Skip to main content

Using negative space or white space in design

We've all seen them, websites that look like a work of art. They hold our attention long enough to find out what the owner of the site is about and we end up falling in love with them so much that we keep returning. But how does it happen, why are some websites so magnetic we could spend hours looking at them and yet others send us running in the opposite direction at warp speed? Visual communication is an amazing medium. The real reason for this is that we are subconsciously aware of what we like but don't always know why .The things that affect our eyes and therefore our tastes are many, today we will be looking at one design feature that will help you in some of your design decisions in your online environment whether that is an online application or website that is being developed.

White or Negative space in any design is important

Essentially white space is an empty place to rest your eyes. When we visually scan information initially our eyes are searching for a landing spot, to allow our brains time to process what we are seeing. If there is not enough 'white' or 'negative' space our eyes constantly roam around trying to work out what it is that they are supposed to be focused on. We see the most common form in borders, look to the edges of your screen now, what is there? Most probably white space.  It could be viewed as a waste of room, crucial space with absolutely nothing in it, but don't fall into the trap of cramming something into every area, a cluttered, busy layout is difficult to read and could cause a high bounce rate. Some of the most elegant and striking designs employ white space to their advantage, take a look at these.

In each of these examples, what is your eye drawn to? Notice with Black Estate your eye gently and effortlessly follows left to right and steps down finishing at the wine bottle, which is not quite fitting on the screen, which urges you to scroll down, try and resist it? The famous 4th Street Cookie website is plain and simple, it's selling cookies, and there they are center front, and in a mouth watering scale, with one word next to them, uncluttered and easy to understand. The final example is again easy to read, what is your eye drawn to here? The bowl of soup, also clever use of colours, as blue and orange have the highest contrast.