My husband and I were talking about stress last night and it got me thinking about white space in graphic design.
As humans, as business owners, even as artists sometimes, the pressure is there.
To do it all.
Tell it all.
Know it all.
Show everything at once in this little space.
Condensed an entire message into a single frame.
Our lives must contain all the things.
Meet all the needs.
Look all the ways.
Be all the versions of ourselves at once.
We behave as if there is no ROOM for anything else.
Time. Space. Literal inches on a screen.
I’m tense just writing all of that.
What I see is that a lot of business owners are so set on getting their message across instantly, that they compromise good design in its place, and the result is the opposite of what they want.
I understand why.
You’ve been told you have seconds to grab attention.
I have this fact on my website myself.
It’s not false.
But you’re doing it wrong.
Yes, you have seconds. But that never means you assault someone’s eyes with an overload of information.
Less is more.
White space is your best friend when it comes to grabbing attention.
For the kids in the back: what is white space?
In graphic design speak, it’s quite literal.
It’s the room you leave untouched by text, images, sometimes even color.
It’s the negative space that allows the rest of the design to be noticed, focused on, and appreciated.
It’s the silent, background support that asks nothing for itself, but bolsters up the subject matter so strongly that, without it, the entire composition falls apart.
It’s absolutely necessary for great art of any kind.
Just like in a song, the silence can speak as loudly as the music.
Simplicity is key.
One single attention-grabber is all you need.
Much like a headline – it has one job – and that’s to get someone to take the next step.
Your header, your posts, your website all have functionality. They’re more than informative. They serve to intrigue and delight and gently point the right person to the next natural step in the process.
But no single graphic has the power to carry the entire load.
White space accomplishes a TON:
- It draws the eye to the main point
- It keeps the composition clear and clean, easy to read
- It’s calming, which makes people want to stay
For whatever reason, a lot of clients want to cram all kinds of information into a small frame as if it’s the only possible chance they have to convey information.
It’s such a lie.
By cramming it all together, and over-complicating the design, you get:
- Too many things to look at
- No hierarchy of information
- Off-putting and anxiety-inducing clutter
Which means your audience has a hard time understanding what the heck you’re talking about, you look crazy-unprofessional, and so they leave.
The exact opposite result that you wanted.
Isn’t this also true in life?
We leave no space to breathe, when the truth is we’d be healthier and happier if we did.
We cram it all in, when the truth is we’d enjoy it more if we slowed down.
We try to do more and more, when the truth is being more is so much more powerful.
We don’t say no, when the truth is one more ‘yes’ is going to make us cry.
We think we only have right now, when the truth is it can wait.
We fear missing our one chance, when the truth is chances come along all the time
Here’s a quick little litmus test of how well your business and life are doing:
Are your graphics designed with more than 3 elements in total?
Because, as my favorite coach Becky says, “how you do one thing is how you do everything.”
So if your graphics are ugly, cluttered, or functioning in desperation, your life and business probably are too.
Where do you need to add white space in your designs?
How about your personal life?
How about your business day-to-day?
It all flows together.
And if your designer is pushing for more white space, take it as a sign from the universe that you need to slow the hell down.
We all have resistance.
Turn the tables and resist adding more – anywhere.