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Design Principle #2 White Space

Lesson 20 from: Create and Design Memorable Presentations 

Andrea Pacini

Design Principle #2 White Space

Lesson 20 from: Create and Design Memorable Presentations 

Andrea Pacini

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Lesson Info

20. Design Principle #2 White Space

Lesson Info

Design Principle #2 White Space

in the previous lesson, we looked at one universal principle of design. Picture superiority in this lesson. I want to explain another one. Very important. One. Wide space. White space is also called negative space or empty space in design and in our world it's the empty area of a slide. For example, if you look at this slide, the gray background is called white space in design. It doesn't have to be white, it's the empty space. Now, what this principle tells us is that we need to use a lot of empty space. In reality what I see, it seems to me that we have this desire to fill in every available space on our slides. And so for example, we start with something like this, we have a title and then we say, oh there's too much empty space there, what can we do? Yes. Let's include some bullet points. We love our bullet points in our presentations. But still there is some space here on the right. What can we add there? Let's add a random clip art. Why not? But still there is some space at the b...

ottom. What can we do? Yes. Why don't we include this line number? Very important for the audience to know that this is his line number 33. But what else we can include? There is still some space there. Why not? Let's also include the date again. Very important for the audience to know that this is whatever day it is today. And still there is some space here in the bottom right part. What can we do that? Well, of course a logo. Let's include a logo on every slide now on this point. I think it was Gar Reynolds who said that Gar is the father of effective presentation design and I think it's him who said in his book presentation zen, which I recommend highly. He said look, placing a logo on every line is like having a conversation with somebody and then introducing yourself after every sentence. Of course, that's not what you do remember. People will remember you and your company not because you have a repetitive element on every slide, they will remember you and your company depending on whether or not you give them a representation so focused on giving your audience a great presentation and forget about your logo on every slide even because we talked about it at the very beginning of this course, when you give a presentation, it's their presentation nor yours. So why should you have your logo on every slide? But anyway, this is what we normally end up with from a design perspective. And that's the typical death by power point slide. Now, what if we do like Picasso remember why don't we also then go through a series of iterations and every iteration, we keep removing digits. Let's remove all of the unnecessary elements. So let's remove for sure the logo and then also the slide number that's not important and the date. Let's also remove the random clipper and the bullet points. We don't want to see text. Too much text on us lines. Let's remove the title as well. And you see that's what we have now, of course, with an approach to presentation design which is much more simple and visual, you need to know what you're talking about. But I'm taking this for granted. If you don't know what you're talking about, if you don't know your content, then perhaps there is no need to give a presentation. But if you do know your stuff, if you do know your key messages, then this is what works from a presentation design perspective. Now, to me, whitespace is perhaps the most important design principle when it comes to presentations. And so I want to give a few more examples to really make sure that we understand how important it is. Now you might have seen this image online. This is called the Rubin vase. Now, the reason why I'm showing this is because if you see a vase, then what that means is that for you, the black area of their image is the positive element of the design and the white area represents the negative space, the empty space and vice versa. If you see two faces then for you, the white area of that design is the positive development. While the black area is the empty space. Now, what that tells us is that empty space is not wasted space. It's not something that we need to fill in with other elements. It's actually what more than anything else amplifies the positive elements of your design without empty space, your audience wouldn't know what to pay attention to think about it. If I show a slide full of text, if I show you a slide full of text, bullet points, lots of elements, what do you pay attention to how to say? But if I show you a slide with just one idea, one word, one image, one number, what do you pay attention to to the only idea that I want to communicate through the slide, I want to give you another example we have here google versus yahoo. Now, I know that the world has moved on. Now we have many other options, but you may remember the beginning, many years ago there was this big business find between google and yahoo to dominate the search engine space. Every time I asked the question during my events, who here uses google? Who uses, Yahoo, hardly anybody uses how. And then the second question is why and some people say what? Because the search results you get from google are better and maybe they are. I also use google. I'm not sure, but really do we really think that this is the reason, especially the beginning when nobody knew what a search result was. Can it not be that another reason is that google uses a lot of empty space and what that does is it allows you to focus on the only thing you want to do when you are in the environment. For example, if on a sunday afternoon I'm on my sofa and I want to check this area results. I'm italian, I'm a football fan. My team is juventus. If that's what I want to do, I don't care what the weather looks like tomorrow or what their politicians said on tv. All I want to know is whether your renters want or lost and hopefully they want that's it and you can do that in a much better way on google Netanyahu. And final example for you, we have here a comparison between a luxury store and a Poundland we have here in the UK tomlin's. These are cheap stores where you can get everything for £1. I guess you have a similar concept in your country, could be everything for € everything for $1. Now, if you think about it, luxury stores tend to organize their interiors using a lot of empty space. While cheap stores like Palm lands, they tend to suffocate products, one on top of the other. Why do luxury stores make their choice what they do? Because they know they're empty space. First of all gives you an idea of order and cleanliness, but also it highlights the most important products. Think about it if you enter a store and all you see is nothing but a nice pair of shoes, a nice bag, a nice jacket. What do you pay attention to to the only product that they want you to see which is often the most expensive product. Same thing with presentation design. If I show you a slide with just one idea, one message, one, number one image, what do you pay attention to my most expensive product? So the key idea, I want to communicate through the slide. So when you design your slides, think more in terms of google and less in terms of yahoo, think more in terms of luxury stores and less in terms of pangolins. And this is why space now in the next lesson, I want to give you another principle of design very important and it's something that we're going to borrow from photography, I'll see you there.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Exercise #1: ABC - Understanding Your Audience
Exercise #2 - Define Your Objective
Exercise #3: ATR - Brainstorm To Find Your Key Messages
Exercise #3: Mind Map - Brainstorm To Find Your Key Messages
Exercise #3: Traffic Light - Brainstorm To Find Your Key Messages
Exercise #4: 70 Words
Exercise #5: Storylines - Develop Your Storyline
Exercise #6: Storyboard - Sketch and Design Your Visuals
Recommended Reading

Ratings and Reviews

julie haskett
 

I was just beginning to create a series of presentations when I noticed this course. Serendipity! I thought I knew what I was doing, but learned some great techniques. More importantly I learned what NOT to do. Now I have much more confidence in the process.

michal babula
 

A lot of useful information.

Sara
 

Exceptional course. Very well organized and taught. The course was engaging and practical, with clear actionable approaches, examples, and activities from beginning to end.

Student Work

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