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How should one modulate white space within an image, poster, or a logo? Some people say that there should be a certain amount of white space available within an image to make it appealing, while others say that white space should not be used.

  • What would be the best option to control the white space?
  • Are there any guidelines regarding the use of white space in design?
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The amount of whitespace is always directly related to neighbouring elements. If the content is very busy (lots of visual information) you should use more whitespace around your logo/image/text. That will isolate it from the surrounding visual information thus making it visible.

Check the everyday leaflets you probably get in your mailbox. They're usually very busy and contain so much information that you can hardly find anything. Even though they have almost everything.

Go to a shoe shop that sells discount shoes. They have loaded shelves of shoes and some may be nice, but you can't really see them. Go to a posh shoe store and they put every pair on their own stand to make it visible.

That is effective use of whitespace.

How much of it really?

when it comes to logos/type/images whitespace is most pleasing when there is a multifactor of it compared to the content. If you have an X millimetres wide logotype symbol, then you will probably have X*n or X*phi*n of whitespace around it. Phi being the golden section factor. This will make it natural and not intruding or excessive.

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It depends on the media that you are using, the audience and the amount of information that you have to display, and the relevance that you want to give.

More a page is cluttered, and less is easy to distinguish in a text a particular word or phrase or in a graphic a specific elements.

I normally make the example of newspapers and adverts in fashion magazines especially when I think about the "audience" factor.

Compare the The Sun (english tabloid about scandals or petty news) the sun

with a fashion advertise of Channel Channel

The first it is a newspaper, and its target is the common people. They always fill the page as much as possible not leaving much white space available.

Instead Channel targets are the rich people, where you can see that there is no message at all, leaving a lot of white space around the photo,the product and the logo.

Each one of them has a niche that they target, the standard of cheap things it is "clutter how much information is possible (with things like the advertise "save 5.20 pounds" in the sun image), while white-space permits to focus more and give more importance or relevance on subject depending on the amount of white-space around the info/graphic.

Another example quite common are the graphic design & photography books. you can see that white-space is largely used to exalt the graphic that it is showing.

Arts and Design Magazine

The only people that I ever head that "white space should not be used" were clients that wanted more things in a short amount of space, thinking that white-space it is the equivalent of "empty space", which is not.

As a clean web/graphic designer I love the minimalist approach of the architect Lars von Trier "Less is More" (less design means:more exaltation of the few elements displayed, enhance of aesthetic, more readability).

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+1 for white space is not empty space –  Jaips Jan 17 '11 at 10:24
    
+1 for what @Jaips said. –  Random O'Reilly Dec 18 '13 at 0:43
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