Imagine you are looking at a web-page which only has a logo in the center of the page surrounded by nothing. Yes absolutely nothing around it and yet it is highly effective. What do you feel is the most prominent feature of such pages? If you think it is the logo, think harder? Logos can be found everywhere, and if it were just the logo why would the designer not keep other elements on the tray? Whitespace! Yes, now you are talking business. The whitespace or what is better known as the negative space has emerged as an essential element of design.
“Whitespace is to be regarded as an active element, not a passive background” - Jan Tschichold
Negative Space is a cushion and a breathing room for all the design elements on the page. Gestalt principles also state that the negative space not only helps to define links between objects but also helps in defining their limits. So, by now you know that proper use of negative space can have a great impact on design. Designers have become aware of the magic negative space can create in designs and have made it an active part of their designs. Let us find out how.
Negative Space in Design
When there are so many things on the platter, the taste of everything is missed. So, the negative space has a unique push of making everything else seen and heard in your web designs. Some of the most telling advantages are:
- Increased Comprehension: Proper use of whitespace makes everything visible and readable. Readers do not have to look for details as everything is organized and well-spaced. Many studies have proven that when there is proper spacing between paragraphs and images everything becomes more legible. Additionally, it also increases the visual appeal of the page.
- Focus: When a web page has huge areas of whitespaces they typically direct him or her towards the key areas of interest. There are less number of distractions and one is able to keep the focus of the visitor on the main element.
- Enhanced Interaction Rate: Studies have proven that an average attention span of a user is less than 8 seconds and so it is the main role of a designer is to deliver the message to the visitor in that span of time. Also, it is at that time only the visitor has to be convinced and be directed to an effective and relevant call to action. No wonder the Google homepage has only the search bar and few tabs. Think!
- Branding Tone: Effective use of negative space helps in deciding the brand character. There are two examples of Google, Apple or the News Portals. They have evident differences in the manner they have used white space which also is in line with their brand personas. For instance, news portals have to cater to the masses who are always looking for the latest news. Their product is news and the aim is to publish the latest news as it hits the market. So, they are content-rich. Brands like Apple do not use many elements and let their products do the talking.
- Element Grouping: As per the Law of Proximity, given by Gestalt, states that the visual information is organized by people in a manner that the objects which are placed near to each other often seen to be similar. Even in design the objects which are put together often appear to be similar. This is also helped by the nearby negative space which surrounds it.
- Breakpoints: These are the newest entrants in the design spaces. Designers are making adjustments to the responsive grid of the web design in order to make perfect sense of the breakpoints. Breakpoints were often unnoticed elements ever since and were marked by space on either end of the page. Designers are now becoming aware of these spaces and are using them to maximum advantage by filling it with patterns or colors. The breakpoints are not an essential part of the design but they fit really well in some designs. Some designers make highly efficient use of this to stay ahead.
The use and awareness of negative space in the design are catching the attention of the designers who are trying to maximize the use of the same. It is like giving enough cushion to your design and allow it some breathing room. Remember when everyone shouts, no one is heard. Likewise in design when there are many elements, all trying to convey a message, they fail to make an impact. There is a difference between use and overuse. Remember, negative space does not stand to promote minimalism and there are some parts of the design which you cannot afford to avoid.
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