Two decades ago, I entered the world of design full of creative ideas and armed with more than my share of confidence. I was enamored with the smell of print shops and the glow of pixels on a screen, and was anxious to fill empty spaces with images and type.
Somewhere along the way, however, I learned that the most important element of design is white space. Some call it negative space, but that's a misnomer. It's really positive space.
White space is that unmarked area that surrounds and separates images and lines of type, allowing them to exist in the first place. It's not necessarily white, but it's open range. It's the protective barrier that holds back clutter and chaos and allows important things to be seen and important concepts to be understood. It's what separates upscale branding from junk advertising.
With printing costs at a premium, some see white space as extravagant. I see it as essential. It consists of nothing, yet it relates to everything. It quietly declares that the message itself is worth more than the space it inhabits.