There is an entire song about it: the importance of saying nothing at all. Saying what you want to say with a wink or a smile; or in the print and web world, the whitespace or negative space. As we’ve all learned thus far in our design studies, the whitespace is just as important as the content of your design. These first two images, from Whole Living and InStyle magazines respectively, are both good examples in their treatment of the negative space. Both pages have room to breathe and do not feel cluttered. They both have a sort of calm about the pages.
The next two images, from Better Homes and Gardens and InStyle respectively, are not as good examples in the treatment of whitespace. They feel cluttered and sort of chaotic. There is too much going on in each page.
Not only is whitespace present in print design, it is also extremely important in web design as well. This could be the difference in a user visiting our site and potentially buying your product or going to another site. The following website is a great example of whitespace. The site is very balanced and calming, which is a good feel since it’s for a yoga studio.
As much as I love shopping on Amazon, I must confess that their website is pretty cluttered and busy, with not a lot of attention to whitespace. But, they’ve got great deals, so I grin and bear it. Another site the is on the busy side is FitSugar, especially the navigation bars at the top of the site. They seem to have paid some attention to the negative space, but a little more massaging would help this site.
As these examples show, even what is not being said or shown can be just as important as the words themselves.