Skip links

Space: The Designer’s Final (Vital) Frontier

Besides the fact that this post begins with a Star Trek quote, space really is a vital element of design and website design. There are so many stages of websites on the web right now, ranging anywhere from hip and modern to outdated and stuck in the early days of web design. It’s these older sites or older design mentalities on home-built sites that really need to focus on the idea of balancing space.

From a flat, 2-dimensional design standpoint, there are positive and negative shapes/space. The two identifiable shapes are the figure and the ground.

  • The figure refers to the positive shape- the enclosed item that catches your eye
  • The ground is the negative space/shape, an open area or everything around the object.

Balancing this powerful and complementary figure/ground relationship can create unity, make the perceived image clearer and add interest to an image.

Look at the positive and negative shapes on your site. Chances are, most are in text or photo boxes, so it will be important to look at the “breathing room” these shapes allow. Is everything crammed together and does this produce a less-than-calming viewer experience? If your business deals with anything that provokes the ideas of clean, calm, modern, fresh, etc., your site should have plenty of negative space. However, there still needs to be a balance between your positive and negative space. If everything is too spaced out, you lose the benefit of proximity and content will no longer appear to be as connected and your site might slip into the arena of boredom.

Using your space effectively doesn’t mean cramming every detail onto every inch of space. Well organized websites will offer the appropriate information in logical places so that each page isn’t overwhelmed. Text and content is very important, but it needs to be balanced with visuals and displayed in a quick and eye-pleasing format. Make sure the viewers see what they want to see and it will invite them to read what you have to offer.  Interested in a consultation? Fill out the website consultation form on our site, or follow along with our weekly Web Design Wednesday series!