Whitespace . . . Is this about silhouettes or goblet?
Whitespace is a fundamental building block of good design. It’s the first design aspect that any visual designer is taught. What is whitespace? Let me say that it’s not always white. This space may be a color or texture. For authors, white space is the space between blocks of text. Author reviews often mention that the book had lots of white space and they loved that, it gives the reader an enjoyable journey through the story. In this post I explain why whitespace matters.
Design, a critically important element authors often overlook. Words on the page need balance, structure and white space. Maria Connor, Published Author and Author Assistant
The most obvious benefit of whitespace is that it increases legibility. You only need to compare the examples shown in Mark Boulton’s superb article on whitespace to see how a good use of whitespace can make an enormous difference to legibility.
Before – without whitespace
After – with whitespace
Believe it or not whitespace between paragraphs and around blocks of text actually helps people better understand what they are reading. According to research in 2004, this kind of whitespace increases comprehension by almost 20%.
Architecture with negative space, fresh and open
Creates the right tone
Finally the use of whitespace can be a powerful way to communicate elegance, openness and freshness. Obviously this isn’t always the design look and feel you wish to communicate. However when it is, you can’t do better than having loads of whitespace.
For the visual arts, the phrase refers to negative space. In my work, I have found the old adage, “Less is more,” to be true. A phrase used by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1947 as a precept for Minimalist design and architecture. The phrase has been used in other applications by the design community over the years. I use it in designing and painting all the time. It is part of my philosophy. The negative is as important as the positive.
Extra Whitespace Information: Did you know that your business card should have at least one whitespace the size of a quarter?And the backside should have a flat finish so the recipient can write who, where and when.
Not everyone thinks whitespace is important. As the volume of content on the web grows, how do you stand out from the noise? Website owners find whitespace to be a waste, they fill every open spot on the page. Websites have become a way to market and promote product with lots of noise. Website owners demand that every space say something. I never know where to look and cannot find anything on those busy websites.
Starbucks clever use of good graphic design with lots of whitespace
Thanks to Paul Boag, click whitespace to see his blog and be sure to click Mark Boulton’s article on whitespace.
Do you give whitespace a thumbs up?
How about you? What do you think about whitespace?
Indigo Sky for reader who enjoy historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA
It is hard to know the best design magazine with so many from which to choose. One of my favorites is Contract.
Harry Bertoia Diamond chair 1952. Steel rod and Naugahyde seat pad. Mfg. Knoll International, USA MOMA
In the current issue, the article by Jan Lakin about the Cranbrook Art Academy and Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, inspired me to write about the special schooling for designers, among whom are Ray and Charles Eames, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, among many, who were student collaborators with figurehead designer and architect, Eliel Saarinen. Professionals that helped to define art and design for decades.
The Cranbrook Educational Community, a National Historic Landmark, was founded in the early 20th century by newspaper mogul George Gough Booth.
Eliel Saarinen, fresh from Germany and involvement with the Bauhaus, had firm ideas of what an art school must be. He was commissioned to design and then teach at the campus of Cranbrook Educational Community in 1925. According to the article, the Academy is renowned for the masterful campus planning and architecture by Eliel, complete with studios, classrooms, workshops, a library, and art museum-that would foster craft, the intense study of the arts, and a spirit of discovery. The school was intended as an American Equivalent to the early 20th century now defunct Bauhaus in Germany. The Bauhaus (scroll to “Grand Stand” blog) was the icon of art schools followed by Cranbrook.
Saarinen became president of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1932. He influenced subsequent furniture design. Saarinen also designed the museum at Cranbrook, now being renovated.
Cranbrook Art Museum - Wikipedia
About Cranbrook Art Museum
Cranbrook Art Museum is a contemporary art museum, and an integral part of Cranbrook Academy of Art, a community of Artists-in-Residence and graduate-level students of art, design and architecture. The Art Museum, which was established in 1930 and opened at its current site in 1942, is Eliel Saarinen’s final masterwork at Cranbrook. Today, the Art Museum presents original exhibitions and educational programming on modern and contemporary architecture, art, and design, as well as traveling exhibitions, films, workshops, travel tours, and lectures by renowned artists, designers, artists, and critics throughout the year. In 2011, the Art Museum completed a three-year $22 million construction project that included both the restoration of the Saarinen-design building and a new state-of-the-art Collections Wing addition. For more information, visit www.cranbrook.edu.
To see the article, click Contract and scroll to see on the left of the page, “Cranbrook Art Museum.”
Next week, we’ll take a look at Eero Saarinen. A powerful influence and world renowned designer and architect, the son of Eliel Saarinen.
Do you believe there is such a thing as “good design?” Do you believe in special schooling to become a designer? If you wanted to be a designer, art, graphic, interior, what considerations would you give to your training? If you hire a designer, do you ask about credentials?
Typical chair of the Art Nouveau style
Last week we talked about Antonio Gaudi, Victor Horta and others. We discussed the designs they used and implemented based on the twines, florals and curves of nature. The double bench
Gaudi's Art Nouveau double bench
in the blog, and seen here below, was typical of the “Art Nouveau” style and is still being produced today. I mentioned that I sat in the bench in the lobby of the Barcelona Marriott. The seat is ample and comfortable. The back and arms have that parabolic curve that gives the Art Nouveau style its simplicity. There is a simplicity about the style. In this bench, the legs are, however, typically a colonial style, a popular shape, even today, perhaps mimicking the figure of a woman, that is, with some imagination. There is some kind of comfort in things that have soft curves and furniture is not exempt. It was not unusual to combine different styles in one piece of furniture in the 19th century.
The Art Nouveau style was born out of a love for beauty. The curves of the plant were seen in chair legs and chair backs. The flowing line, called the Belgian curve, which is the flat segment of an ellipse, was used for wall openings, furniture supports and furniture forms. After 1900 and the Paris Exposition, the parabolic curve took the place of the ellipse. The curve was used in woodwork, mirror frames, and furniture. The curve is specific to the style, so if you like parabolic curves, you will like this furniture. Although the lines are clean, even with some ornamentation, it has a definite line direction to the style. Unlike Victoriana that had many different lines and ornamentation on one piece of furniture.
I always have fun making comparisons to Victoriana because the style is so pathetically massive and invasive and all made with the machine. Some of my earlier blogs addressed Victoriana. If you were rich, your “stuff” was made by machine, and the more ornamentation it had on one piece, then the richer you appeared. Victoriana tried to copy the Louis XV style, a French classic. But they missed, and instead produced this strange looking furniture.
This is how it goes through the history of furniture, the history of architecture, the history of all things. The pendulum swings back and forth. We try new, then we go back to the old, and end up with the classics.
So, if you compare the Victoriana chair above to the Art Nouveau style, which would you prefer?
Art Nouveau table