Negative space in design is a concept which seems simple but can be a little tricky. Negative space when used intelligently, allows other elements of the design to stand out and fulfill their purpose. White space is the unused space in the design, and good designers know how they should use white space, or rather not use any space.
Professional designers know when to stop adding more elements in their designs and their ‘less is more’ approach seems to work out much better than the heavy handed approach of amateurs. So how do you use negative space in design? Here are a few pointers to use white space as a powerful element in design:
Negative space in type
Type or text in a layout should be easily readable, making it easier for the reader. Text should flow easily, and yet be a part of the design. Some designers consider text as more of a design element and do not care about the readability, thus neglecting the white space or leaving very little negative space. Negative space between lines, called leading makes type legible. Lack of leading makes the type readable and visible, which attracts the reader, which is exactly what the designer wants. Thus the proper use of negative space in type is crucial to the graphic and can thwart or attract the reader.
Negative space to highlight CTA and other elements in design
Negative space may be used to highlight CTA or a particular detail or image that the designer wants the audience to focus on. Negative space is used in product photography to direct attention to a particular aspect of the image. A brilliant negative space design is one which make the viewer become engrossed in the design and take action, which means a successful call to action. For example, white space in a logo design may appeal to a viewer or reader to such an extent that h/she remembers the logo and buys that company’s product.
Negative space in the design planning stage
While planning a design, designers often plan meticulously for the elements which are going to be printed intothe design, for example, the typography, the photos or artwork etc but not for the negative space. A successful design is one which takes into consideration the negative space too at the planning stage and intentionally uses it as part of the design. This lets the design come into fruition without the any hassle at the end, as white space is already planned for in the beginning.
Composition and space
A composition looks crowded when there is no breathing space or room which can be provided by negative space. Negative space has a different way of communicating with the brain than regular design. It lets the brain make sense of positive images, such as a logo or image which has had negative space designed into it is more impactful than a predictable design. The designer can choose any shade or color to contrast or compliment with the design. And leave the white space around cleverly to make a difference. The amount of space left as a result of necessity or as part of the plan in the composition enhances or mars it.
Negative space is used to reveal another image sometimes and many designers have used negative or white space to their advantage to make a design stand out in the memory of people. One of the most famous examples of positive and negative space is the example of two faces or a vase. If one sees faces, then the black areas are seen as positive space and if a vase is observed, then the white area becomes the positive space, leaving the background as negative space.
Negative space in minimalist design
In minimalist designs, handling positive and negative space as there are fewer elements and white space becomes a part of design rather than being just an effective background for other elements.