NHS Designs

the designed and structured surface of a picture: In Mondrian's later work he organized space in highly complex rhythms; the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface.

related concepts

Graphic Design Principles of Visual Design


Actual space is a three-dimensional volume that can be empty or filled with objects.

It has height, width, and depth.

Space that appears three-dimensional in a painting is an illusion that creates a feeling of actual depth.

Various techniques can be used to show such visual depth or space.

Space in Fine Art

Robert Henri - Snow in New York
Robert Henri - "Snow in New York", 1902

Henri painted this snow scene in New York City with careful attention to the feeling of space. Henri uses several basic techniques to show space: perspective, values, overlapping, and size of shapes.

White Space

White space is the part of the design that "isn't" there.

It is the space between visual elements — it's an integral part of the message. White space tells you where one section ends and another begins.

Also Know As:

  • Negative Space
  • Background

What is it?

As important as the elements that are there. The unified background color(s), textures, effect or image make up the white or negative space.

Why is important?

  • White or negative space help frame and contain the design.
  • It avoids visual clutter, looks “clean”
  • It can also help to focus the viewer on something specific.
  • Helps keep flow going.

How to achieve it

  • Empty space
  • Blurred backgrounds
  • Patterns


  • In regards to balance, it’s usually the case that you want more negative (or white) space than positive space despite the principle of balance.
  • White Space is also important in page layout.

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