Think Negative To Build A Strong & Compelling Web Design

Whoever came up with this quote could be anything but a web designer. It is because web designers need to work with both positive as well as negative elements while designing a website.

The positive elements include images, contents, video, navigation, etc. The negative element is the blank or rather the white space that you must have seen in most of the websites. At times, web designers tend to use unnecessary positive elements and stuff the website with jargon. Negative space, on the other hand, makes the design look more structured and authentic.

Negative Space in Web Design

Therefore, ‘negative’ thinking usually leads to a creative idea for web designers like you and me. It creates the much-needed distance between the web design elements. No wonder, it is considered as one of the most crucial visual components in web design. In case you need to know more about it, give this blog a read to understand what negative space is, its significance and how to implement the space in your web design. Let’s get started.

Negativity is the enemy of creativity.

-David Lynch

What Is Negative or White Space?

Negative space is the area on your website, which does not have any text, content, image or video. Simply put, it is just the blank space of the website and is usually used to separate the positive elements in that page. It is often known as white space.

White Space

If you want to succeed in the field of web designing, you must not overlook the significance of negative space at any cost. The best thing about negative space is that it adds symmetry to the entire layout of your website. Appropriate blank space will make your website look clean and your visitors will be able to scan the website easily.

What Happens If Your Website Doesn’t Have Negative Space?

Imagine being in a small dark room with no windows and doors. There isn’t any space for you to breathe. Wouldn’t you feeling claustrophobic even at the thought of getting stuck somewhere you can’t breathe? Websites without negative space somewhat convey the same vibe since the white space creates the virtual breathing space for the viewers.

Here’s what happens if you don’t leave a black space in your web design.

No Breaks in the Page

Let’s say you want to read the accommodation guide on a website, ChesterTourist.com. Now you find the guide filling up the entire web page without any breaks. There are no paragraphs or white space in between the texts. Would it be easier for you to follow the guide then? Obviously, no. You may end up having a strain in your eyes and finally leave the website for your own good. See the image below.

No Breaks in the Page

White space prevents your target audience from distracting. The readers will be able to identify the purpose of the content or the page easily. Say your page wants the reader to hit the call-to-action button. What if your visitors are unable to hit the button since your web page is overwhelmed with jargon?

Your Primary Message Goes Unnoticed

Let’s say you have designed a page on your website which compels your readers to apply discount codes at the time of checkout. Your readers may not even notice the central message if your website is overwhelmed with positive web design elements. You need to guide your readers to the central message of your web page. Negative space will help you do that easily just like the image below.

The negative space will help your readers focus on specific terms and develop a strong emotion with the purpose of that page. Use the negative space effectively and you will make the contents on your website readable in no time. Most importantly, you don’t have to change the font style or sizes to attract your readers to the content. All you have to do is make the right use of negative space.

Your Primary Message Goes Unnoticed

Lack of Direction in Your Web Page

Every web page consists of a motive. Say you have designed a website on plagiarism checker tools. You want your readers to read the first fold of the page, go to a different page which actually has the plagiarism checker and ultimately check their contents for plagiarism on that tool. Too many positive elements will make the readers confused and they may not be able to follow the pattern as per your instructions.

Lack of Direction in Your Web Page

Use negative space at the right places and guide your readers accordingly, as shown in the image above. Do you want them to scroll down for more information? Do you want your readers to look at certain elements specifically? The right use of negative space will provide a solid direction to the flow of your web page.

Now there is a thin line between negative spaces and empty spaces that act passively. The former enhances the structure of your website, while the latter ruins it. Take a look at the image below.

Negative Space in Web Design

It is the website design of a paint shop. As you can see, the web design consists of properly placed negative space. But, it also contains some passive empty space. This empty space can make your readers confused about whether the website has glitches or if it has incomplete information.

Thus, empty passive spaces create an offset visual element. Simply put, it is better to avoid passive spaces since they make your website look unprofessional and incomplete.

Top 5 Proven Ways to Use Negative Space for Creating Compelling Websites

Implementing negative space in a website’s layout is not as easy as it sounds to be. You need to have a practised eye to come up with thoughtful ideas to use the negative space on your website. You can even ask for programming help during the development of your website to make sure the negative space helps you highlight the main message of that page. Check out the top 7 ways you should use negative space to support the overall designs of your web page.

Negative Space Need Not Be White

It is a myth that negative space can only be white in colour. You can use anything from red to black as long as the colour does not violate the theme of your website. Check out the colour of Apple.com and you will find the negative space in their websites in the form of white and light grey

Negative Space in Web Design

Negative Space May Be Right around the Corner

Negative spaces are present in almost all the logos, banners and art pieces that you may come across in your everyday lives. Whether you are looking for a coding guide for beginners.

Negative Space in Web Design

It Is Always Better to Avoid Monotony

Have you noticed the layout of images on Pinterest? All the images are of different sizes, right? It is because whether you are using negative space or blocks of images, the right balance is crucial rather than maintaining symmetry in the page. Negative spaces will work only if you use it with well-defined positive spaces.

Negative Space in Web Design

Keep It Simple

Do not use the negative spaces at any random part of your website design. Arrange the website elements carefully to let it connect with your readers emotionally. The negative space, along with other positive elements of the web page, should be able to compel your visitors to take the action you want them to.

Negative Space in Web Design

Layer the Elements according To Their Importance

Use the elements of your web design along with balanced negative space according to their importance. For example, you can keep the key messages right at the top of your web page and use the negative space to guide your reader to navigate smoothly across the page. The negative space will act as a guide to your reader’s eyes.

Some people consider the negative space as an afterthought of web designing. It is, in fact, one of the most strategic methods to enhance the visibility, flow, readability and depth of your website.

Negative Space in Web Design

What Are The Different Types Of Negative Space In Web Design?

Now that you know about the different techniques to use negative space in web design, let’s discuss the two types of negative space that you can make use of.

Micro Negative Space

The space present within the smaller segments of your page is termed as micro negative space. It includes the margins and spaces between letters, characters or words. Say you have planned to use an image on your webpage and you have also used a caption below it. Thus, the space between your image and caption is the negative micro space.

You can use negative micro space in typographic designs since it improves the readability and legibility of your texts. The spaces between the blocks of content on your webpage should be tight enough to fit the negative micro space. Do not add too much line-height between your paragraphs and heading to make sure the negative space doesn’t make the contents look crowded.

Check out this website from BuzzFeed below to understand the right use of negative micro space. As you can see, the website consists of many contents and yet the layout doesn’t confuse the readers.

Micro Negative Space

Macro Negative Space

The spaces present between the major web design elements is known as negative macro space. These spaces are wider and hence are often instantly recognised. The space between the headers, content, navigation and footer areas consist of the negative macro space. Macro negative space is also used in the background, sidebars and other parts of the web page.

The negative macro space helps you separate and connect the different web design elements effectively. For example, the wider space will help you separate the elements while the narrower space will help you connect them. All in all, the negative macro space will make your webpage look compact and keep all the contents of the page united.

Here is a landing page of Dropbox which clearly shows the amazing use of the negative macro space. As you can see, there is a significant negative space around the call-to-actions. Also, check out how the navigational items are placed within the header due to the smart use of the negative macro space.

Macro Negative Space

Examples of Negative Space In Web Design

I have crafted this list of amazing examples of negative space used in different niches of website. Have a look at all the websites and you will see how the negative space provides

  • Clear visual hierarchy
  • A balanced layout
  • Effective typography
The Big Landscape

The Big Landscape’s interface is minimalist following the principles of clear visual hierarchy, negative space, good readability, and aesthetic pleasure from visual perception.

The Big Landscape

Hobson Bernardino + Davis LLP

Trusted Advisors uses the white space on the homepage of its website to highlight the central message effectively. From the logo to the navigation, everything is clearly visible and understandable due to the smart use of white space.

Hobson Bernardino + Davis LLP

HDLive 2012

HDLive 2012 shows the perfectly balanced use of negative space between fonts and headers. The texts also consist of plenty of line-height and contrasting colours against the background.

HDLive 2012

Big City Guide

Big City Guide shows the creative use of negative space on macro level where the designer applies a background photo and it plays the role of negative space.

Big City Guide

Wrapping Up,

The negative space can make all the difference between robust web design and poor web design. Use negative space smartly throughout the website to make it interesting enough to hold the attention of your visitors. Using negative space is all about maintaining a perfect balance between the different elements in your web design.

Like it? Share it.

8 Comments

  1. In today’s marketing climate, consumers often rely on their visual connection to a company’s website to assess its credibility and relevance. Within seconds of scanning your homepage, visitors are deciding how trustworthy and valuable the information is and whether they want to explore your business further.

  2. thanks for sharing your thoughts, neagtive space looks great in lots of uses not just web design i.e. photography

  3. I Must say that I’m So Proud of the original publisher this contents and photos, this is the most perfect articles I have seen lately online.

  4. I Must say that I’m So Proud of the original publisher this contents and photos, this is the most perfect articles I have seen lately online.

  5. I perceived investigating articles posted on this site. They are astounding and has a broad measure of fundamental data.

  6. great content! I especially like how you gave examples of negative space to clearly understand it.

  7. Thank you for posting such a great blog! I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this interesting and knowledgeable article.

  8. Wow!! Great article, Wonderful information, I like this post. Thank you so much for sharing nice information with us. Thanks again, keep it up…..

    R

Leave a Reply to Vhelpedu Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *