Negative space or the empty/white space known in art and now used in branding is one of the smartest way of keeping your design minimal and making sure that it attracts customers. Typography is how negative space effect is achieved in design. To use negative space effectively in design one picture will have two different images incorporated in it (using the black and white or coloured spaces). This phenomenon can also be used to denote missing letters in a word or adding different letters to a word.

The phenomenon:

In amateur art classes, artists are taught to keep three things in mind while designing: frame, positive and negative space. The frame is of course the border of the picture and positive space is the area occupied by the object drawn. Negative space is defined as the space that is around an object but inside the frame.  Utilizing this space brings balance in the picture and harmony to its composition. The image created by the negative space may either be the subject of a picture or it may help that subject stand out.

The image below by the artist Victor Vasarely is a good example of the use of negative space:

Negative spacing in designing terminology

A famous artist Tang Yau Hoong on his website has uploaded all art pieces using negative space:

Negative spacing in designing terminology

The image above shows tall buildings from one angle and deer and tree trunks from the other.

Famous brands

The most famous example of the use of negative space in a marketing logo is the FedEx design:

Negative spacing in designing terminology

According to the logo designer, Lindon Leader who was commissioned to make the Federal Express new logo, he was experimenting with two typefaces Universe 67 (condensed bold type) and Futura Bold. While squeezing the letter spacing, he saw that a white arrow appeared between the letters ‘E’ and ‘x’. With further work he ended up with a new letterform and an arrow that looked natural and unforced.

Negative spacing in designing terminology

This is the old Northwest Airlines logo. The circle shows an ‘N’ at the first glance, look closely and you see a ‘W’ with a cut in it. Stare at it from a bit further and you realize that the circle is a compass with the cut part in black being its pointer pointing North West.

Negative spacing in designing terminology

Helping hands for pets shows a cat inside a dog, then a dog and a sparrow inside a horse.

Negative spacing in designing terminology

Would you like to eat something with a spoon? 2 ideas broadcasted to a customer with the same image.

Negative spacing in designing terminology

Designer Ru Ferret has done the logo for Modini Shoes – An ‘M’ made of a pair of stilettos.

Negative spacing in designing terminology

The American Institute of Architects Centre – A school of architecture of course has this logo of a key which has buildings showing in its grooves.

Negative spacing in designing terminology

Last but not the least – the new WWF logo originally conceived by Sir Peter Scott, recently modified to highlight the negative space. The eyes which are highlighted by those black spaces can be interpreted in any way. The image looks like a panda walking towards the viewer. Image was changed in 1986 by the design firm Landor Associates in 1986.

Author Bio: Christie Johann is a typical civilian from Houston, Texas.  She is a designer and a creative writer at StickerDeals.Net which is pretty known for die cut stickers printing and custom stickers. She says what she wants and whenever she can. An expert in creating marketing slogans she has worked for a number of advertising companies helping in launching new products right off the rack. Her expert insights and advice including excerpts from her personal life make her articles worth a read.