I still smile when I recall, as a young designer, a client once insisted I fill the white space in his advertisement with ‘stuff’. Otherwise, he said, he wasn’t getting his money’s worth.
These days, I pretty much never hear this argument. White space, as it turns out, has value. There is a cost clients care about when the volume of ‘stuff’ begins to overwhelm or distract readers.
But the value of white space is not just about reducing noise, it touches on something more fundamental than design. It is about simplicity — bringing focus and emphasis to an idea.
Achieving simplicity can be hard, but always worthwhile. Simplifying or paring back content has a tendency to strengthen it, as the exercise forces us to distill what is truly important.
And knowing what is important, I would argue, is the first step to both good design and good communications.
I am principal at Aegis, a relational design firm. We help create emotionally-intelligent brands and organisations.