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
Tonal Values B/W
“Horrors.” Scarlet said as she turned to her friend with her hand covering her mouth. “Why did Jack and Jill choose those colors?”
“Truth tell, they loved purple and white with yellow accents,” said Sandy.
“But, everything—the walls, ceiling and floor are that deep, dark eggplant, which is too much of a gorgeous color. There’s only white and yellow pillows on the dark purple sofa, why didn’t they ask someone to help?”asked Scarlet.
“Dang, it’s so dark in here, they must be planning a Halloween party. Don’t you think?” asked Sandy.
It happens. You love a color but have no idea how to distribute what you love in your environment.
So . . . Here’s the scoop.
Five Tonal Values
There are basic color schemes that you can pick from. Complementary Scheme, Monochromatic Scheme, Monotone Scheme, Neutral and One-Color Scheme and Analogous Schemes.
There are considerations in choosing. Understand the light in the spaces throughout your home and how the room will be used. What’s your home’s exposure? What is your natural light? You know, the light from outside. Eastern exposure gets the cool morning sun. Western exposure gets the warm afternoon sun. Southern exposure gets the hot sun all day long, even in the winter it’s uncomfortable to have sun beating into your space from sun up to sundown. Northern exposure gets no sun. For example, I built an art studio with three huge windows where the northern light spills into the space. It’s cool and restful, and gives me true interpretation of color for my paintings. It also gives me great light to photograph my work, also great to portrait paint with a live model and set up my own lights.
Of course the amount of natural light in a space depends on the position, number, and size of the windows. Natural light is white. Sunny rooms will be warmer than northern exposure offers. Then of course the windows treatment also affects the light penetration, as well as adjoining buildings, foliage. If natural light is minimal, and you want a cheerful effect, then the principal colors for walls and ceiling should be light in tonal values (usually an 8 or 9 value if possible). See the black and white charts for tonal values. Upholstery materials and color accents may be slightly darker and brighter. Darker tones on the walls (value 4 or less) are possible to use if the character of the room calls for them, but finish in semi-gloss for light reflections that maintain luminosity. If the room lacks natural light, brighter colors will tend to neutralize, toning the colors down. Also be aware that natural light reduces the size of your retina, which darkens and neutralizes the colors.
Chart white to black (same tonal values apply to color)
Fundamental distribution of tonal values; light ceiling, medium walls, and dark floors. What we enjoy in our exterior environment, sky, foliage and earth. Of course there are variations and exceptions. A popular concept in contemporary spaces are dark walls and light floors.
Color Tone-all colors
“They should call an interior designer to help them,” said Scarlet.
“I agree, but maybe they are happy. Who is going to tell them?”
“Uh oh, not me.”
“I have an idea,” said Scarlet.
“Let’s have them over for tea and ask if they are happy with their decorating colors. We can say the colors are nice, but don’t you find it too dark?”
“Nice is a poorly chosen adjective.”
Avant Garde – One of the four themes in The Mansion at Sofitel Macau. Notice the luminosity and tonal distributions.
Are you inspired?
To be continued . . .
Cardboard wiggle side chair
Frank Gehry’s wiggle side chair was the beginning of his most pervasive innovative ideas. While I was working in the interior design department at Bloomingdale’s, New York, Mr. Gehry came in to demonstrate the strength and comfort of his side chair. He climbed up onto the seat and jumped up and down. All of us, interior designers and furniture salespeople, watched in horror, but he knew something we all didn’t know, because he was smiling the whole time. This most amazing chair was impervious to the tests.