The Significance of White Space In Design

All of us are now pretty much familiar with the term "content is king". In fact it has become a firm belief that marketers tend to follow blindly. They put out every kind of information required on particular topics, in order to convey their message to consumers in a better way. But have we ever realized how the end users consume the content and what do they prefer the most?

If we analyze this question thoroughly, then half of the power of any content lies in how it is designed or visually presented. People only read what attracts their eyes and to make your content more appealing, we are going to talk about a very essential element that dominates in the world of design, but is still being often ignored; the white space (also known as negative space).

What is White Space?

To put it into simple words, white space is recognized as the unmarked space in any design. It is all that space which you see in between the layouts, paragraphs, different User-interface (UI) elements and more. However, a white space doesn't necessarily have to be a space with white background. It can also have color, texture, patterns or even a background image.

What Can It Really Do To The Design?

It has been more commonly observed that a lot of designers or businesses tend to go for User Interface (UI) while compromising on the fact that it is the User Experience (UX) that counts the most in terms of engagement. However, fortunately enough, a goo use of white space brings in both with elegance. It boosts up the aesthetics, impacts the effectiveness of the page and even results into increased business as well.

In order to understand this in a better way, let's look at some examples

1. Comprehension

The white small spaces in between the lines are called as Micro White Spaces and with a proper usage (between lines of paragraphs and its left and right margins) they can increase the overall comprehension up to 20%. It makes the content appear neat and improves legibility.

The Significance of White Space (AKA negative space) In Design
Graphic source: Piktochart.

2. Focus and Attention

Here we are going to talk about Macros White Spaces, the ones that can be used to guide the users through the page and put all the focus on main area for users. A perfect example of such large space can be seen on Home Page.

3. Interaction Rate

According to studies, an average user can give its attention to a page for about 6 seconds only. Therefore, you need your design to convey what you want to say in the time frame. While an effective use of white space holds the design together, it can also help the visitor to put all attention on area that matter e.g call for action.

4. Branding

The right usage of micro and macro white spaces define the character of a web page. Macro spaces signify sophistication and luxury whereas micro spaces become important for news websites.

5. Logical Grouping

As per the Law of Proximity, established by Gestalt psychologists, objects that are near to each other appear similar. This holds a great significance in principles of design as well and that is where white spaces make logical sense when information has to be presented. The margins and gutters between grids control the logical grouping of layout elements.

6. Gives Breathing Space to users

This can be better explained with two images below. Although they contain the similar message of saving power for future but image to the left, keeps our eyes jumping from one element to another — Brand name, Title, text, button,bulb. In short there is high motor load.

If we look at the right picture on the contrary we will realize that the white space makes the similar content so soothing to the eyes. One can easily read out all the details without being overwhelmed by it.

What Challenges Do Designers Face With White Space?

A lot of businesses often perceive white space as wasted space. They begin to debate on the opinion that the space can be used for more content. It all eventually becomes a challenge for designers to explain how the white space can actually assist the business in usability and conversions.

In case, if they successfully get over that phase, white space emerges as another challenge in terms of the readiness of investment. More use of white spaces result into less content per fold which makes the project expensive as well. Hence, in such cases it again becomes the responsibility of a designer to balance white space and content so that business should eventually tart prioritizing this feature.

The white space is a design tool and applying it well is both art and science.

Read next: 5 Best Infographic Creation Tools Anyone Can Use
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