Using whitespace well

Using whitespace well

I’ve recently had several conversations with clients about whitespace. I find myself frequently having conversations about whitespace and it’s effective use. Most of us know that whitespace is the space between the different elements on a page – text, images, paragraphs, etc.

Whitespace is, in my somewhat less than humble opinion, one of the most important elements of design. It is also one of the least understood and perhaps the most underrated. I can’t tell you the number of times I have clients fight to get more text on a site or print media. I have to tell them that less is more.

Here are some examples of whitespace usage:

Not enough space between lines

Not enough space between lines

In the example above there is not enough space between the lines of text making it very hard to read. Additionally, the psychological impact (this is a subconscious and subtle effect that is almost never considered in design >> future post idea) is one of feeling cramped and claustrophobic.

Too much space between lines

Too much space between lines



Obviously there’s too much space above and user’s eye is sent adrift so the message is lost. Never a good thing.

Just right!

Just right!



As Goldilocks said, “This one’s just right”. Spacing is good so the eye is relaxed and flows well over the text and the message is received – goal met.

Above are examples of whitespace in use in text. How about for overall design? Here are two examples, one good and one bad:


Beautiful design

Beautiful design








Terrible use of white space

Terrible use of white space




To wrap it all up, whitespace is a good thing. It is a critical if oft overlooked design element. Use more!!