What is white space? Well, it is one of the most vital parts of an interactive design. It is the space surrounding elements of design, enabling them to stand out. It also includes the space inside each design elements and the space between typography glyphs.
Even though the name says white, white space is not always white. It can be of any texture, pattern, color or even a background image. It is also known as negative space. A well balanced white space will subconsciously insist a person to read the content.
The balance will provide improved visual communication experience. The psychological factor about white space is the calmness it provides to the viewer, which gives them space to breath.
White space is classified into two; micro white space and macro white space. The space between design elements are called as micro white spaces and the large space between important elements and the space surrounding the design layout is called as macro white spaces.
Micro white space plays the major part in content legibility. Marginal white space surrounding paragraphs are capable of influencing the viewer’s reading speed and comprehension. Unlike micro white space, macro white space is like a container of the overall design.
One of the most successful examples of macro white space design is the home page of Google itself.
From another angle, white space can be divided to active and passive. Active white space is the white space used to intensify the page structure so that the content would provide a better guidance for the user.
On the other hand, passive white space is used to improve the aesthetics of the design. This does not guide the user through a definite content order. An example would be the white space between font glyphs and paragraph lines.
Why is white space important in graphic design? Basically, whitespace is the fundamental ingredient of good design which helps to increase content legibility. When users are being able to see where they are going, they will feel comfortable and they will keep on reading.
This provides a good user experience. This also increases the interaction by preventing distractions.
Another function this offers is the ability to highlight call to actions. A way of highlighting something is by making them bigger, this can be achieved by using whitespace as well. This method is also just as effective as the other one. Whitespace is the central part in creating certain mood and look, especially luxury and sophistication.
If you refer anything associated to a luxury brand, you can see lot of white space inside them. Adding too many graphic elements will cheapen the overall look. Our brains tend to give more priority to stuff surrounded by white space, because the whitespace is giving the brain visual clues about where to look.
This feature can be used wisely to add emphasis and invoke imagination. White space makes the imagination to roam free, which can turn out to be a strong emotional response.
The white space doesn’t always points on to a specific thing, so it could turn out to be anything. Also it doesn’t matter what the mind thinks of it. The only thing that matters is, whether it is capable of making the mind think of anything.
Because it can be only done by engaging the user and if the user is engaged, we can conclude that the design succeeded in creating a good first impression. Because of all these factors, white space is not only important in graphic designing but also in documents.
White space combined with typography and photography is the sign of luxury. This technique is extensively used by cosmetic brands to express they are sophisticated, high quality and expensive. It also helps in proper organization. It has the capability of breaking content into separate pieces without lines in an attractive manner.
White spaces help users to make logical sense out of the information presented. Objects placed near to each other appear to be similar. This is one of the highly practiced principles of design. This logic is used to create logical grouping of layout elements, through margins and gutters between grids.
Two of the most familiar sites using white space very efficiently are, Google and Apple. While looking at Apple’s site, you can see most of the space is filled with white space. Other than white there will be a picture of the product and a light description explaining the details of the product. This style is a tradition that they have been following for years.
Likewise, Google has also been using this technique for a very long time. At the time of Google’s launch, people weren’t familiar with the idea of white space and people thought that the page was not completely loaded even after the home page of google is fully loaded. Google’s homepage is something that they have retaining in same style for all these years. That is how strong white space is.
For most people, white space is a doubt. For them, this space is an opportunity to include more details or information. It’s a hard job to make people understand that this space holds more value than information.
Another problem while using white space is paper in print design projects. While leaving more white space, more space will be required to cover the content. More space means more paper and more paper means more expense.
At times like these, it is the duty of the designer to prioritise features and content and then create a balance between content and whitespace. Maintaining ideal level of white space in designs and establishing balance will only come by practice and experience.
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