Design is one of the most critical aspects of any marketing and branding strategy. The impact of good design on conversion can be vital for any business but often times it gets overlooked at the expense of jamming as much information as possible into the available physical space. This could be space on a web site, a business card, a brochure or any other marketing material that you can think of.
What is Whitespace?
Whitespace, also referred to as “negative space”, is an aesthetic tactic utilised in design. In its simplest definition, whitespace refers to the strategic visual sections of a page/illustration that are left unmarked and thus uncluttered by any other aesthetic detail. Think about the margins we leave at the edges of a Word document, or the space we leave around an image on a web page. These are all examples of whitespace.
Why is Whitespace Important?
Simply put, whitespace is important because it is extremely difficult for our brains to process too much information all at once. Just think about those old phone books with tiny text squished together in order to fit as much information as possible into one small box. It is overwhelming to even look at a page from a phone book, let alone processing that information.
On the flip side of this spectrum is the overuse of whitespace, which can also be problematic. Too much whitespace will fail to guide the users towards additional content that is present off-screen, creating an ‘illusion of completenes’. It is especially important to keep this in mind for mobile design, as big chunks of whitespace on desktop can translate to even bigger spaces on mobile devices.
Less is More
The idea is finding the right balance to convey the necessary information in the most digestible way possible. Case studies suggest that appropriate use of whitespace in web design increases conversion rates by almost 20%! By giving your audience some breathing room in between your content blocks, you are in fact allowing them to process the information that was just thrown at them. It may seem odd, maybe even counterintuitive to think that less content in a given space produces better results in sales but when you think about the barrage of information that we face everyday in the digital age, less is really more.
When it comes to visual aesthetics, it boils down to each individual’s personal preferences. With that in mind, here are some websites that I think showcase great examples of efficient use of whitespace: