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The Unsung Hero of Brand Identity

White Space (Negative Space) - An Important Brand Element.

When you ask someone what brand identity is, their first answer will probably be "a Logo". But a brands visual identity is so much more. The things you can see such as color palette, type, and graphic elements are important but what about the things you can't see?

White space is the unsung hero of a brand. Rarely mentioned or recognized, whitespace refers the the gaps in between elements that enables the viewer to navigate a page. These gaps creates a channel that allows the eye to flow through the layout with ease and, in some cases, follow a pre-planned path that ensures the reader views elements in a certain order.

Increasing the white space between lines of text or even individual letters, for instance, gives the reader a sense of freedom and openness. It can also be used to create negative emotions. Take a look at the ad below. Notice how the headline almost touches the subjects nose. This lack of white space (or black space) creates an uneasy feeling of claustrophobia for the viewer.

Image Courtesy of MAD Group.

Image Courtesy of MAD Group.

Whitespace can be used to create a “breathing space” in the context of a multi-page brochure. Pages with a lot of information can be separated with pages that just have a photograph to create individual packets of information that do not overwhelm the viewer.

So next time you look at an ad, a page layout, or a web site, take a look at the spaces in between the shapes and words. They are just as much brand elements as a logo.

Paul Sewell