The Beauty of White Space

The top song of the year may have a calming bridge prior to the booming crescendo of its chorus while the latest craze on Netflix has a long-winded build up to its pivotal cliffhanger. Have you ever stopped to think why this is? Why isn’t it just go, go, go all of the time? Wouldn’t that be more exciting?

Well unless you’re a drum-and-bass aficionado or a die hard fanatic of whatever action movie Liam Neeson is putting out next, the answer is quite simple. The ebb and flow of a creative piece is meant to create focus, highlighting the creator’s intended shining moment, the crux of its purpose for being.

The very same goes for any piece of design in the world of marketing. Without this focus, what is the advertisement, the brand, the creator trying to tell me? As designers, it’s our job to not be solely creative in execution but to direct one’s eye across our creations in a way that establishes its intended meaning. We set the stage and drop the mic at its key takeaway. Its crescendo. Its cliffhanger.

We’ve all inevitably heard it before: Can we make the logo bigger to fill that space? What if we enlarge the font here? Should we drop another image in to even things out? While there is a time and place for densely filled layouts (looking at you overzealous infographics), a designer should not be afraid to embrace the power of white space. White space helps put focus and attention on a product, a headline or a call-to-action. White space airs content out. White space gives users a place to rest.

Look at Google, Apple, Nike or any of the leading brands that competitors strive to compete with or even replicate. One thing holds true for each of them – they value the importance of whites pace. Whether it be streamlining search results on an empty background without exuberant clutter, minimizing branding across their product marketing or distilling the power of an ad down to small white text overlaid onto a portrait, they each create clear focus for the user to consumer and react to.

Now obviously you may think this comes with the territory of being a behemoth within their respective industries and you’re not wrong. Brand recognition for the Google’s of the world is a given but the very same concept of embracing white space has merit to empower even those who are just starting to get their message across.

At the end of the day, marketing is meant to tell a story and by establishing that essence of the creative you can begin to answer some pesky questions:

  • A larger logo would compete with the other elements on the page.
  • Enlarging the font would seem as if we are yelling at the audience.
  • Too many visuals would confuse our viewers, forcing their eye to bounce around the screen.

So the next time you are working your next piece of creative, do not be afraid to start small. Ask yourself only what is needed to accomplish the task at hand. Create focus and don’t shy away from it because more times than not, clutter is just that. Clutter. Embrace white space and let your own crescendo be the star of the show.

A few examples of the beauty of whitespace:

Red Bank - A Work of Art

Season - Website

iCIMS - Agility Moves You Forward