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Emptying the Page to Empty the Mind


SEED Enliven

What makes a viewer visit a website, stay for a spell, and repeatedly
come back again? What causes that attraction?


These days we have thousands if not millions of sites promoting similar products and sending out similar messages.  Why are some more appealing than others? 


Messaging is crucial.  And so is design.


Consider your public speaking experiences.  In SEED communication trainings we strongly emphasize delivery style.  Research shows that our words account for only 10 percent of the meaning that is generated in human communications.  Most of what we communicate is delivered not by our words but by our presence—our body language, facial expressions, posture, voice quality, tone, inflections.  The same is true on our websites.  Words matter, but the design itself can powerfully trigger an emotional connection.  Even when readers have little interest in the content, visual design can magnetize attention. 


Want to know what makes good design?


Many things, of course.  One key element is negative space.


Negative space in visual design is like the pause in our public speaking. 








In design, that pause is negative space. 


Positive space is the central subject on which the artist has focused.  Negative space is everything else around it, including absolute empty white space.


Just like the verbal pause, our visual use of negative space allows the viewer breathing room. It clarifies the focal point.  It is like offering viewers a wonderful sip of a delicious drink (rather than hitting them with a fire hose of content, from which they cannot even get a taste). 


Take a look at this before and after web design:

“The sale of your messages happens in the pause.”  

We urge our client partners to make that a mantra.


Worth repeating:  The sale of your messages happens in the pause.

Before and After Web Design

Notice how the header of the After website is clean and empty?  The viewer can take in that content without distraction.  In contrast, notice how the Before header and entire image place text and graphics in direct competition. It is not clear where to look; there is no hierarchy in the design. 

In designing your website, flyer or brochure, the worst thing you can do is cram in as much information as possible, be it text or image. That makes the viewer work too hard. 


Have you exhausted your viewers lately? 


Keep it simple (another mantra).  Create a layout featuring what is absolutely necessary and throw out everything else.


Give your text ample space between each line.  Those spaces are lovely pauses for the viewer to enjoy a sip.


Just as there is no need to deliver your entire message in each written statement,  there is no need for one page to say it all visually.


SEED Discover

In designing your website, think of a printed magazine.  Consider using multiple pages, with bits of different information on each page.  


Avoid fixating to fill every void.  Aim for a balance of image and text. When it’s easy on the eye, viewers will poke around, wanting more. 

You can try using images to make the words stand out:















Or try using text to make the image stand out.














Choose your focal point.  Avoid constructing this type of battle:    










Not everything needs to stay on balance, there is a balance in deformity as well. 

Making Word Stand Out

Notice all the negative space?  The focal point is just a few words, hence your eyes are targeted straight for the message. 

Image Stands Out

This is a web portfolio. Noitice how the font size is minimized so you can focus on the illustration? 

Notice here, it's difficult to focus one element. 

Here we have outlined the page layout in red, to accentuate the unequal distribution of elements.  Still, a nice balance is acheived by the use of negative space and hierarchy. 

Closing mantra:  Just because there is empty space does not mean it needs to be filled. 

We’d love to hear how this works for you. Send an email or give a ring: 718-793-6509.

Tip of The Month – ARCHIVE


April 2017 – Are We Dancing Yet?

March 2017 – What Is Going On Here and How Can We Work With It?

February 2017 –  Are We Listening for What Is Trying to Happen?

January 2017  Designing Your Own Website, Without A Designer



December 2016 – Are We Facing Our Fears?

November 2016 – Have You Identified Your "Strategic Who?"

October 2016 – How Are You Watering Your Own Garden?

September 2016 – What Did You Do On Your Summer Vacation?

August 2016 – Shall We Dance?

July 2016 – Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

June 2016 – What Is Your Secret Sauce? 

May 2016 – Changing the World and Reporting It, One Butterfly at a Time

April 2016 – The Right Tool For The Right Job

March 2016 – Listening For What is Trying to Happen

February 2016 – How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

January 2016 – New Year. New Possibilities. Get On It. 


December 2015 – Trust: A Gift that Keeps on Giving

November  2015 – A Team that Reflects Together ... Rocks

October 2015 – Are You Contributing from Your Sweet Spot?

September 2015 – What Did You Do on Your Summer Vacation?

August 2015 – Emptying the Page to Empty the Mind

July 2015 – Emptying the Mind for New Insights

June 2015 – What do we do when our beautiful plans get derailed?

May 2015 – Who will Bring Your Plans To Life?

April 2015 – Planning with the Magic of Kairos Time

March 2015 – Vision Infused-Planning

February 2015 – Bringing Our Visions to Life

January 2015 – Visioning: We'll See It When We Believe It



December 2014 – Busting Out of the Habit of Critique

November 2014 – Enrolling Allies

October 2014 – Achieve Your Mission

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