Graphic design projects are almost always a balancing act. Clients want to be sure they tell prospects everything. We want to be sure the final piece is visually interesting enough to attract attention and drive prospects to action. Clients want clutter and we struggle to protect the white space, because we know it is precious.

Look at the two versions of this camp advertisement. I didn’t completely redesign the the ad, but simply removed some of the content to make a point (There are many things I would change if we were really going to run this ad). Which ad are you more likely to read?

examples of white space

White space isn’t always white. It can be just an area without text or graphics which gives the design several things:

  • Greater legibility – Because the text isn’t crammed into every inch of available space, headlines and key points jump off the page.
  • Feeling of luxury – A cluttered design tends to look cheap. It is as if they are saying they could never afford to create another one, so they have to cram every single word, idea and image into this one.
  • More emphasis – I don’t know if the heated pools are really the most important thing to put in the ad, but it definitely stands out more in the second design. The contact information, logically located at the bottom, is easier to find even though it is  in a simpler font, because it is not completely surrounded.
  • Leave the prospect wanting more – Give them a reason to call you.  The call to action in the first advertisement seems a little silly. I am pretty sure they have told me everything I could possibly want to know. There really is no reason to call

Whether it is a flyer, brochure, direct mail piece or web page, remember that white space is the “nothing” which provides a contrast to the “something” you want people to pay attention to. A little space makes you most important ideas stand out.

Architect and interior designer, Frank Lloyd Wright  said that “Space is the breath of art.”  Use white space to let your prospects breathe and take in your message. You do not have to tell people everything in the first glance.  Focus on one or two really important elements, and if they are interested they will look for more.  If they aren’t, no amount of clutter is going to change that.