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Breathing Room: Unleashing the Power of White Space in PowerPoint Presentations

June 25, 2014 / Blog, PowerPoint ideas, Presentation powerpoint designs, white space

In visual arts, white space refers to the unmarked portion of a page or the empty space in-between content. This graphic design element, however, is more than just a passive by-product of a layout design. White space helps create balance and harmony, allowing a canvas or page to look more appealing.

White space is also great for one important purpose. According to designer Corina Ciripitca, graphic artists use it to guide the viewers’ eye and lead them from one element on the page to another. You can also apply this principle to your PowerPoint designs.

Greater impact

Also known as negative or blank space, white space (though, it doesn’t always have to be white) is added to a layout in order to create better structure. As a result, the text or image that the space surrounds generates greater impact. Just look at the sample below: white space  

The image, one of Volkswagen‘s famous ads, utilizes white space to effectively convey its message. Compared to a cluttered design, the advertisement retains only the most essential parts of its message, leaving room for the viewer’s gaze to rest.

This avoids sensory overload, which, similar to information overload, defeats the point of communicating to the audience. Too many things going on can overwhelm your audience and bury all the information under superficial details.

Less clutter

With your slide design, leaving plenty of white space can make a lot of difference. In fact, white space has made such an impact on the design industry that Smashing Magazine‘s Vitaly Friedman and a few other writers wrote extensively on the topic.

It makes the text as legible as possible while allowing images to capture attention. This means that there’s no need to fill your slide’s empty areas with logos or other pointless graphics or text that do not add to your key points. The less cluttered your slides look, the more powerful your message will become.

Better appreciation

Putting too much text and images can drown out the key points on your slides. When used strategically, the white space on your slides will inform your audience instantly where to look. Apart from making your layout easier to follow, it also offers the eye a visual rest. Using white space in PowerPoint designs is probably one of the easiest ways to add impact to your slides. As you put enough blank space

As you put enough blank space around an image or text, you emphasize their importance. In turn, they capture your audience’s attention. Ultimately, even if you don’t know anything about layout design, mastering the use of white space in PowerPoint designs can significantly improve the way you create your slides.

Craft a winning PowerPoint with a simple deck that doesn’t flood the audience’s eyes. Once you’re through with this, you can focus on your pitch and polish your overall presentation.


Ciripitca, Corina. “Why Is White Space Good For Graphic Design.” Designmodo. October 13, 2011. Accessed June 25, 2014.
Friedman, Vitaly. “White Space and Simplicity: An Overview.” Smashing Magazine. January 12, 2007. Accessed June 25, 2014.