Design. That all-important six letter word. Design weaves itself into every aspect of all industries, from designing cities and public spaces, to automobiles, and, of course, to web design. The perfect web design is the ultimate mark of an expert designer.
Design is more than just a pretty looking website. It’s about a designing a pretty website (or app) that guides users by design alone. A good designer makes a gorgeous website with pretty images and easy navigation; an excellent designer does that, plus leverages every pixel on a monitor to the hilt. An excellent designer turns font, color, gradient, placement of text, symbols, and even empty space, or as it is known in design, White Space.
White Space (not to be confused with the programming “language,” Whitespace) refers to the empty, or negative space between characters and visual elements on a web site. White space may seem like a waste of valuable screen territory to the outsider, but designers know that effectively using White Space in web design is the mark of a master.
“Negative” Space isn’t Negative Design!
One of the fundamental factors of visual design (i.e. web design) is creating a product that doesn’t overwhelm or confuse the human eye. While the eye is an organ of infinite complexity, it can get fatigued or confused by an over-designed space; remember, your website is the face of your business. It tells people who you are – designing an excellent website is a must!
Knowing how to effectively use White Space in web design takes years of experience and practice. To many a layman, White Space seems to be just a passive background, but design experts have been arguing for years that empty space is, in and of itself, a dynamic element. The negative space between the various portions and characters of a website is helps to define other elements of your website:
- It ranks your content by telling users where to look and where not to look;
- It provides easy navigation by guiding the eye from one element to the next and by clearly delineating foreground from the background;
- White space has been demonstrated to improve reading contribution by parsing text into legible strings;
- It provides a counterbalance to the business of everything else on your website;
- It has even been argued that White Space is necessary to make a brand truly pop
Cosmetics brands are the frequent example trotted out here, and with good reason. Most cosmetics brands use negative space to make their brand or logo pop out of a screen. Just think of the last cosmetics commercial you watched – empty background, a model, and the brand right? Bet you remember the brand, too!
Appropriate and effective use of White Space is one of the hardest aspects of web design to master. To the uninitiated, White Space fades in the background (yea, I went there), but to a web design company, its 50% of your design.
White Space and Branding
In the above list, we briefly touched on how cosmetics use White Space to make their brand pop. Branding and positioning is quite frequently one of the hardest marketing hurdles for web entrepreneurs to overcome. While SDI is first and foremost a design and development company, we are also marketers; we see marketing, design and development as an all-inclusive package.
All three chapters in the lifecycle of a website or app intertwine with one another – they are not truly distinct stages. Good marketing starts with design and development, and good design and development help promote marketing. Marketing conversations, such as where to position one’s brand, must begin prior to development.
White Space is a great example of just this point. While we referenced cosmetics earlier, brands have been using negative space to lend an air of class to a brand for decades. We have been conditioned to associate white space with high-end products, though it is unclear as to why this is.
Whether or not we became accustomed to it through ads, or it just has to do with how we process visual information, the one thing that is clear: White Space is a fundamental and vital part of proper web design. Don’t believe me? Look at a starbucks cup and logo – tons of empty space and that one bright green mermaid.
Or look at Google – only a few design teams use White Space and brand positioning as effectively as the Google team. In fact, Google uses White Space better than most designers out there. From the bold, electric blue links to the clearly delineated chunks of text – even to the positioning of information vs returned links. All of it exemplifies how negative space should be used.
All projects crafted at SDI receive special attention from the Tech Director himself, Raj Srivastav. Raj has over 15 years of in depth project experience and customer insights. Our team, drawn from Apple, Cisco and other tech giants, has been working on website design and development practically since the beginning of the “Net”. We pride ourselves on a pricing structure built for SMB and startups. If you would like to know more about our process, contact us now!