What is Negative Space?

Posted on February 3rd, 2014 by admin
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Negative space are shapes that are suggested through the absence of other elements or are shapes created by placing and positioning elements in such a way that another shape forms.

Perhaps one of the more famous examples is the FedEx logo, which has an arrow in it, which is created by where the E meets the X in the logo (highlighted below in red).

FedEx logo

As you can see, the effect is subtle and easily missed, but once you’ve seen it, you will start seeing the arrow whenever you see their logo.

Another example from our own portfolio is our Fixed by Mark logo.

Fixed By Mark logo

As you can see, the tip of the cursor is created by negative space.

Warner Knight logo

Another example above, the Warner Knight logo uses a chess piece as the negative space area, with the outline created by the left edge of the purple box. The effect is simple

Another use for white space is to “infer” shape to a logo through the careful placement and use of the other elements in the design.

For example, this logo for Work Panda uses negative space exceptionally well.

Work Panda logo

>Notice how your mind seems to create the outline of the panda’s head by placing elements outside the “imaginary” head of the panda such as the black tie and ears with strong visual lines that “suggest” the head shape of the panda.

So what exactly is negative space?

Well, negative space is a shape, icon or even text that is created by the absence of other elements, or is the space that is framed by other elements creating the design.

As you can see, negative space can be used be great effect when used thoughtfully – and is another tool in the designer’s toolbox for creating effective, memorable designs.


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