I’ve lost count of how many blogs/articles/chapters I’ve read about using paragraph breaks to break up all the type. One of the reasons is because it’s taxing on the mind, all those big blocks of type. Negative space, the parts of the page free from typography or graphics, is pleasing to the eye. Some authors use paragraph, scene, and chapter breaks more than others. It’s a style choice. But what we can all agree on is that breaks are necessary. There are no books traditionally published in the modern era without them. And so it follows, that if readers appreciate negative space in books, they appreciate it elsewhere, as in every representation of your author brand (with the exception of book covers and related print materials such as bookmarks.) This means your website. This means your e-newsletter. I prefer the term negative space to white space, because strictly speaking, negative space isn’t always white. To me, negative space is graphic- and type-free space that is either white or a lighter shade of another color. Now take a moment and go use your preferred search engine to open the websites of a couple of major brands (the first ones that pop into your head.)
Done? I hope I’ve proved my point, but if you have happened upon a major brand with a cluttered design, they are the exception, not the rule.
It should be noted that for certain genres, readers are used to author websites with less negative space. Science fiction, in my opinion, is one of these genres. And so, depending on which genre you write in, please balance my argument with your readers’ expectations.
The other argument for more negative space is specific to online media. Graphics take longer to load, so if, for example, your website is weighed down with graphics, it will take longer to load than author sites that have more negative space. And for the online world, every color but white is considered a graphic, so if you’re considering a site that is mostly just a shade of light grey, that will actually take longer to load than white.
What are your thoughts on negative space, whether as paragraph, scene, and page breaks in books, or as a part of an author’s brand? Please share in the comments.
I wrote this post for the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. To continue hopping or to join the hop, click here. (There are more than 200 of us, and it’s fun!)