Tips: Space in Design

Creating your own imagery for blogs,
advertising, or marketing?

Don’t forget your SPACE.

Space (in the physical world) can be described as where objects are NOT (also known as “negative space”).

Imagine the space through an archway or in between a set of trees. Imagine a space between two buildings. Imagine the spacing between paragraphs.

Spaces can form pleasing shapes all on their own, but space also has a function – it provides our eyes a place to rest.

In graphic design, I use two different ideas of space.

#1 – Space In Design

Our eyes are doing hard work, taking in the information that is on any piece (website, flier, postcard, etc). But we need a break. Our eyes need some nice, empty blank space so that we can rest and recharge for our next foray into looking.

If you don’t have any blank space, your eyes will become overwhelmed. It’s too much. If that’s our marketing piece, we have just lost a set of eyeballs.


Practical Tip: Divide Your Piece Into Thirds.

  • Have 2/3 blank space, with 1/3 holding your imagery/text
  • Have 1/3 blank space and 2/3 holding your imagery/text.

ADDED: If you have a lot of text, a picture (even though it is not blank) will provide the needed “space”.



#2 – Keep Away from the Edge

Leave plenty of space between your design and the edge of your piece. It doesn’t need to be a lot, but enough so that your design or text doesn’t touch the edge.

This has a practical purpose in printing, as well as just using the space in design well. When printers print your piece, they want some extra space. If the printing mechanism should shift the design over (because nothing is perfect), even a tiny hairline bit, your design will still be safe, because the shift occurred within the extra space.

Practical Tip: Allow for at least 1/4″ of blank space surrounding your piece. Some people say 1/8″. I like 1/4″.