As a web designer, you have a lot to consider. The text, layout, graphics, colours, images, tags, codes and frames – with all that going on, it can be easy to neglect what isn’t happening. By that we mean your negative space – the white space on the page. You may think this is just unused space, and might even be tempted to fill it up with unnecessary elements – but that space is a crucial part of the overall design, and you should make sure it is working well for you.
What is white space and why is it important?
White space can be better explained as ‘negative space’ or ‘empty space’. It is literally the absence of content, leaving blanks which provide context for the space that has been filled. It occurs naturally in many cases, while in others the effect is intentional and carefully controlled. ‘White space’ may not actually be white – it simply means the areas without text or images. It can also refer to background image space that is clutter free and unboxed.
White space features in printed pages and on-screen text, in photographs and drawings, and in an abstract sense it also forms part of the world around us. It is an important part of web design, ensuring the reader can concentrate on the information provided without being overwhelmed visually. Understanding the impact white space has can help you use it more effectively in your own designs and layouts, especially when it comes to website creation.
Examples of negative space use in the offline world
Pioneering typographer and early design advocate Jan Tschichold wrote in 1930 that, “white space is to be regarded as an active element, not a passive background.” His work made effective use of white space in books and championed a new kind of layout that was easier on the eye, and made more of an impact overall. You may remember the term ‘negative space’ from your high school art lessons. In the art and photography worlds, negative space is just as important to the overall piece as the marks themselves, and can be used to create stunning visual representations.
How should white space be used in web design?
When print ads were the norm, advertising space was limited and expensive. This led to a need to cram as much as possible into a small space. Even the biggest brands had adverts which looked cheap and rushed. On the web, things are different. Space is still expensive and there is a lot of competition for the places ads appear, but there is also much more space to play with. Web pages can be as full – or as empty – as you want them to be.
Unused space is not wasted space. Avoid the temptation to cram a page full of too many different elements. They will slow down loading times and cause lag, which is a pet hate for web users and could lead them to abandon your page entirely. Concentrate on getting the point of the page across, and limit images and graphics to the necessary ones. Simplicity is often equated with elegance and good use of white space creates a great overall design that will look clean, crisp and modern. Of course, you want to find a balance – too little on your page can be boring. Make sure the elements you do have are bold and highly evident, and that the negative space looks intentional, rather than neglected.
Great uses of white space on the web today
A classic example of a minimal web page is the Google home screen. The page contains very little – often just the logo, search box and a few menu tabs at the edges of the screen. Occasionally an image is added in the form of a Google Doodle, but this is also low profile and has little impact on the vast amounts of negative space. This makes the page extremely quick and easy to use, with no distracting sidebars or complicated graphic elements. It loads almost instantly, because there is nothing to slow down the page.
Social media sites are also working on better use of white space. Networks such as YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest have adopted a ‘less is more’ approach to their layouts with lots of space and as little clutter as possible. This means the user can concentrate on the most important page elements, and it also emphasises the slick, modern design of these brands.
Using white space in your own designs
Whether you blog or make business websites, white space use is a growing trend you should be aware of in 2017. Modern websites which perform best with users are mobile-friendly and easy to read – they are not stuffed full of unnecessary pictures and distracting links. A good website is the public face of a business online, and you want it to represent that brand properly. You can also start creating something very elegant and simple by using different deals on VoucherBin.co.uk to avail awesome website builder services offered by Heart Internet, 1and1, etc. while improving user experience and with the right use of white space. Concentrate on using space to best effect and don’t be afraid to leave parts of the page empty – it will make a better overall impression on the reader.