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Negative Space: The breathing room of your elements

Negative Space: The breathing room of your elements 1130 693 mdesigners
A yellow box with a yellow stilus inside of it. Used to create negative space


DESIGN


Negative Space: The breathing room of your elements

Negative space – or white space if you will – is defined as the blank space between the elements of a page or screen. Despite the impression made by its name, it doesn’t have to be white; it can be of any colour or texture. But why is it so important in printed and web graphic design to use negative space properly?

Starting off what’s common for both types of graphic design, white space showcases the rest of the elements used – what we call positive space. In other words, negative space aids the designer to draw attention to the positive space. The most important thing to understand is that both of these elements exist only in relation to one another. You can only have a background if a foreground exists. 

So if you have been wondering why we keep using so much of it in our designs, this article is for you!

Negative space as seen in a graphic design book

White space showcases the rest of the elements used

White space in Web Design

The purpose of a well designed website is to guide the visitor towards the presented product or service. Therefore, its layout should be designed in a way that makes it easy for the viewer to read the copy content, navigate through the different pages without unnecessary distractions while at the same time appearing as elegant and stylish. All of the above can be best achieved through white space. 

Another very important factor that keeps the user engaged is time and effort.
How long does it take for pages to load fully?
How much time will it take before one finds what they are looking for?
A web page that is stuffed with elements and visuals is heavier – thus, it could take longer to load- and will make it harder for the viewer to scan it and find the information they are looking for.

On our web design project for the architecture studio O3+, we kept it plain and simple: The user’s attention is drawn to the featured projects at once, while at the same time the white circle – a very important element of the O3+ branding – appears on the right part of the screen.

A homepage with extensive use of negative space. MDesigners designed this for O3plus

While negative space isn’t always what a website needs, it is one of the most important factors to take into consideration while designing.

Another great example of the use of negative space on websites is our web design for Dental Zografou. Clear, uncluttered content helps the viewer eye – scroll through pleasantly and focus their attention to what matters most: Visiting your dentist shouldn’t be associated with bad experiences. It should be a visit that is associated with beautiful smiles and a form of self care and self pampering.

White space in Printed Design

The same goes for print design. The term “white space” derives from the white space of the pages in print designs, after all. White space creates balance and helps the reader focus while also improving readability. 

In our Technohull brochure project, the extended use of white spaces is visible at first sight. Negative space, in this case, gives clues to the readers’ brain regarding where one should be focusing. The buffering space on the right and the top makes it easier for the viewers to process the information.

 

A printed black and coloured brochure design by MDesigners for Technohull

Overall, when it comes to negative space in graphic design, whether print or digital, negative space is just another form of creativity.

Sources:

  1. R. Fawcett – Tang, D. Jury, “New Typographic Design”, London, Laurence King Publishing, 2007
  2. Framer, “Negative Space in Design: What it is and why it matters”, Framer, accessed September 28, 2021.
  3. UX Collective, “Negative Space in Web Design”, UX Collective, Apr 1, 2021, accessed Sep 19, 2021

At MDesigners we believe in open communication between prospect clients and designers, aiming at creating visual identities and experiences that will move and inspire their audience.

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We are MDesigners. A digital design & branding studio. We think, design and create projects like the corporate identity of a brand, the usability of an application, a website or software.


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