1. Layout and Composition: the grid, the rule of thirds, hierarchy, rhythm, unity, contrast and positive/negative space, white space.
  2. Typography: fonts, using different fonts together, adjusting font (using kerning, tracking and leading), using type.
  3. Color: color theory, using a color story/palette, primary, secondary and tertiary colors
  4. Line and Shape
  5. Photography
  6. Illustration and texture

That’s right! We are on the LAST of the layout and composition series within this 31 day look at graphic design for food bloggers. Whew! After we talk about what the heck white space is, we can move on to fun things like type (!) and color (!). Okay, now let’s focus…

So what is white space, and by the way, weren’t we just talking about space in the last post?? Yes, we were. But white space is slightly different. White space is all about giving each element of your design just a little room (or a lot of room, depending on the design) to breathe. It’s about looking at all the spaces in between things and adjusting them to add clarity and keep the design from looking too squished together… or too spread apart.

While researching for this post I came across this great resource from CoSchedule! I really like how they sum things up and give examples for the concepts we’ve talked about here. One thing they say about white space really does make sense:

We naturally make associations with things that are next to each other and separate things that are far away.

So things that are closer to each other are related, and things that are separated, are separate. Make sense? White space can be used for text too, not just images. You can use white space and hierarchy together to create a clear sense of order and help the reader’s eye be drawn to what you want them to see first.

white-spaceI added the pink lines to illustrate the spacing between these different elements. Notice the difference in spacing between #1 and #3. The close proximity of the title to the date shows that the title and date are related, but the menu bar (#1) and the Title of the post are slightly less related. Notice the other spaces and relationships… they illustrate progressive levels of association. Another example is how the wide the space is between the main content and the sidebar (#9). The main content is not necessarily related to the sidebar content… which tends to have ads, other posts, social links, ect. So this was a great example of a blog with good white space. The spacing between things makes sense and it makes the relationships between elements clear to us. 

So what happens when there is not enough white space, or just plain bad spacing. Here’s some examples from The Classic Inc blog:


Things just look a little too cramped, don’t they? I don’t want to “trash” other blogs, because no one is in blogging to become a critic and it’s important to keep this community supportive, so the examples are a little bit disconnected from our topic at hand (these are from print, rather then web/blog design), but I think they illustrate the point well.

Here’s another one:


With this example we can see that white space also helps avoid chaos in a visual design. This is similar to the positive/negative space idea, but white space is more about giving space to each element, room to breath.

Join me for tomorrows post: Type Part 1!


The Classic Inc

Blogs mentioned:

Girl Versus Dough