White space might be what you feel between your ears on a Monday morning. Maybe it’s what you feel at the tip of your tongue when trying to remember the name of someone you met on a wild night out. Or, you might associate it with the blank piece of paper when asked to write something about yourself.
We are all familiar with white space and its negative connotations. But I’d like to shine a light on the beauty and appeal of white space.
White space is a design term that refers to empty space, space that isn’t occupied by text, images, or other visible design elements.
One should not be afraid of this so-called white space. One should embrace the clarity and clear-headedness that comes with the existence of white space, the way it allows us to take a moment, have a break and leads us into the next step forward.
The amount and placement of white space is a key component of a page’s readability and legibility. As a designer, white space is one of my fave tools. It allows me to better structure the page and emphasize different areas of content. It also allows me to help navigate the user through the design and establish a certain hierarchy for their eyes to follow.
A lack of white space makes visitors feel uncomfortable and stifled as the page feels cluttered and too busy. Users feel a sense of overwhelm and often move on to a more welcoming, spacious design. On the other hand, designs with too much white space feel empty, uninteresting or pointless.
A successful design finds the balance.
When applied successfully, white space plays a crucial role in a page’s design and usability. The content feels structured, it’s easy to find information, and the page layout works with the content to emphasize the most important information.
As a designer, white space is my friend. Try thinking about this concept of white space in a positive light next time you write a cover letter, long winded email or begin decorating your home with half a million trinkets.
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