“Empty space? What’s that?” you may ask. “Is it like “dead air” on radio or television? You know, when the sound and picture cuts off on your TV and you’re just sitting there staring at a blank screen?”

No, that’s not empty space. That’s just plain dead air. Dead air is bad. Empty space is good!

There are articles out there on the Internet that describe how to use empty space on your Web site. And the reason they are there is because they contain some valuable data… data you should have when working out the design of your Web pages.

For example, if you want to maximize the headlines on your site, you can use empty space below them or above them. This will make the headlines stand out. And that’s what you want… for them to be noticeable. (Headlines are what pulls the reader “in.”)

You want the font you choose to be easily read, but did you know that you could make it easier to read if you leave some empty space around the text? Don’t fill in that space with a bunch of pictures, graphics and the like. Let it go! :O)

Empty space is actually eye catching. It is like some music that can make you feel the emotion of the creativity.

Have you ever listened to a song where the music suddenly stops and you think the piece is over – then it starts up again with some powerful melody? It’s very effective! The music can even sound louder and more electric as a result.

The same goes for a Web site with text on it. It also applies to ad designs or any design.

The message or offer stands out when surrounded by empty space – or white space you could call it. It draws the eye in to the important part of the page.

If you think just enlarging an image of a graphic will work, well, you might be right. But it can make your page seem amateurish or rough. You may think that will grab someone’s attention… and it very well might. But to just draw the attention to the image with empty space can be even more effective.

The central focus is what you want people to see. You want their attention pulled to your message. And this focus can be made to catch the attention by the use of space. You don’t have to fill every blank spot with images or text. Let them go! :O)

Everything on your page should enhance the main message you are trying to get across. If you have too much information, it can be distracting. If you are selling a product, rather than stuff your Web site full of data, you could possibly make it available in a newsletter or a free report.

Although there are no “set in stone” rules about empty space on a Web page, just use the rule of thumb that you should leave about one fourth of your page empty, letting the main parts stand out.

Keeping your Web site uncluttered and focusing attention on your message will make your site professional and attractive. Your visitors will be impressed… and stay and browse.

It’s not always what you fill the space with but how you don’t fill the space that makes the difference.

. . .

And you? How did and/or do you feel about the empty space on my blog recently? ;-)

—Marcus Hochstadt

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29 Responses to Stand Out By Using Empty Space

  1. Josh says:

    In the world of information overload online, it is nice on the eyes and mind to come to a site that isn’t trying to flash 500 ads and affiliate links at you. There is a lot to be said about white space and it efficiency as well.

  2. Shilpa Srivastava says:

    This is really an informative article and yes it’s true if we don’t get empty spaces in a website we just don’t feel like going through it. Soothing colors and spaces between each section and headlines really contribute to great reading.


  3. Sometimes what you don’t say is just as important as what you do say…

    Using white space is a powerful to way to say nothing, but reap more benefits than if you had said something.

    Keep up the good work, Marcus…

    A. Caleb Hartley

  4. Renee says:

    You have to be careful though because sometimes too much clutter can be overwhelming and people will just tune it all out.

  5. Logen says:

    Contrast the words with blank spaces. This is an obvious tip but many people don’t heed it enough.

    I tend to avoid visiting sites with their text chunked together. I like to rest my eyes a bit while reading. Spaces naturally tell you when to pause and allows you to reflect on what the writer is saying.

    It indeed helps one in understanding. The reader will naturally come back for more if he or she is allowed to understand what the article is about. And spaces allow that to happen.

  6. Michael says:

    I agree with Josh. The internet is flooded now with sites plastered with affiliate links and contextual advertising. People used to create websites for the sake of appealing users without hidden agendas. What sums it up for me is a post I once read on a forum which went something along the lines of: “So… basically to ‘optimize’ adsense on your pages you must destroy the user experience?”

  7. I am agree with you on the use of empty space. But i would not recommend use graphics or any flash file to fill this empty space. If you look from SEO point of view then these things make page heavy which takes so much time to download, which is not a good point. So i would suggest always go with text or put some text of deep pages of your site and also give their link of respective page. It would be a great idea. What do u say……………… ???

  8. One of the things I’m looking for when I’m reading a blog post is how well it appeals to my eyes. I don’t care if it’s ‘text heavy’ as long as it gives me enough empty space for my eyes to rest once in a while as I am reading the post.

    Good idea you got here! =) I also dropped ec here!


  9. Choppers Mag says:

    Apparently, that empty space theory applies well here. I guess you applied it to the heading? It caught my attention as soon as I visited this blog.

    Great article there nevertheless and very effective strategy :)

  10. In general I would agree with what you said about white space, especially that there are no hard and fast rules about it. I’ve seen sites where it’s used very effectively as well as sites where it’s just wasted space.

  11. Coin Tricks says:

    At times, the white space can turn against you, especially if you have too much of it lying around and not having used it efficiently ;)

  12. mike says:

    I heart whitespace. There was a time when people looked down on it. People felt like oh let me throw in as much stuff as I possibly can– glitters, stars, scrolling marquees– yikes what if that comes back into style?? That would not be ninja.

  13. I agree, empty space is really good as it lets the viewers’ eyes breathe. It is also good to bring to attention things that are more important or potentially more rewarding/profitable; it is also a form of prioritizing of your return objectives… Just my two cents

  14. Jonathon says:

    Hi Marcus,
    As an artist of many years experience, I heartily agree with having lots of white space around text–and images. It is not what you put in but what you leave out that is important. If you have a blank piece of paper and there is one small black square, your eyes will immediately go to that black spot. If you place hundreds of black spots on that sheet of paper, which one will you eyes go to? None!

  15. Randy Bragg says:

    To comment on if there is to much space around your article seems to me a bite pointless. Should we not concentrate on the article it self, you could have a ton of stuff every where around it, but will they read it???

  16. Gaje Master says:

    I agree with you that empty space can make an impact but I also agree with others when they say that pictures can make for a great blog post. I like looking at blog post with pictures on them that are in the center of the post or towards that bottom depending on where they have their ads. If a blog post has ads in them then it is actually better to let go of the pictures so that it doesn’t seem so cluttered. I also agree with you on the headlines and leaving space around them.

  17. rosezar says:

    this is really good idea. But be carefull :)

  18. Marcus, Another great post that I have come upon your site. Thanks for putting the perspective on the white space and I agree with one of your readers it’s what’s inside the white space that counts. Content!!

  19. Irish Gifts says:

    Great post – I have to say that white space is probably the most underused design element today. I think we’ll eventually make more use of white space in the next rendition of our site. it really seems to add freshness and professionalism to a site.

  20. I have to agree. I used to make the mistake of trying to fill every single column and free space with advertisements. I wised up eventually!

  21. I’d rather see white space than flashing animated gifs. My mantra for web sites is K.I.S.S. – white space keeps it low ‘noise’.

  22. Jroh says:

    I agree…think about when you have the tv on for background noise and all of a sudden a commercial comes on with no audio…it makes you look, doesn’t it?

    I like using white space sometimes within my post as well, formating to only 64 characters per line.

  23. 0845 Numbers says:

    This is an interesting article. You’re right, sometimes less IS more when designing a web page. I like this site, there are nice calm colours and I find it a pleasure to read.

    Some people try to be too flash and fancy with their web page in a vain attempt to make their website look more professional but it always looks amateur.

    Thanks for this article.


  24. Alara says:

    excellent post. web design is well, colours are calmly
    and empty space is really good as it lets the viewers’ eyes breathe.

  25. dan says:

    Wow thats the first, never heard of that but luckily, i didnt have to try hard at all because I have an empty page that I left out not by mistake but because I didnt have anything to put on it at all .lol

  26. Jeff Gold says:

    Amen. I couldn’t agree more with having some empty space. So many times you run across sites and blogs just crowded out by ads and random other features that it becomes hard to even find the content. I advocate for a clean and simple appearance.

  27. Calvin says:

    I think empty space can be wonderful just like sometimes silence is golden. Now days it seems like a lot of web designers are asking WWGD (what would Google do)? If Google likes it, then its good. So before I declare blank space as good, let me pass it by them first.

  28. Harlene Dizon says:

    Just wondering what’s that empty space. Then reading it through, now I know. :)

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