White space, or negative space, is the empty space that surrounds the design elements of a layout. Incorporating white space is essential for creating user-friendly designs, but just how does white space contribute to usability?
Add Style By Reducing Clutter
Designs with too many elements and too little white space end up feeling very cluttered and can even be uncomfortable to look at. Reducing the number of elements and adding more white space ensures that a design doesn’t feel cluttered. Instead, the addition of white space contributes to a feeling of sophistication and style that can’t be achieved in any other way.
Note that the term white space doesn’t necessarily mean that the empty space is white. It can actually be any colour; the important part is that it’s empty space. White space is essentially just the space that isn’t taken up by images or text.
Make Text Easier To Scan And Read
Without white space, text is difficult to scan and ready—just imagine what these sentences would look like without the white space created by the kerning of the font, and the spaces between each word.
It gets a bit more complicated when adding text elements to a printed design, however, because then it’s about balancing text elements with visual elements to ensure that each element receives the right amount of focus. As well as this, text elements in design layouts benefit from white space because they make it easier for viewers to understand what they’re reading. In these cases adding white space not only makes text readable, it also increases reading comprehension.
Guide The Viewer’s Experience
By combining the use of white space with other elements, designers can guide the way the viewer experiences a design. Starting with an initial focal point and using various elements to guide the viewer’s attention, a designer can create an amazingly precise impression. White space is an essential part of of this, because “empty” space can serve as a means of highlighting key elements of a design.
Create Harmony And Balance
A balanced design isn’t necessarily one that’s symmetrical; in fact, asymmetry can be a good way of adding visual interest. But a balanced design does need to find a way of harmonizing all the different elements on a page layout, and white space is generally a good way to achieve this.
For example, white space can be used to balance one large image or text block with several smaller ones, to create a design that’s both easy to read and pleasing to the eye.