Negative Space In Design

Designing Nothing…

Not many people enjoy being bombarded with information, hence why clarity should be key. One of the most common things a designer is asked to do, is to fill that space. Perhaps the logo could be bigger… or another message could help… anything to get rid of that empty bit that isn’t doing anything… GRRRRRRR!

The designer has considered the message, medium and audience – that space is there for a good reason, to provide balance, improve legibility, create hierarchy, add drama or change the pace.

This might make more sense if you consider this theme musically:

If you take a song and play all the notes at the same time, or so quickly that they overlap, you create a wall of noise, and the meaning and emotion of the music is lost. By adding space, the notes can be heard and appreciated, helping to create rhythm and melody and connecting with the listener.

The same is true visually. 

Space gives the elements more sense and hierarchy, allowing the viewer to absorb the information at a more natural pace, things fall into place and look ‘happy’ and your message is communicated.

Space conveys many positive messages in design; sophistication, cleanliness, purity, but most of all it suggests confidence and clarity, making the communication more effective and aesthetically pleasing. With careful consideration, space establishes harmony, with elements falling into place and looking ‘happy’. Most importantly, your message will be amplified.

Apple understand the power of talking, not shouting and use space really well.

  • Their brand and marketing is always relaxed and clear.
  • Their products, packaging, marketing and stores are always clean and confident.
  • The logo on the back of an iPad sits in oceans of space and looks just right.

That space has been carefully considered, believe me.

Designing what isn’t there is just as important as what is there. You may agree or disagree, but as always no matter what you have to say, we’d love to hear it! Let us know your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook, whichever works best.