White Space and Simplicity: An Overview


Last year we’ve seen a lot of simple, even minimalistic designs, which impress not with the amount of presented information but with the way the information is actually presented. Complex layouts are giving way to simple 2-col- or 3-col layouts, which usually have large amount of white space without any content whatsoever.

Indeed, the importance of both white space and simplicity shouldn’t be underrated. Used correctly, they can enhance the performance of a web-site, improve readability and make a great first impression. Recently Mark Boulton has written an insightful article about Whitespace1 and its importance in web design. Very well written, it describes in a very simple, but clear way, how to deal with white space in practice and how to use it in your web-projects. We’ve collected some more articles on this topic. So what do we have?

Links checked: June/16 2008.


Simplicity: Link

White Space (Negative Space): Link

Simplicity and White Space in Practice: Link

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://alistapart.com/articles/whitespace
  2. 2 http://www.digital-web.com/articles/keep_it_simple/
  3. 3 http://www.digital-web.com/articles/keep_it_simple_stupid/
  4. 4 http://www.digital-web.com/articles/simplicity_the_cobbles_of_the_designers_path/
  5. 5 http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/simplicity_is_highly.html
  6. 6 http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/100/beauty-of-simplicity.html
  7. 7 http://uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000151.php
  8. 8 http://lawsofsimplicity.com/category/laws?order=ASC
  9. 9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simplicity
  10. 10 http://www.alistapart.com/articles/whitespace
  11. 11 http://www.stylegala.com/articles/design_psychology.htm
  12. 12 http://uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000097.php
  13. 13 http://molly.com/articles/webdesign/2000-08-webspace.php
  14. 14 http://www.webdesignoffice.us/portfolio-and-design/q-t-title-Negative-Space.html
  15. 15 http://www.logoorange.com/white-space.php
  16. 16 http://www.samspublishing.com/articles/article.asp?p=174346&seqNum=3&rl=1
  17. 17 http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/dec05.asp
  18. 18 http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usabilitynews/62/whitespace.htm
  19. 19 http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol8/design_no2.htm
  20. 20 http://www.digital-web.com/articles/css_101/
  21. 21 http://www.jasonsantamaria.com/archive/2006/01/05/under_the_loupe_1_white_space.php
  22. 22 http://leftjustified.net/journal/2004/10/19/global-ws-reset/
  23. 23 http://www.plaintxt.org/2006/06/13/the-best-minimalist-wordpress-themes/

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    I really enjoy every Smashing Mag post, this one is very dear to me, I am working on designing my new homepage and modifying a WP template to make it more user friendly (and eye friendly).

    Great post again!

  2. 2

    I got a feeling that you guys reading my mind. Everything I want to learn or need to develop/enhance my project pops on here next day.

    Great list and great work.

  3. 3

    I’m new to smashing magazine, but i could keep clicking the previous posts and never stop saying SMASHING!

  4. 4

    awesome, thanks for these they are very useful!

  5. 5

    Very useful informations, most people like simplicity in design, layout and more user friendly.

    I’ll use all the articles for my projects and to redesign my own site.

    Thank you and keep these great work.

  6. 6

    Yes it shure has to be simple but the problem is when designing a website for companies they all think that it MUST be complicated with a lot of flash animations etc. How to tell someone that the simpler the better if they all think they know everything?

  7. 7

    i can’t imagine live whitout smashing!

  8. 8

    sandie sørensen

    March 10, 2008 7:23 am

    nice articles- but I would much rather have seen a lot of examples on the minimalistic design with lots of whitespace…
    I’m very visuel in that way…

  9. 9

    Google's success with 'Simplicity'

    August 18, 2008 4:13 am

    I don’t understand Google’s success with its – presumably – hundreds of other offerings. My manager here says: “have you seen Google Docs? – it’s brilliant.” Or, “You can add a Google image search field to your browser”, or, “have you seen Google calendar?”. No, I haven’t seen ANY of them. The homepage doesn’t mention any of this stuff so obviously I’ve never noticed it. I think there are little blue underlined features links at the top of the page – I seem to recall that – but I’d NEVER read them, or clicked them in two years. They just look like small print that you’d ignore. Is there a ‘more’ link? And when you go in there it’s not that easy to find what you want…?

    Google’s success with it’s other services/products is a mystery to me. It must be down to some other forms of marketing – or word of mouth between developers.

    John White

  10. 10

    minimalism is


  11. 11

    I am a designer,I like the articles in this site,many peoples shared their experiences or knowledge,thanks all.

  12. 12

    Very thanks!!! All (looking for) in one! Sorry for my English.

  13. 13

    Tsepiso S. Mothibi, Esq.

    August 21, 2012 8:33 pm

    This is my first day on these pages. Am starting a newspaper (actually have to revive an old and dead one!) And I think the previous editors should have started here!!! These articles are to the point, I mean, they SMASH ignorance!!!

  14. 14

    FYI the ” Global White Space Reset ” link is a 404.


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