Social Media Graphics: Whitespace

Welcome back to the mini-series on best practices for social media graphics! As mentioned in the earlier post on typography, creating your own graphics is so much easier now with many different tools available at low or no cost and with little barriers. 

However, not all social media graphics are created equal. And in fact, sometimes graphics can hurt your message or your brand. Yes, your engagement levels can be impacted by poor social graphics.

With that said, today's topic is whitespace

While whitespace isn't always white, it is definitely blank. Balancing whitespace in your social media graphics is important for a number of reasons. Those of you who want to take up every pixel of space in a graphic likely don't want to hear this, but following some simple rules about using blank space in your graphics will actually help your engagement.

To put it simply: our eyes need resting spaces. Eye strain, fatigue—these are all things that are impacted by aspects of digital life, but are made worse by lack of whitespace.

Text crammed into every available space, crowded too close to visual elements in a graphic, or too close to the edge of the image can make people skip your image altogether. This means folks may miss out on your great message or upcoming sale.

Let's take a look at an example graphic. 

A social media graphic sample consisting of text on a purple textured background with torn edges and geometric shapes overlaid.

This image is a bit overwhelming. Maybe even a lot overwhelming. There's very little place for the eye to rest. The text is all but touching the side of the frame which creates a lot of friction and gives a tense impression. 

Sometimes tension is good, if it's part of your message. But there are other ways to create tension without also making it challenging to keep reading the whole text content in your graphic. 

Most of the time, this kind of tension is not good, and can cause people to miss out on important info.

A social media graphic sample consisting of text on a purple textured background with torn edges and geometric shapes overlaid.

In the second example, there's lots of space around the text. The elements don't feel quite so crowded, so the image isn't as intense as the first one.

There's also extra space between the two paragraphs of body text. We don't want a lot of extra space between paragraphs—a little can go a long way to helping provide that necessary break for our eyes. 

For folks who may have difficulty reading big blocks of text, paragraph breaks also make it easier to read the content and absorb more information with less effort.

In addition to space around text blocks, and in between paragraphs, there's a few other places to think about spacing:

  • The space between letters can be the difference between reading words (faster) and reading letters (slower).
  • The space between lines of text can also impact how fast people can read the text.
  • Keep text away from distracting background elements to prevent legibility issues caused by overlapping elements.
  • Keep spaces between headings, subheadings, and text consistent so it's clear which information belongs together if you have multiple headings or subheadings.

Those are just a few tips to get you started on bringing your graphic skills to new heights.

Missed the typography best practices? I got you: check out the typography post.

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