Designing Spaces

by Fred Showker
Now that you know what negative space is, let's take a look at some world-class examples of design works that take exemplify notable talent in manipulating the foreground / background virtues of space, field, plane, object and typography.

We begin with the spectacular design works of Hofstede Design in Prahran Victoria, Australia. Established in 1996, this organization specialises in identity, publication and environmental graphic design. They use the term Graphic Design confidently and deliberately. Browsing their portfolio, you can see why.

designing space

In this example, Hofstede leverages space, shape, texture and color by virtue of typography alone. Although this looks terribly simple, it's not. For this layout to succeed, careful consideration of the negative space was required. See the web page

Watch the photos and typography how they enteract

Bushy Beard negative space In this example, understand that Hofstede could have put that photo and that typography anywhere on the page. Ask why they put it where they did. Is that eye pushing you toward the text? Does the negative space the eye travels make the text more important? This layout is masterfully designed. See the web page

Typography makes a face

Andy German of the UK blog "Paper Champion" designed the "Great Big Bushy Beard" as a t-shirt design for scoring at Threadless. He makes wonderfully playful use of the negative space and typography to make the point. Bravo, Andy. See the web page

Rhino LOGO Big, bold, killer space

Von is principal of Glitschka Studios, representing 23 years of simply stunning design work. His work reflects the symbiotic relationship between design and illustration. This Rhino logo is part of a "process" done by Von Glitschka.

The designer says:

QUOTE This shows the before and after negative space of the 'Rhino R'. Once again it's important to find these areas you can improve upon as you go about your project. Don't avoid them, be your worst critique and it'll make for less changes on the client side. Don't give your client the opportunity to art direct, do it yourself. I like to say "Clients may be the king but they aren't the art director."END QUOTE

Logos utilizing negative space to create an image to reinforce the message

Negative is Positive

From interlocked fish to children with a dove to a knife in the 'a' of blade and 'H' for hammer, there's just no end to logos that utilize the left over space, to generate an image to reinforce the message.

Charlie B. Johnson writes in his Design Blog and shares his discoveries of 35 Logos brilliantly using Negative Space. Charlie writes:

QUOTE Creating logo designs is not a big deal anymore, anyone can do it but what makes them different is your creative approach. Every designer wants his artwork to stand exclusively so people remember it in the long run. To achieve this goal always think out of the box and come up with brilliant creations. Specifically, while logo designing, try to be conceptual and utilize exclusive trends for your designs such as Negative Space ... It takes a designer's clever eye to balance the negative and positive space of a design.END QUOTE

Designing Negative Space

These are just a few examples. There are tens of thousands out there on the naked web. Many of the 'trendy' blogs now do nothing more than gather these resources and line them up for your pleasure and design inspiration. When creating your next publishing or graphic design layout, consider the empty space. What can it become? How can they subliminally deliver your message?

Next: Logos: Negative Space

Thanks for reading, and keep on designing

Fred Showker

Don't forget ... we encourage you to share your discoveries about favorite or famous graphic designers and illustrators with other readers. Just comment below, contact me here, or just give me a tweet at Twitter/DTG_Magazine

Websites mentioned in this article

READ MORE World Class Design: Hofstede Design
READ MORE Von Glitschka Studios: Major eye candy
READ MORE Rhino Logo Story at
READ MORE Andy German "Paper Champion" blog, "Bushy Beard"
READ MORE Logos using Negative Space Charlie B. Johnson


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