materials look sophisticated.
- Adds emphasis. Our brains tend to put emphasis and importance on design elements that are surrounded by white space.
- Allow our brain to “fill in the spaces”
- Whitespace in a design, allows our imaginations to respond.
Don’t think of white space as empty space or lost opportunity. It may look empty, but that’s because the space is meant to guide viewers to your message. When it comes to graphic design, the elements left out are as important as the ones included.