For me, the proper use of open space in media is like a carb in Sandton: so incredibly rare that when you do encounter it, your mouth drops open in shock. And you sometimes also drool a bit.
This is because many clients (and their creatives) see open space as wasted space. A misuse of valuable real estate. An opportunity to pack the gaps with as much messaging as can be roughly shoehorned into those gaping inches. And, as a result, within that noisy milieu, open space really stands out.
Take a look at these beautiful sites:
http://tiffanymarkman.co.za [Oh, why the heck not?]
That’s open space, used properly.
And what does it achieve? Since you asked, open space provides visual breathing room. It enables readability and digestibility. Scannability. Brand positioning for sophistication and elegance. Content prioritisation.
It shows restraint. Control. Balance.
It proves to the viewer that the messaging is undeniably strong enough to stand alone. That it’s confident. Harmonious. Unafraid. And all of those things are good for a brand. Any brand.
Read this beautiful explanation, from Protoypr.io:
“White space or negative space is simply unmarked space in the design. It is the space between the layouts, lines of paragraphs, between paragraphs, between different UI elements and so on. It can be of any color, texture, patterns or even a background image. White space in design composition is the same as the use of Silence in musical composition. Without proportionate use of Silence, music is unstructured; some may call it noise. Similarly, without white space, design is … difficult to consume.”
To sum up, if you’re a media client (or a creative), take this little rant onboard. Resist the temptation to eliminate ‘negative’ space; instead, embrace the use of openness. Between words. Sentences. Paragraphs. And in general.
* This post originally appeared in The Media magazine.