Sticky Presentations bite size article: Whitespace improves readability

Whitespace improves readability

Jul 02, 2015

Whitespace is a fundamental building block of good design. In visual design, whitespace is used to bring clarity and focus to key information. When used correctly, it can create high visual impact of key messages. In this story, we will briefly talk about whitespace in relation to presentation slides.

So what is whitespace?

Whitespace is the space between blocks of information (text, images, diagrams, shapes, etc.). This is not always 'white' but can be in colour (or textured) depending on the background of the slide. Many also refer to whitespace as negative space.

Example of a slide without whitespace

Using more whitespace will mean that there is less space for information. With less space we will need to find ways to simplify our information making it more efficient. We can use whitespace to increase the gap between blocks of information so that they don't look cluttered and easier on the eyes. Text block that is too close to the edge of the slide might look unsightly. Giving a whitespace of 10-15mm (50-80pt) from the edge will often improve the overall visibility of the information.

There are many benefits in designing with whitespace consideration for presentation slides. Clarity of information, improved legibility, simplicity, increased attention, and focus are some of those benefits.

Before: Without whitespace consideration
Example of a slide without whitespace
Example of a slide with whitespace
After: With whitespace consideration
Example of a slide without whitespace
Example of a slide with whitespace

Try using whitespace in your next presentation project. You will see how this might transform the way you think about your slide design.

The author, ANG Tian Teck is a coach, trainer, and speaker, specialising in inspiring organisations and business leaders to deliver high impact presentations. He has coached, trained, and infected over 10,000 individuals across the region with his Amazing Sticky Presentations approach. Tian Teck is also the author of two books, Sticky Presentations, and Spinning I.D.E.A.S.

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