Less is always more
White space is a concept that seems to strike terror into the very being of the average advertiser. But once you move past the resulting ‘cold sweats’ you’ll see that it can actually be quite liberating.
So often there is just way too much information crammed into the space available. Like squashing a hundred barely legible words into a space the size of a business card or using seventeen small images when one good one will do. A web or magazine page with reams of continuous copy will invariably have the reader clicking away as soon as they arrive.
The bottom line is that your advert or website shouldn’t be an exercise in torture for the reader. Don’t expect them to wade through 15 paragraphs just to determine exactly what it is you are offering.
Some basic guidelines for good use of space:
- First you need to figure out what the aim or focus of the design is. Select one thing – either an image or word – to carry your message. This should constitute about 30 percent of your space and is what will draw attention to your ad and ultimately get people to look at it.
- Now add the supporting cast: text images etc. Keeping in mind, at all times, that less is more. Copy must be short simple and to the point and should fill about 50 percent of the available space.
- The penultimate design element is your call to action. This is where you get the person you just persuaded to look at your ad to do something. Depending on your medium (website, print, advert etc) this could be to either call, click, text message etc. A scant 10 percent or less is all that’s needed for this section.
- And finally… The remainder of the design should be space. Space to breathe, space to exist, just plain space.
Rather than seeing them as hard and fast rules use these guidelines to steer your design in the right direction. It’s not about how much you can cram into the space you have available. It’s about creating a space that draws people in and makes them want to ‘get’ your message.