5 Reasons Why You Need White Space on Your Slides

May 19, 2014

Several weeks ago we talked about the importance of the Rule of Thirds. Let’s go one step further and talk about a closely related topic: white space. What is it exactly? It’s a design term referring to space that isn't occupied by text, images or other visible page elements. It’s an integral design technique because it tells our brains which elements on the slide are the most important.

Before we move forward, let’s first acknowledge that there are two major types of white space:

Active White Space: This is chosen intentionally with the conscious effort to place emphasis on a certain idea.

Passive White Space: This happens naturally when space automatically exists between words on a line or surrounding a graphic element.

Here are 5 reasons why you should embrace white space on your slides:

1. White Space Creates Separation

Do you want to avoid slide clutter? Do you hate seeing so much text on a title slide? If you can relate to these challenges, then you can understand the importance and need for white space. White space creates separation between objects and forces a designer to kill the clutter.

2. White Space Attracts the Eyes

White space is blank. There is absolutely nothing to look at when it is fully being utilized. The good news: If it surrounds something, that something really stands out.

3. White Space Creates Balance

Programs like PowerPoint allow designers to customize a seemingly infinite number of details such as the size, color, and shape of text and visuals. By adding white space, you can bring balance and harmony to a mix of design elements, such as a lengthy body of text and geometric shapes as shown in the eBook page below.

4. White Space Implies Sophistication

If you look around you, many of the world’s most admired brands utilize white space. It screams luxury. It shouts elegance. White space stands for sophistication.

5. White Space Improves Readability

If you want your slides to be remembered, utilize white space because white space makes text easier to read. According to a study done at Wichita State University, white space actually increases comprehension and is more favorable to readers/observers.

White space. It’s simple. It’s powerful. It’s highly effective.

Try it.

READ MORE: Slide Design 101: The Rule of Thirds

About the Author

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki.

If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University. Find Scott on Google+.