Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Before & After: Things Every Designer Should Know
Illustration by John Hersey

Put white to work


From:

Before & After: Things Every Designer Should Know

with John McWade

Video: Put white to work

Another essential is to make use of white space. Now, this is going to be similar to the focal point. White space is a requirement for all design. You can't really design without it. And to see how that works, just look at the stack of coins. It's like those apples that we saw earlier. They are just all over the place, a lot of coins, no real clear place to look. We're going to have a stronger presentation if we get rid of half the coins.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
Please wait...
Before & After: Things Every Designer Should Know
1h 5m Appropriate for all Feb 27, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Appearance may not be everything, but how something looks has a fundamental impact on how it's perceived, what it communicates, and whether it succeeds. In this course, author John McWade of Before & After magazine shares foundational graphic design techniques that will make your page, screen, product, or presentation look and perform its best.

These design essentials can be used by nondesigners as tips, tricks, and shortcuts, and by professionals as building blocks to greater understanding. Each lesson is a short, easy-to-understand how-to that can be applied regardless of the brand of software and hardware you use. This course was created and produced by the Before & After magazine team. We are honored to host this content in our library.

Subjects:
Design Page Layout Typography Design Techniques Design Skills
Author:
John McWade

Put white to work

Another essential is to make use of white space. Now, this is going to be similar to the focal point. White space is a requirement for all design. You can't really design without it. And to see how that works, just look at the stack of coins. It's like those apples that we saw earlier. They are just all over the place, a lot of coins, no real clear place to look. We're going to have a stronger presentation if we get rid of half the coins.

Now, we have a coin half, a white half, and we have an interesting line that divides the two halves. In this case, we'll turn the white half green. We still call this white space. You can think if it as negative space, perhaps. Add our headline and logo and have a handsome design very simply. Another example, here we have a page with a picture of the Sage and its description.

But along with that, we also have a gradient fill on the background, we have some shadows, we have some rectangles, we have a border around the gradient fill, a lot of extra non-communicating material, or I should say it's not non-communicating, it actually is communicating, but it's noise, it's not communicating anything about the Sage or about the copy or any of that. So, the solution here is to get rid of all that material, and rely on white space as your canvas.

Get the photograph out of that box, make it large, reduce the size of the word Sage, add the copy, and you now have a very calm, minimal presentation. The only things on it are the key communicating elements, the photograph and the text. Very handsome, simple to design, you didn't have to make all the decisions about, gee, should I put a border or a box or a background or a shadow or anything? You just don't have to make any of those decisions.

Just present the material simply and clearly in open white space. Here is a way to use white that's especially useful if you're printing on an office desktop printer, one of those ones that can't print to the edge. So, what happens typically is you'll get an unprinted white frame around your image. The real problem with that is that it's an undesignable space.

On some printers, it's wider on one side than the other, and it's going to mess up your design, at least if you have a design that wants to bleed to the edge. So, the solution for this sounds paradoxical, but it's to create more white. You bring your image in a long way from the edge of the page, and now that frame disappears, and just use the pure white background basically as a design element, very handsome cover using the material at hand.

Several ways to arrange this, you can center it, could be flushed to the right, flushed to the left, whatever. But in every case, the key is to make that undesignable white become your background in your canvas, and make your positive space, your images smaller on the page. This allows you to shape them, to move them around, to create hierarchy for them.

Great solution.

There are currently no FAQs about Before & After: Things Every Designer Should Know.

Share a link to this course
Please wait... Please wait...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Before & After: Things Every Designer Should Know.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Welcome to the redesigned course page.

We’ve moved some things around, and now you can



Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked