What is whitespace?
In web design, we refer to whitespace as the negative space in between and around elements on a page. A page element is anything on the web page, such as the navigation bar, a block of text, an image, the header or footer. It’s also the space left between page elements – padding between paragraphs and images. It’s the space that is left empty on the page.
A common misconception is that whitespace is always white. It can be any colour as long as it remains free of any imagery or text.
Why is it important in web design?
Whitespace gives “breath” to a page. It gives the user a break between page elements. This allows visitors to more easily focus on each element and process the information being provided. There may be many elements on your page, which can lead to a cluttered and overwhelming feeling for your visitors. Incorporating whitespace into the design also allows us to provide some organization for all these elements.
It also helps to bring focus to different areas. A great example would be where your company logo is situated. There should always be a decent amount of whitespace around your logo in order to pull attention to that location, and keep the logo visually distinctive and quickly identifiable.
Is whitespace relevant to my web design?
There is a spectrum associated with whitespace. There is always a minimum amount that designers should use with any website, but there is also an entire style of web design based heavily on the whitespace concept. It is called Minimalist Design.
The basic philosophy around Minimalist Design is that “less is more.” This pushes us as designers, and you as the resource of information about your business’ services, programs, and products to really focus on the message you are trying to convey rather than display everything you possibly can about any given topic.
Here are some wonderful examples of minimalist design. They illustrate perfectly how saying less actually says more: