Using Negative Space in Design with Examples

There are many elements that must be taken into account when trying to optimize your designs to the best of your ability and among those elements is the element of negative space. Negative space or as it sometimes called, white space is extremely important seeing as the amount utilized or underutilized can make your design or leave it lacking.

“Is negative space the space you don’t like, or the space that is not there?  And if it’s not there how can you tell?” -Emma Bull

Proper usage of negative space can really enhance your design whether it’s for a website or print media. So what is negative space you might ask, well negative space is space that is inherently empty, in short it is the space around and between your design elements. Using negative space is beneficial as it can balance out your projects. Plus it lets people know that you took time in figuring out your design. Below you can find some ways to better use your negative space as well as look at a few examples that use it effectively.


Negative space acts in many roles when it comes to your designs. One of the most obvious is it brings emphasis to certain elements of your design. Negative space when used effectively can act as a visual leader to the eye, in other words it leads the eye to where the designer wants it to go. In order for this to be done proper planning must be done which should be considered when you are prototyping. A great way to create emphasis to a certain section of your design is to design while using the negative space as a separator. Separating objects in some variable manner keeps your design looking clean and organized all the while giving your design breathing room and allowing viewers to take their time in viewing what you have to offer. Negative space as a separator is also an effective way to differentiate all the design elements you have going on as well and if you use strategic placement you can even create an image.


Before you jump head first into working with negative space it is best that you engage in some prototyping first. In other words you need to do some planning. Of course you don’t necessarily have to do this but knowing how and where you are going to place your elements will cut down on the time you might have to redo your design. Prototyping can be done either digitally or traditionally. Either way you do it the best method of prototyping is to use shapes as substitutes for what will be in its place when you finally design. Try to create a balance while you move things around. Attempt to categorize elements by placement in size and make sure to create a focal point. Prototyping is extremely important especially when it comes to website designing.

Panda Web Negative Space


Simplifying your design where applicable can help you make the most out of the negative space you have to utilize. A lot of designs, both websites and logos have been increasingly going over to minimalism for an effective result. Why? Well simplifying your designs allows for your final result to be more accessible, that is, it is easily recognizable and readable. If you haven’t noticed minimalism is widely preferred. If you’re thinking about scaling back on your design to let the negative space shine through it is recommended that you remove or rearrange some of the elements present. Ask yourself what you do and don’t need and if you do need it and is there another place the element can be placed. Your design will eventually look less cluttered and more appealing.


Adding variation in size when it comes to your design is pretty simple. Using a hierarchy or some form of can easily add balance and harmony to your design. By not designating every element the same size negative space is freed up. There are many reasons to why you would want to offer your elements in various sizes, one being you can easily create the illusion of another image within your design, you can navigate the eye to where you want it and you can also create the sense of movement and energy.

Using negative space really isn’t as complicated as it may seem. Using basic designing point and asking yourself what you really don’t need are the best choices when trying to do your work.

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