Just because there’s empty space does not mean it needs to be filled.
As a designer some of what we do is subjective, we choose the color yellow because it looks good with the rest of the design when using orange would work just as well. There are a lot of things though, that are done for a reason, which may not be apparent to the average person. One of these things is the use of empty space, which we refer to as “white space”. White space is a very important part of a design, it can just look like empty space that is being wasted that could be filled with text or imagery, but is indeed a necessity.
Lets look at this from a different perspective. Your living room is situated in a way that it is a useful space. If we look at it there is a lot of empty space, but this empty space serves a purpose, the purpose of allowing you to move around freely and use the room. If we filled this space you would have a hard time getting to the couch, you would be stuck and you most likely begin to choose not to go into the living room.
The same thing applies to a design. There are certain things we do to make your eyes move around the page in the order we want them to, the use of white space is one tool we use. Just like the empty spaces in your living room, white space in a design allows your eyes to move freely around the page and helps us to put emphasis on the important items. Take out this white space and we run into the same problem you would have if your living room was filled, your eyes get stuck, you have a hard time finding the important information (the couch) there is so much to look at, it can be overwhelming and you may choose not to look at it at all.
One of the most recognizable ads that display just how awesome white space can be is the Iconic Volkswagen bug campaign, below, just look at all that empty space! And next to it is a wonderful example of trying to take advantage of every last drop of space by filling it with content, gives me a headache just looking at the thing. Basically, when it comes down to it, empty space is much more than just empty space, it is “white space”, and the world could use a little more white space.
Cynthia Carbajal serves as Art Director for Imagine Communications. Email Cynthia at email@example.com.