Visual Literacy Part 3: Space in Design

Space is the first and most important element of design language. Space in design is more important than any objects flying in it. It’s an endless abyss encompassing all design elements and existing before object/subject separation.

In traditional visual art, the most important element is the main object depicted, while the less important is the background. In industrial art, the object has no importance as such — it’s abstract. There is no top and bottom, left and right in this space, only in and out. And this space does not equal a background.

This concept of space in visual arts was first introduced by the suprematist movement — instead of being positioned relatively to the ground, objects are floating in the air. The position of an object relatively to other objects, as well as its other parameters like form, size, or color, is defined exclusively by its role and meaning.,_1916).jpg

Space is not empty, it’s charged with energy. Every object placed into this space activates this energy and creates force vectors by interacting with the frame and other objects.


We can say that the use of this kind of space is an important characteristic of good design.

Our perception needs free space to balance the information overload we meet — that’s why they say «Less is more» in good design: less content with more space and stronger visual emphasis works better than the other way round.

That’s why a good book layout uses space generously for margins and line spacing.

That’s why a good website layout uses space generously for sections, columns, buttons, distances between elements., 2013

It should be noted that design elements can be organised in space differently depending on whether a designer uses a constructivist or an expressionist approach, but the role of space is equally important in both cases. We will talk about this in more detail in one of my next posts.

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