Graphic designers of catalogues, booklets and annual reports should consider the paper pages as a positive element of the available graphic design area. The blank white paper spread is like the untouched canvas of a painter. The potential for design impact is encompassed by the physical confinements of the size of the paper pages.

Have you ever painted on canvas before? Regardless of whether you are working in oils, watercolors or acrylics, the entire space is roughly blocked in first. Composition is the first area to focus on.

The same concept should be applied to a book publication spread layout. Working the facing pages as a single visual unit, the diverse graphic elements need to be planned for their combination. The arrangement of photographs, descriptive selling copy and headlines takes the form of planned composition. This stage of format development should be done keeping the consumer in mind. Design elements should reflect what looks good to the consumer’s eyes and not mind.

The white space of the paper can provide the cleanest, most dramatic frame for the four-color photography, graphics or images. Your readers will appreciate this because it is easy on the eyes. In a recent group study, the input we received suggests a liking of white space in their responses. When important graphics like product photos, logos or ads are allowed to breathe with some respite of space around them, our group appreciated this.

It doesn’t matter if you choose white or a solid background color as your ‘empty’ design element. The effect will be perceived as the same. The use of this space is a vital ingredient in the development and execution of a persuasive booklet publication format.

It is the challenge of the graphic designer to create white space as opposed to cluttering it. In general, the more freely the design elements appear on a page spread, the more dramatic the depictions can be. The empty space you create can be the most effective and the simplest in uniting all elements of your graphic design.

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