What is Negative Space in Graphic Design & Why is it Important?

What is Negative Space in Graphic Design & Why is it Important?

Negative space is also called white space in graphic design, and refers to the empty spaces on your artboard. Negative space in graphic design does not mean emptiness or colorlessness, in fact, negative space leaves room for your design to breathe on its own. Moreover, the “blank” spaces between the different elements of your design allow for enhanced visual navigability.

Macbook logo
via Penji

For example, ever notice how all Apple Inc. marketing materials are clean, and contain solid colors with minimal shapes? The negative space here is seen in the balance between the brand logo and the product image, as well as the heading and subheading. Furthermore, this balance makes sure that the design is perceived by the audience as a holistic composition.

Why is it Called “Negative Space”?

The terminology comes from photography. “Positive Space” refers to the objects that attract immediate attention in the shot, and “negative space” is the background. Negative space is not always a plain white background. Negative space is also any pattern, solid color, or texture that highlights the focal point of the design.

nigative space in photography
via Photography Mad

Can you identify the positive and negative space in the image above?

The power lines are the focal point, or the positive space, while the sky forms the negative space in the photograph.