The meaning of negative spaces in web design

"There is too much white space."

by Laura Celis Ballesta Date: 12-05-2023

As designers we must help others understand why it is important to maintain white space within our website and why it is important to the user experience.

As early as the Victorian era, Mario Praz, an Italian critic and researcher associated this fear with the term "Horror Vacui" which was used as a criticism of painting to describe the filling of all the empty space in a work of art.
Nowadays it is a term widely used in fields such as interior design, digital design or web design.

But what is a negative space?

Also known as white space, it is the space between all the elements of the page and is a tool used for visual balance and a better understanding of the message and the information we want to show with our design. Each empty space is part of the visual whole and therefore we must see it as another element.


Micro white space

It is the space between lines of text, buttons, even between letters. It helps to improve the readability of the content.

Macro white space

It is the space between larger elements such as columns, sections... It helps to understand how the information on the page is separated.

So why is it important?

  • Improves readability of content
  • There is a better understanding of the content
  • Helps establish a visual hierarchy
  • There is more clarity between the elements


Leaving blank spaces, eliminating unnecessary elements or using margin and padding are examples of ways to apply this spacing between elements, although we must always think about preserving the naturalness of the design and the visual balance.

So, when people tell you that your website has a lot of empty space, we must know how to explain the meaning and importance they have within the composition of the design.

by Laura Celis Ballesta Date: 12-05-2023 hits : 772