In design, white space is the negative space between all of the content and supporting graphics. (White space is not necessarily “white,” it can actually be any color or part of an image.)
If utilized correctly, white space is one of the most important aspects of a website’s design. By including a healthy balance of content, graphics, and white space, the viewer can easily digest the important information – the content – and be directed to relevant calls to action.
White Space in Website Design:
- Highlights Key Information – There are many ways to highlight important elements in a design. One way to do it is by placing a particular bit of content or graphic in it’s own space. When content or graphics are surrounded by white space, the viewer is cued to pay attention to that particular section. A lot of white space surrounding a section of content can also suggest a higher level of importance.
- Directs the Viewer – White space not only highlights important information, but it also guides the audience through the material down the web page. By placing the content into sections separated by white space, the information becomes easier to navigate.
- Increases Readability – Appropriate spacing paired with typographical hierarchy allows the reader to effortlessly scan a document or web page at a glance.
- Provides Design Balance – By utilizing white space accompanied by design elements, the overall design gains a sense of equilibrium. A design that has too much white space could look lifeless or unfinished, while a design chock-full of graphics and content might look haphazard or slapped together. This can cause the viewer to become overwhelmed and leave the site.
- Evokes Sophistication – A healthy amount of white space makes a design feel airy and elegant.
Examples That Illustrate the Power of White Space:
There isn’t a minimum or maximum amount of content that should be included on a web page. It is more important to select which information is most pertinent rather than including everything. By being selective with your content, it becomes easier to determine how white space can be used to produce a balanced design that drives engagement and interaction.
By: Lindsey Tabor
First things first: the Creative Brief.
So, what is a creative brief?
Think of a creative brief as a sort of map that will lead the team’s creative thinking from problems to solutions. Now, more than ever, creative briefs are a necessary first step. They provide a skeleton or blueprint for your creative approach, which includes well-identified and well-articulated summary of the key factors and variables that can impact a project. It also includes things like client preferences, information about competitors, business and brand goals, and project particulars. Attempting a project without a brief is like going on a journey without a map.
A creative brief will answer the following questions:
- How is the project defined? What is to be created?
- What is the purpose of the project?
- What are the challenges, if any?
- Who is the audience (both business and end-user) and why will they be interested?
- Where will the end product be used?
- What are the brand guidelines and how much of the brand should apply to the project?
- Who are the competitors?
- What are the client’s specific preferences/likes/dislikes?
- When is the project due? What are the expectations both internally for the team and externally for the client? What are the milestones along the way? (if the project is multi-faceted)
Who creates a creative brief?
It is extremely important that the creator of the creative brief has a true knowledge and context of what is needed for the project. There should be a level of insight into how the deliverable will be used and the expectations of the client. The creator of the brief should truly understand the goals of the client and should hint at the beginnings of creative strategy so that the team can utilize this information to further develop creative possibilities and ideas.
According to Communication Arts, (http://www.commarts.com/Columns.aspx?pub=5861&pageid=1627) here is a sampling of Creative Brief content:
1. Background summary. Who is the client? What is the product or service? What are their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)? What does this client value? What does this brand stand for? What is their position on social responsibility, culture and technology? Can the client provide any research and reports that help us understand their current situation?
2. Overview. What is the project? What are we creating and why? Why does the client need this project? What are the client’s key business challenges? What’s the real opportunity? Are there any emerging ideas and trends to consider?3. Drivers. What is our goal for this project? What are we trying to achieve? What is the purpose of our work? What are our top three objectives? What are the essential consumer, brand and category insights? What thought, feeling or action can we bring to life? How will success be measured?
4. Audience. Who are we talking to? What do they think of the client? What will make the client more appealing to them? Why should they care about this brand? What inspires, motivates, interests and amuses them? Who are they talking to? How can we help them better connect with their own community? What causes buzz in their world? What competes for their attention?
5. Competitors. Who is the competition? SWOT analysis on them? What differentiates the client from them? What are they telling the audience that we should be telling them? How and where do they engage with the audience? Why are they really better (or not)?
6. Tone. How should we be communicating? What adjectives describe the desired feeling, personality or approach? Discuss how content (images/words), flow of information (narrative), interaction (physical/virtual) and user behaviors (pro/con) should affect mode and style.
7. Message. What are we saying with this piece exactly? How can the client back that up? Are the words already developed or do we develop them? What do we want audiences to take away?
8. Visuals. Are we developing new images or using existing ones? If we are creating them, who, what, where are we shooting and why? Should we consider illustrations and/or charts? What type of thematic iconography makes sense and is appealing? How do existing style guides and brand manuals affect the project?
9. Details. Any mandatory info? List of deliverables? Pre-conceived ideas? Format parameters? Limitations and restrictions? Timeline, budget? The best delivery media? And why?
10. People. Who are we reporting to? Who will approve this work? Who needs to be informed of our progress? By what means?
Managing the Creative Brief
Of course, once the brief is created, it should be a reference point throughout the project and managed as such. As a common ground, the brief becomes the center of the project and grounding point for ideas that may stray too far. Creative directors, art directors and account leads alike should look to the brief as their map to success and any changes to the direction should be noted for all to see!
Post by Lauren Innella, Principal & Creative Director
How many presentations have you sat through where the speaker droned on reading every word of 12pt text on every slide? Too many to count, I suspect. It’s an all-too-common malady among presenters. Matt Helmke, a senior strategist here at 0to5, is one who is not afflicted with this illness. Recently, Matt produced a slide presentation where he discussed the best practices in presentation design, development and delivery based on Garr Reynold’s seminal book, Presentation Zen. Reynolds is an internationally acclaimed presentation designer and communications expert living in Japan whose clients include many of the Fortune 500. His book combines strong design principles with the tenets of Zen simplicity to help readers develop simpler, more effective presentations. While you can download a PDF of Matt’s presentation, I encourage you to watch and listen to Matt talk about what he learned from Reynold’s book and how you can apply its teachings to your next presentation.