“It needs some more white space” … “I love the use of white space in this layout” … “There’s too much white space.” As a designer, I hear and use this word almost every day. It is a powerful term used in the design world and can make or break a design. Lately, it is something that plays a more important role in digital marketing as we strive to create more user-friendly experiences.
What is white space?
White space is empty space in a design or negative space that exists around all content in a design layout. The space may appear to be empty, when in reality it is probably the most important part of how the design actually appears to the human eye.
Let’s take a look at how negative space plays a major role in even simple images like the ones below:
The positive space in the image above is the candlestick holder, and the space around it is the negative space. This negative space shows two face profiles. Both complementary elements are being used in the same design to stand out in their own way, however the white space being used in the image on the right is what makes the design. A great design shows positive and negative space working together.
How does white space play a role in digital marketing?
People are constantly bombarded with advertising and marketing every day. Companies are battling to win over the audience’s attention within the short amount of time that a person’s attention span lasts. With all of this noise in the marketing world, including ads on the sides of web pages, all over social media, radio commercials, etc., people are used to ignoring all of the clutter because it becomes annoying and unappealing to engage with; the emotional effect it has on the person becomes negative.
A great example of this is how a person would react in a messy cluttered room in their home. Their stress level goes up just at the sight of it, and navigating through the room is impossible because you can’t see what you’re looking for. You have to work harder to find what you want and may simply give up out of frustration.
On the contrary, if a person were in a clean room in their home, they feel happier as it is pleasing that everything is in its place and they can easily find what they want and are likely to stay in the room longer. The same concept holds true for design. The most valuable tool that designers have in making this happen is white space.
White space and user experience
At first glance, a page that has a strong use of white space will capture the individual’s attention right away. Seems like it should be the opposite, right? But because of their day-to-day bombardment of marketing, the white space gives a sense of control to the user; it lets them focus on one thing at a time and really take in that content.
From there, the individual will look at the details of the design that grab their attention as the white space is allowing for those elements to shine and stand out.
Ultimately, this type of interaction with content conveys a positive message to their brain and they will be more likely to click on the call to action of that page and move through the user experience intended for them. It is that first impression, that is so important; the couple of seconds that your company has to pull in the user based off of appearance alone. You can have the greatest content in the world, but if the page is overwhelming and unappealing, you’ve already lost your audience.
Below are some examples of how Vonazon’s creative team has used white space for our clients to create a positive and engaging user experience.