Space, depending on how it is used, can take on a personality of its own. In this movie, learn the various personalities of space along with a few examples of how space can be used.
- [Instructor] Before I begin to talk about the personality of space, I have a bit of a design confession. When I was in high school, I was given a design project as an assignment, an assignment that I completely forgot about. We had to design a bumper sticker that represented who we were as teenagers at that moment in time. Before class, friends of mine were showing off their elaborate and artfully-designed rectangles representing their various hobbies, interests, and bright futures, and I had nothing.
Just nothing. Well, this A student panicked. I whipped out a blank sheet of paper, staring at the emptiness, freaking out, muttering what do I do, what do I do? There are so many possibilities. And so I wrote that, the possibilities are endless, in tiny, small letters in the center, in pencil, with a ton of white space all around. I got an A, and ever since I have been both equally proud and ashamed of that moment.
There are times when an abundance of space is by accident or unintentional or done for convenience or done for money or time constraints, like my earlier example, but that doesn't mean that it is wasted space. When a design or a slide contains an abundance of empty space, also known as white space, even though this space is often not necessarily white, and when this is intentional and used purposefully, the look creates a very specific tone and effect, depending on how it is used.
An abundance of empty space can be used to create a sense of calm, peace, inaction, or stillness. It can be cold like snow or marble, or creamy like milk. An abundance of empty space can also imply wealth or luxury. Space can also be clean, sacred, or infinite. And on the other hand, too much space can be lonely or imply poverty, theft, or someone or something lost or missing.
There is a lot of meanings that space can take on. Problems arise in design when space contradicts the intended message or tone. You wouldn't want to create a slide deck for a discount furniture store advertising the sale of the season and show them the openness of this space. Nor does this stark, lonely environment say this is the space to send your child to daycare. Let's take a moment and examine some slightly flawed slides to see what we can do to make the personality of their spaces work a little bit better.
There are many things that are just not great with this one slide. The use of space is just one tiny aspect of what's going on wrong here. The hand and the light bulb, not crazy about that image, and the message is quite verbose. I don't know about you, but that bullet point there, that is really bugging me, especially since there's only one bullet, and it's a sentence. To cut down on the use of plastic water bottles, invest in a good reusable, environmentally friendly, stainless steel water bottle.
Yeesh. That's a mouthful. So here are some possible revisions. First off, I'm ditching the hand holding the light bulb. That's just a visual cliche. Next, we need to pare down the wording a bit to really focus in on what we're trying to communicate. Remember our pillar, our message? What is our message here? What's the action? To invest? No, to buy something. An environmentally friendly stainless steel water bottle? That's really long.
Let's cut that down to just the essentials. Now with the words that are left, we're going to need to rearrange them to make it make more sense. Now our message is phrased as an action and only contains the most important words, buy a stainless steel water bottle to cut down on plastic waste. Now we're ready to find photographs. Here's one that follows that green ideas theme. Let's see how it works with our text.
Now this part might take some tweaking, but the obvious text placement is in the blank area off to the left of the plant. I've broken the lines of text up so that the words "water bottle" finish the first line, and the "plastic waste" finish the second line. People tend to see and remember or at least notice the final words of lines more. I also didn't want to split my infinitive "to cut" onto two separate lines either. As for the placement of the text, I thought it looked best in line with the top of the plant, since that is the focal point of the photograph.
That way, the flow of the slide travels this way, from left to right, and then down the plant here. Now the problem, though, is that I don't think this image is the best one for our message. Sure, we're talking about green ideas, but we're also talking about plastic waste, too. Personality-wise, do we want to emphasize nature, cutting down on plastic, or the steel water bottle? Here's another possibility.
Now we're getting a little bit closer to something. Now I've intentionally moved the text down to eye level so the woman is staring at the text. People will naturally look at what others are looking at. The text is also close to the object it describes. Now personally, I think I would keep hunting for a better photograph, as I think the model here is a little bit too prominent in the photo. I've actually added a gradient shape overlay over her to try and minimize her appearance a bit to try to draw a little bit more focus to the water bottle to make it shine a little bit more.
Here's what the photo looks like without that gradient overlay, by the way. If you want to learn a little bit more about how to create gradients, check out our other power point courses in our library. But we definitely are getting closer to a photograph that works for the personality of our message and the space of our design.
- Designing as non-designers
- Key design components
- The need for hierarchy
- Hierarchy in bulleted slides
- When bullets are cognitively necessary
- Using space effectively
- Creating similarity and contrast strategically