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The Value of White Space
Oftentimes, we hardly notice the white areas in between images and words on a poster or those found amid the paragraphs and pictures in a newsletter. Even designers sometimes fail to take note of the importance of these seemingly blank spaces. What are these white spaces? They are actually the gaps or the breathing rooms between various elements of a design.
What are white spaces for? A lot of people do not realize that they play a sizeable role in the general layout and visual impression of a design. In the artists' realm, the white space indicates composition. After a designer positions the text and graphics, the white space left actually shows how the design is arranged. A greater amount of white space exhibits a roomy design which is more appealing to the eye as opposed to a crowded one. In connection to this, these white sections are therefore beneficial for the eyes because they provide a refreshing sight that relaxes one's eyes.
White space also denotes opportunities for more art to flourish. Each blank canvass or bare paper or plain digital page simply means an area waiting to be filled up with the creative ideas of an artist.
Furthermore, white space is also great in creating drama. Painters, photographers, and graphic designers sometimes choose to add more white portions to be in contrast with strong colors such as red and black. Consequently, there is a striking and melodramatic effect which piques one's emotions.
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Example 1: Clear and Focused
White space, as used in this example, provides a much clearer illustration of the diagram. In this case, using white as the background makes the figure stand out more and helps viewers focus on what is being explained through this schema. If the background had been colored, it would have been a bit more distracting even if it was plain.
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Example 2: Clean and Uncluttered
Not many amateur designers aim for the spick and span look when laying out posters, advertisements, covers, etc. In this example, the white space serves two of its most important purposes--- to separate the various elements of the design and to create a clean and uncluttered appearance. These are essential not only in avoiding confusion and distraction, but also in focusing the target audience's attention to more than one element without causing misunderstanding and perplexity.
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Example 3: Fresh and Dramatic
Many artists love making use of black and white patterns and designs in order to appeal more to the senses. Such effects provide a fresh perspective on a subject as shown in this example. The white space here thus acts as a catalyst for drama, not only for creating visual impact but also for evoking emotions. In the same way, other designs would use the white space to highlight contrast like when it is matched with strong colors like black and red or when it is placed side by side with loud and intense images. The black and white effect is also employed when the designer aspires for an old-looking picture. Hence, this technique generates that dramatic feel.
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Example 4: Fun and Stylish
Whoever said that white cannot be fun and stylish? This example breaks the common misconception by illustrating how white space can actually enhance the beauty and panache of an image. In this particular graphic design, the colorful splashes and streaks of paint would not have had the same outcome if the background had been colored too. The paint splatter effect would not have been recognizable and the entire look would have resulted into a messy and chaotic design. Moreover, adding text to this design required white space again to make the letters prominent against the vibrant, multicolored backdrop.
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Example 5: Plain and Consistent
This is another white space example that exhibits the good use of white areas. Most web pages are designed like this in order to facilitate better and easier navigation for users. Such a layout allows them to scan the page without any trouble and find specific elements quickly. In addition, the consistency of the design as achieved through regular and uniform margins and spacing gives the impression that the site is organized, professional, and reliable.
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"The Good Thing About White Space" by Kay Zetkin, All Graphic Design, http://www.allgraphicdesign.com/graphicdesignarticles/elementsprinciplesprocess/whitespacegraphicdesign.html
"Using White Space Effectively in Design" by Brian, Web Design Tuts, http://webdesigntuts.com/web-design/using-white-space-effectively-in-web-design/