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Embrace negative space
The proper use of negative space is often overlooked by beginner and advanced designers alike. What is negative space (or “white space”)? It’s the space in your design that’s not occupied by any visual or written element. A design piece that doesn’t incorporate enough negative space is like a sentence with no spaces – itisdifficulttocomprehend.
Jan Tischold, one the most influential typographers in history, stresses this importance: “White space is to be regarded as an active element, not a passive background.” The effective use of negative space is just as crucial as the design itself. Don’t believe me? It’s scientifically proven that white space improves legibility and comprehension. Consider white space at every stage of your design.
Try It Yourself
Learning to effectively use white space won’t happen overnight. You’ll have to try out many different options to find what works for each design. First, I’d recommend reading some of the articles on this reading list, compiled by David Kadavy of Design For Hackers. Then, try and put some of these theories into action.
Remember, there’s no hard-and-fast rule to using white space. It takes practice. Eventually, you’ll find that exercises in resizing elements in your composition and changing the layout will lead to a natural understanding of the amount of breathing room required.
Images: Google search
We are reminded by Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute that content without design is just stuff! But, we should also note that design without content is hardly more than an empty page.
So, when the client asks to design a layout for content to be inserted later, you might consider the following responses.
The designer is thinking – “Of course, not a problem at all. You have no content whatsoever, no idea about colors, not a slogan and not even a title idea. I’ll have absolutely no idea what it should look like. Maybe I could insert some doll faces and curly cues and mock up the text in Comic Sans. I’m sure that will work perfectly with what you had in mind, Right?”
What we really want to say is, “Go elsewhere and stop wasting my time!”
However, to be civil and polite, “I do need to know what the content will be and what objectives you have in mind before an actual layout template can be designed.”
“Design is the application of intent – the opposite of happenstance and an antidote to accident.”
Robert L. Peters
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Rest assured, graphic designers are professionals and can handle your criticisms. We do realize that you won’t find everything flowers and sunshine on the first few drafts. However, we did sweat and cry over that project, so just please be considerate. And be specific. Vagueness, cliches or overused feedback simply doesn’t help. If I hear “make it pop” one more time, really I just might pop a cap! Okay, maybe not quite. But cliches can sure send my head into a spin.
Rather than saying, “make the logo bigger,” try using phrases such as, “The logo needs more emphasis.” Or “The logo is difficult to see.” Solid feedback will endear you to your graphic designer as their best client ever and your design project will be all the more successful and strong.