Negative Spaces An Important Principle Of Website Design

03 Mar 2016

Every designer has his own set of pillars of art and design that he tends to lean on no matter what the challenge is. Without those pillars the art and web designing is bland and meaningless. Amongst the many pillars, one that stands tall, ready in position to pass through judgments of all kinds; negative space, often referred to as whitespace.

Wait, What? Define Negative Space for me. Please?

A rather basic definition for this term is; the space that surrounds an object, image or content on your website and is one of the most powerful feature of design. If we all keep the “less is more” kind of mindset we will find ourselves lost in a thought that indeed; negative space is the most important aspect in design. Negative space tends to also be known as white space which was originally derived from printers.

It is further sub-divided into two other terms which are micro and macro negative space. The space between the smaller elements would be called the micro negative space, and the space between the larger elements; the macro negative space.

You can visibly see the micro negative spaces in line height, margins and padding. Whereas, the macro negative spaces fall somewhere in the elements of design like the headers, search fields and content.

So consider the micro negative space to be assisting you by increasing the readability and usability for your visitor. The macro negative space will play a role in adding a proper structure to your site to avoid coming off as out of place.

Okay, Cool. So, Why Does the Negative Space Even Matter?

In web designing there are no set of rules to define the good from the bad or wrong from right. The same way there isn’t really a way to separate the good designs from the bad ones as all are unique in their own special way. But all of this certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t any guidelines you can trace to hit at least a standardized thought of a complete web layout.

It is important to get your facts straight right here. This makes it a lot more interesting just knowing the fact that negative space isn’t exactly a bad thing. Some designers get a bit picky about filling up their website with anything they can find. The major issue with that ideology is sometimes half of the stuff they use as fillers seem to be misplaced and come off as “trying too hard”. They add in more features, unnecessary imagery and maybe even content or just plain take up the idea to make the page smaller.

Cramping stuff in sure does come off as highly informative to some viewers but to others it might seem like there is just too much to handle, it gets confusing as to what is what and where is this. Why make your visitors go through all of that?

Just remember when designing a webpage layout that it involves you to put an extra effort in picking up diverse objects to arrange them in such a distinct manner to make it appear to be functional, logical and a tad bit attractive.

So, How Does that Affect My Page?

The point of a page is to represent any business or person etc. at their best; their abilities up to the mark. And without at least some negative space there is no way a site can meet up to its mark. The presence of it is significant in the layout of the page because it is what defines the clarity in the designer’s work. The way we cannot simply exclude salt from a recipe, although its presence is necessary to bring out the real flavor of a dish; similarly it is absolutely impossible to exclude the white space from this recipe as all the other elements on the page will fall in uniformity. And the result is obvious that the page will become overcrowded and stuffy and eventually will cause several visitors to abandon the site regardless of how informative the content might be.

Is More Always Better than Less?

There is no way to prove the existence of one statement being a “proper” one and that you now must live on as a theory. No, not really, since every individual is entitled to have a self-generated opinion; the empty space could be taken negatively or positively but that is an entirely different argument on its own.

In the end, it is really all about how you tend to put that empty space to use and not about the quantity of it. If you really want to improve your layout design, then that means you must analyze the current amount of empty space and measure the appropriateness to be able to design and decide how to balance out the space that has too much from the one that has too little.

The Bottom-Line is …..

Just like sleep is to humans, same is negative space; it is a healthy attribute but an overdose of it can be harmful. And the only way to keep a healthy standard is to maintain a balance.

The only way it can be balanced is by adding in negative space in sufficient proportions. With the help of some good web pages as reference while you are working on the negative spacing of yours, this way you can see what the result should look like. Don’t forget to add in some new ideas from here and there and keep practicing on it all; practice makes you perfect right? Once you have aced the perfection of white spaces your web pages will be irresistible!