Design: Space

How can you experiment with empty space in your project? Notice how the empty space works to bring balance and clarity to the form and content.

White space, or empty space, is a compositional technique that reduces clutter to help achieve readability, visibility, balance, and contrast. When setting type, organizing information, or designing for print or web, you can use empty space to establish harmony and clean compositions that better organize and treat your content.

In the early 1960s Julian and Helmut launched an ad campaign for Volkswagon's Beetle that identified the car company with a modern and functional brand ethos. Their advertisement "Think Small" used two colors, a simple Swiss inspired three-column grid, modest sans-serif type, and white space to achieve a powerful statement about VW and their new compact car (Cramsie, 2010, p. 251-251).

Think Small. Image from Wikipedia.

On an off white background a VW beetle rests as if off to the distance, creating a sense of depth. The words "Think Small" as well as a short list of some of the benefits of owning a small vehicle sit on the bottom of the page set to not disrupt the grid. There is nothing superfluous about the advertisement. The content— or lack thereof— speaks for itself, while the design contrasts with the baroque and luxurious designs that were associated with automobiles and car advertisements of the time.

↪ For further resources reference Mark Boulton via A List Apart; Garr Reynolds via Garr Reynolds; Think Brownstone via Think Brownstone; and Ellen Lupton via Ellen Lupton.