A space odyssey: The design of nothingness

By January 10, 2017design

White space is an unknowingly powerful design tool. It is often overlooked and underutilized. It allows elements breath and gives them meaning – it is the most important utility in a designer’s tool kit.

Space in a design is like lighting in a room, without it you are left in darkness. There is an art to curating the ‘nothingness’.

Look and feel

A lack of space suggests urgency, discounts and no room to breathe. Everything is crammed in. It’s tight and there is an element of urgency – sooner or later space will run out. A lot of spacing gives an air of opulence and luxury, there is lots of room to move. Objects have freedom and aren’t attached or tied down.

Too much space and things appear daft, disconnected or lost. Not enough space and things get ugly, overcrowded and hard to decipher.

Typography

Each and every letter has spaces inside, outside and around, they give the form meaning. The spacing between and around the lines and shapes forms characters, which with spaces then form words. Characters are separated by space into words, spaced out into sentences, lines and paragraphs. Without space these letters and words wouldn’t be readable.

Tracking, leading, kerning and paragraph spacing can all be calibrated in the rhythm of spacing the text in a design. Space makes text legible, readable, accessible and enjoyable.

Space is the air that a design breathes. It’s that element in a design that you can’t pinpoint, but it is always there. It’s a delicate balance. Designers who have mastered white space and can convey meaning, emotion, hierarchy and power through use of white space.

Always consider white space.

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