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Importance of Negative Spacing in Web Design

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Negative spacing is sometimes called white spacing also. But, it has to be pointed that negative space may not always be white. There is also no hard and fast rule that it should be any specific solid color. The difference between negative and white spacing is quite blurred owing to which web designers, especially the novice ones, get easily confused. However, in simple terms, negative spacing can be defined as the blank space between or around the elements that are used in a website to make it clutter-free as well as easy to attract user’s attention to its main content.

If negative spacing is used as a wise tool in the designs, it can yield great results. It’s actually an intelligent design concept which if adopted carefully can help define the positive content of the website. To be specific, suppose there are two characters showed in a website with some blank space between them. Now, this blank space can be referred to as the negative spacing and the figures that are used there can be called the positive spacing. If observed closely, negative spacing helps us define the positive space. If the blank space was not used, the two figures couldn’t have stood out from the background.

This particular style has got a wide acceptance and is being considered as a fashionable approach among the logo designers lately. While using negative spacing style in designing, you have to ensure that the ratio between negative and positive spacing is 50:50. This is not a strict rule though. Even with the use of 90% negative spacing, you can come up with an amazing design for your site and can make it unique in a way.

In the modern day designs, you can easily identify that the abundant usage of negative spacing is often associated with the most luxurious brands in the market, i.e., Apple or Chanel etc. The basic reason behind this is quite simple: the content is considered as the most precious element. When used wisely, negative spacing can really add a lot of confidence to the designs. When your website is jam-packed with content, each and every unit desires attention. This in turn makes the visitors confused and easily distracted. So, if you need to get the users focused on to what you exactly want them to, it is essential to make use of negative spacing judiciously in your design.

Methods Adopted in Website Designing

There are many unique ways to make use of negative spacing in website designing. The default areas are margins and paddings. The major difficulty is that we usually don’t pay much attention to negative spacing in case of margins and paddings. However, when we start focusing on it in practice, we realize that any slight misalignment to these portions may lead to total distortion of the design architecture and the content flow. Using negative space in such a way that elements stand out from margin and padding and at the same time, create a unified impact in the design is important.

The negative spacing also serves as a framing tool. By following the principles of contiguity, negative spacing can be effectively used to create some of the most elementary features of the content architecture in web pages. Three of the major features to be considered in this regard are:

1) Prominence

Leave liberal blank space around an important object to draw attention of the visitors to the main content of the website. For example, the title of the page or the call-to-action button can be intuitively placed with prominence.

2) Grouping

A few elements may be of equal importance within the structure of a website and hence, have to be given the same weightage. This can be taken care of by applying negative spacing around them.

3) Nesting

There can be a need to embed one element within another. In this scenario, the inner nested or embedded element needs to be clearly reflected to show its relationship with other elements. For this, generous left padding style can be used. However, there are also a large number of other possibilities to be tried out in this regard.

Negative spacing can be applied in website designing in different ways, such as line heights, word spacing, paragraphing etc. In any case, making an attractive design of course demands intelligent use of negative spacing, which you have to master in order to prove yourself as a successful designer.

Varun Bhagat is a technology geek and works in PixelCrayons as a Sr. Technology Consultant. He possesses in-depth knowledge of different web development technology and helps our clients to choose the best technology as per their needs.

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