White is not empty space that needs to be filled up.
White means silence, just like silence in music.
Without silence there is no music.
So without white, there is nothing to see.
Let us do a simple exercise to understand what I mean. It will change your perspective forever.
Look at the word nas. (I deliberately choose a word without meaning, not to get distracted by meaning.)
You see three black shapes, called letters. Letters are made by black parts. At least, that is what we think.
I would like to ask you to look at this framed letter, the counter shapes are more visible but we still see a clear ‘a’. Our brain doesn’t let us see the counter shapes as individual shapes.
If we take all the counter shapes apart, then look how simple a letter actually is! It’s defined by just a few white shapes…
This is a valuable exercise in type design, but also in typography. If you design a text, the same things apply. The margins define the composition. The white defines the design.
Enjoy the silence.
Enjoy the white.
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