A long time ago, I was in AP European History class in high school and it was the hardest class to study for. Not only was the subject matter sometimes a bit dull (except for parts about battles) but the textbook was incredibly hard to read. The lines of text would blur together as my eyes watered and I slowly fell asleep.
The same thing happens with websites I sometimes visit. The content is amazing and the images are breathtaking – but the text is hard to sit down and read. The lines start to blur – but this time, instead of falling asleep, I’ll go to another site while promising myself I’ll come back to read the page. I never do.
I just bounced that site.
Negative space is the area between content (such as lines of text or the space between the text on the image and the edge of that image. It give your viewer room to breathe. It makes your content easy to digest. Essentially, makes you look professional.
The number 1 rule to follow when designing digital content or your website is to increase negative space. Want to make sure you’re not adding too much? Squint. If the lines of text start blending in too much, spread them out a bit (this is typically called line-height and leading).
On a site? Users seem to be getting accustomed to scrolling – so don’t worry about the height of a website page. Add negative space.
On a digital ad? Since you’re limited on space, go back in and edit out excess information. For example: pay-per-click ads might not need the promotional code or disclaimer on the graphic.
Depending on the typeface you use, you might also need to add space between the letters (this is sometimes called tracking). You want the space between the letters to be even – not too far apart and not too close because both can make the website hard to read.
When can you ask your designer to play with negative space and text? Logos, headlines (especially main ones) or specific text on ads. Make sure that you’re still able to read the text and test it with others with fresh eyes (who haven’t seen the design at all).
Need help deciphering whether your site needs more negative space? Hop on a free call today!