White Space

white space jamie stanosComplex web layouts can turn a user off. Whether the user is checking out a blog, purchasing at an online store or browsing an e-magazine, the design has to be visually appealing. Regardless of a site’s sophistication, purpose or intent, designers have to consider the simplicity in their designs.

Making Use of White Space

The most effective way to ensure you create an elegant, yet simple, design is knowing how to take advantage of white space. In design, this is the space left between elements on the page. The untouched areas between text, columns, images and margins give a page clarity.

When incorporating white space into designs, every detail has to be considered, including what should be left alone. For the developer, the major goal is to both match your client’s needs and return a product that creates an exemplary user experience. If it’s a company website, the design must have an infrastructure that delivers information and enhances reputation and authority. For a retailer, you want to create the best browsing and shopping experience, convincing users to click through to a purchase. Blogs, news sites, forums, whatever the purpose, white space provides smooth and clear navigation, subconsciously creating a flow that tells readers where to look and go at the proper time.

White Space Enhances Readability

As developers, we tailor designs so that end users can find and read content in a smooth manner. A cluttered design will be distracting. White space is a buffer that the eye needs, letting users decipher where content is and how to distinguish elements.

You want to factor in typography. Typography makes text easier to read. Take a look at the Google example below and see how typography creates a visual hierarchy. You want to select your fonts carefully. Getting it wrong can completely ruin the design. Thanks to the likes of Google Fonts, CSS@font-face and Typekit, developers are not relegated to standard serif and sans-serif types.

Great Examples of White Space


White space doesn’t necessarily have to be taken literally. In terms of this piece, areas taken out of focus are a form of white space as the in-focus areas draw the eye to what we want users to see.


In pretty much all their designs, Google admirably advocates white space. Their search engine is a perfect example of how to deploy white space in a design. Colors and text are set up to distinguish elements with clean margins everywhere.


The designer could have easily used larger text, wider margins or different fonts. In fact, the minds behind this design have shown great restraint to great results. Click on any of the menus and you’ll see the same simplicity and sophistication throughout.

Last Words

Improve your designs by smartly applying white space. Analyze and refine elements. Keep things consistent throughout, minding typography, placement and spacing. While you definitely want to create unique designs for each client, you also want to give each the benefit of uncluttered, clean web pages.