Our newest What’s Next article has been submitted by Philip A. Provins, [email protected]
Negative space, in art and graphic design, refers to the area around and between the subject of an image. Negative space becomes apparent when the space around a subject, and not the subject itself, forms an interesting or relevant shape. Often, negative space is used to form the “real” subject of an image.
The use of negative space is a key element of artistic composition. In a black-and-white image, a subject is usually depicted in black and the space around it is left blank (white). However, reversing the tones so that the space around the subject is printed black and the subject itself is left blank causes the negative space to be apparent as it forms shapes around the subject. This technique is called figure-ground reversal.
The use of equal negative space, as a balance to positive space, in a composition is considered good design. This basic yet frequently overlooked design principle gives the eye is known to increase the appeal of a composition through subtle means.
Here are a number of interesting and effective examples that illustrate the use of negative space in graphic design:
A.G. Low Construction logo
By Rebecca Low
(A floor plan is the hidden visual.)
Martin Newcombe Property Maintenance logo
(A house is the hidden visual.)
Via Blair Thomson
(A heart is the hidden visual.)
American Institute of Architects Center logo
(The skyline is the hidden visual.)
Ogden Plumbing logo
(The plunger is the hidden visual.)
World Wildlife Federation
By Sir Peter Scott, modified by Landor
By Malcolm Grear Designers
(The F hides within the W.)
The Brand Union logo
By The Brand Union
Egg n Spoon logo (same day couriers)
(See the egg and the spoon?)
By Social UK
USA Network logo
By Peloton Design
Original design examined by Miles Newlyn
By Lindon Leader while at Landor
Hands On Network logo
By Duffy & Partners
By Steff Geissbuhler while at Chermayeff & Geismar
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