I Need My (White) Space
A friend visiting my home a while back gestured over to an empty wall and said, “You need to fill that space with pictures.” From her viewpoint, the space looked unfinished, uninspiring, sadly wasted. To me, the whitespace (that wasn’t white by the way) looked sophisticated and uncluttered. A welcome pause that moved the attention to other points of interest.
When I present creative concepts to a client using whitespace as a design element, the typical reaction is, “Can we put another image/paragraph/logo/coupon/QR code on that space?” I can. But I often don’t want to and here’s why.
The more whitespace you have, the more the eye is drawn to what’s actually there. And the faster the viewer can get to it. Whitespace speeds things up, guiding the attention to your compelling photography, catchy headline or pithy pull quote. It makes someone more keen to read your message because (1) it’s easier to find, and (2) they know they don’t have to invest too much of their time. Whitespace removes the distractions and serves as a guide to what’s important: Your message. Your brand. Your call-to-action.
Here’s a riddle for you: When is whitespace not whitespace?
When it’s whitespace with color. Any color. Like my wall. The key word here is space, empty, negative space that frames content and draws attention to what really matters.
The next time you see a cluttered e-blast, a confusing webpage, a packed advertisement, or printed piece crammed with copy and tiny photographs, ten bucks says you’ll be editing out the non-essentials in your head. It’s amazing what doesn’t really need to be there.