Effectively using positive and negative space


If there is positive space then there must be negative space, because one can not exist without the other.

It’s like a ballon without air. Air is similar to negative space because we do not notice it, but air is needed to make the balloon (positive space) work correctly. So, what exactly is positive and negative space?

Negative Space

Positive space is the shapes of objects such as text and graphics. Negative space, also known as white space, is the shapes AROUND the objects.

An example is the Illusion logo:

Positive Space: Black text
Negative Space: White between the text and the white “S” between the “u” and “i”

When a designer successfully creates negative space, they provide a smooth transition from one element to the next. If negative and positive space are not balanced, elements can look cluttered or randomly placed.

The next time you start a project remind yourself that white space, like air, is important!


Based in San Francisco, Allison (Alli) Stuart works as Head of Community Marketing at 99designs. When she's not writing articles and communicating with designers, she is working on her Children's Book. She also enjoys extreme sports, like sky diving and traveling to new places. Alli has a Fine Arts Degree with a concentration in Graphic Design from Louisiana State University, her home. Geaux Tigers!