Illustration, Notebook, Typography

White space

Notebook: 13 August 2015

Above: Simple but clever use of white space on the Guardian website. The empty space helps the reader navigate their way around the page and gives structure to the design

White space – you know, those delicious gaps of empty space on a layout that help the page breathe and add emphasis to the adjacent content. The simplest form of white space or ‘negative’ space is the border that is often left around a picture when it is framed to be hung on a wall – it helps give the picture presence. A more dynamic use of white space is when it’s used off to one side with an asymmetrical design. Of course many editors and clients aren’t keen on the stuff –they believe that every last bit of empty space needs to be filled with words rather than being left to help a page look clean, elegant and uncluttered. If you’re not convinced about the power of white space then take a look at this beautiful advert below. It’s from a 1952 issue of Punch magazine that I found years ago on a rubbish tip in Winchester and it’s one of my favourite bits of graphic design – superb illustration, simple, classy typography and an ocean of white space that gives it a real power. Fantastic!