What is white space in design?

Room to breathe

White space refers to the space between graphic elements, columns, type and lines in web design. The correct use of white space should provide visual ‘breathing space’ for the eye and transform the design, improve user-experience, engage your audience, convey a clear message and focused meaning.

What is white space in design?
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White or empty is related to clean, tidy and clear.

Intentionally left, empty and untouched, white space smooths everything out and gives the design clear and elegant overall feel and look. Many people believe that empty space is a waste, and instead of being left empty, it should be filled in with information, images or other content. But imagine walking into a busy room full of people and trying to find someone specific. It will be more difficult to find that person than if the room was empty and only the one you were looking for was there. In the same way, we risk losing the important focus on significant information if we overcrowd a page or a section of a design with too much content. The space between elements doesn’t necessarily need to be white, it could be any other colour or a background image.

White space in text

White space in text plays also a very important role in its readability. The correct use of space between letters (kerning) and line height in text should make a paragraph of text clear and easily readable. If used not correctly with letters too close to each other, and line height too narrow, we risk no one to even starting to read it.

Try yourself reading both texts and notice the difference in time that takes you to read them.

Text A is quite difficult and takes longer to read, doesn’t it? Many people would give up half way through. Text B is much more clear and easier to read. The white space helps the eye track a line of text. Getting the balance correct is vital because too much white space between lines could confuse the reader and make it difficult for the eye to find the next one. No prizes for knowing which famous book this is the opening paragraph of.


Ensuring white space is used effectively in all aspects of web design is vital if you want website visitors to notice things you want them to see and read the important messages your company is trying to communicate. Clutter, confusion, unread service details, and lack of clarity can mean your competitors could be getting business that should be coming to you. If you need any help or advice about any aspect of bespoke website design, please do get in touch.

Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

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