It is a new year–yes, it’s 2018–but it’s also time to shift gears in the seasonal advertising industry. The start of each year brings new design trends, some of which are “Wow! That’s amazing!” and some that are “Meh, I’ve seen that before.” However, just like many trends of the past (think bell-bottoms, hairstyles, and vinyl records), some interesting and very foundational design elements keep coming back to influence our current designs. You might conclude that they never actually left.
What I want to highlight today (and which is back on the list for 2018) is a design technique called Negative Space. The unused space around an element or typography, sometimes also referred to as “white space,” is back in the design trends for 2018. Personally, I think this trend never goes out of style. Nowadays it’s frequently used and it creates really subtle-but-genius interactions for the viewer. It has long been said that white space is sexy. If you don’t think so, look at Calvin Klein, Chanel, and what Apple has done with their advertising in the past decade. That excessive resting space for the brain makes the experience more impactful.
Negative space doesn’t have to be white, it can be black or any other color that works with the creative intent. A teal background with bold white type? A gray background photo with an elegant logo? Isolating a person or element from a photographic image creates white space and allows the eye to linger on the complex silhouette for a little bit longer. This can be advantageous when wanting someone to chew on what you are selling for a little bit longer.
There are many simple ways to create impactful designs using negative space. Using the space inside an object is a way to combine elements and create negative space in unique ways. Examples might be placing a photograph inside bold type or overlaying a photo over a complex shape from an isolated image. I am often awe-struck by the designs I come across (see a compilation of designs here). With my design biases, I often analyze and examine those design elements to understand how and why they work the way they do (or reinforce what I have already discovered).
I could claim that in graphic design, like other professional fields, creations of the past will influence the ides of the future. Graphic design basics are something to always fall back to for a creative solution–your foundation of sorts to build new and innovative ideas upon. Putting a new slant on that fundamental design concept might be the next design trend. Who knows…maybe will you be the innovator that might bring that idea to life?