3 Ways to Maximize Impact with Space
by Max Liberty-Point
Write Comment July 31st, 2013 Design · Tips
As a designer, I’m constantly figuring out how to use space. Sometimes I’m restricted to a tiny area, other times the workable space is limitless. Whatever the circumstance, there is a challenge to using a space correctly and doing so allows for maximum impact in any medium. And let’s not discriminate; even non-designers deal with space in their word documents and PowerPoints, so I want to offer three tips for anyone interested in capitalizing on composition:
1. The Golden Rule Ratio
There is actually a remarkable spacing rule found right in nature. It’s called the “Golden Ratio” and it can be traced onto everything from plants to seashells to the galaxy to our own DNA. Expressed numerically, the ratio is 1:1.618 and when some of man’s most famous works are measured, this ratio is evident.
An example of a way you can apply the Golden Ratio is to achieve ultimate readability through textual line spacing. If a body of text is using a font size of 16pt, multiply that by 1.618 and you have your optimal line height, 25.888 or 26pt.
2. Less is More
The use of empty space, or “white space” as it’s called in the design world, is often unnoticed to the average viewer. And though it might seem like a result of not using all the space provided, white space actually allows for a more impactful message. When used correctly, white space can add emphasis to a subject, it can balance a layout, it can improve readability, and it can express sophistication and elegance. Take a look at Apple.com’s landing page and notice the aforementioned characteristics.
Try using white space in your next PowerPoint presentation to stress a point or to add emphasis to a subject.
3. Negative Can Be Positive
A technique that has always had a profound effect on me when I see it is the deliberate use of negative space. Negative space, in design, is the space around the main subject of the visual. Using this space effectively can send a clever message while still remaining visually simple and easy on the eyes. Also, the viewer can feel a sense of accomplishment for noticing the use of negative space, which adds a positive association to your business or publication. See if you can spot the use of negative space in these example logos.
While this technique takes some artistic skill, consider it when conceptualizing a logo or your next advertisement. Those who notice will be delightfully surprised. If you can’t achieve this effect on your own, perhaps you can hire someone who can.