White Space

White space is exactly that - space that is white and empty. It is the absence of image or text. In design, it is as important as color, layout, or type. White space can be a transition element that ties typography and image together. White space allows the viewer to visually breathe. Balancing positive and negative spacing is key to aesthetic composition.

With direct mail, such as in some types of magazine, newspaper, and yellow pages advertising, white space is limited in order to get as much vital information on to the page as possible. A page crammed full of text or graphics with very little white space runs the risk of appearing busy, cluttered, and is typically difficult to read. To compensate the spacing between letters and their typeface are critical. The easiest way to make a design piece look down-market is to fill every area of white space.

Carefully planned use of white space can give a page a classic, elegant, or rich appearance. The majority of upscale, designer brands use design layouts that have an abundance of white space and very little text. White space can create the perception of luxury, sophistication, and high quality. The more white space and minimalism, the more expensive the brand is.

(left) Macro White Space, (right) Micro White Space

White space can be further subdivided into "macro white space" and "micro white space". Macro white space can be defined as the space between major elements in a composition. Micro white space can be defined as the smaller elements and their spacing, such as paragraph and line spacing.

The most successful white space is carefully crafted and exists seamlessly in a layout. It looks intentional and to the untrained eye goes undetected. That is where white space and the "Keep It Simple" rule of design go hand in hand. Generally the more white space in a composition the more legible and effective communication will be.


The Devil In The White City

 "The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness At The Fair That Changed America" written by Erik Larson is a true story about contrasts and that truth is stranger than fiction.

The tale of 1893 Chicago intertwines the lives of two men - the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World's Fair, striving to secure America's place in the world; and the crafty serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. The fascinating book paints a picture of the Gilded Age and foreshadows the American century to come. A lot of firsts were presented at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition: the Ferris Wheel, Shredded Wheat, Cracker Jack, and incandescent light bulbs. And even over 100 years later, the details of the serial killer's methods are still so very disturbing and grisly.


Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

As part of our trip to San Francisco last fall, we visited Ripley's Believe It Or Not. The museum features two floors and over 10,000 square feet filled with the strange, the unusual, and the unbelievable, and sometimes disturbing. There was a lot to look at including strange people and odd animals, weird and wacky art, tribal and oriental artifacts. It was cool to capture the sites on camera.

The Great Fur Bearing Trout Myth from Canada
Tribal Jewelry

Golden Gate Bridge Original Suspender Cable

Ancient Chinese Ivory Tusk Carving

Mummified Hand

Ostrich Egg Hand Carving

Jimi Hendrix Portrait out of Cassette Tapes

Jungle Scene Out of Shoelaces

Toilet Paper Wedding Dress
Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Detail
Madonna Portrait Out of Junk Mail

Van Gogh Painting on the Wings of a Butterfly

Disturbing Human Skin Silhouette


Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life

After watching the television movie "Coco Chanel" and its portrayal of the fashion icon's mistress life as love stories I was drawn to the beautifully designed book "Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life" written by Justine Picardie. The book mimics Chanel's fashion philosophies into a designed form. The use of classically modern typefaces, white space throughout the pages with type and images, and the integration of fashion illustrations give the 343 page book life.
The biography unveils the secret world of Chanel's story and what lies beneath the glossy surface of a mythic fashion icon. Delving into Chanel's childhood abandonment and her passionate and turbulent relationships, the books paints a portrait at how Coco Chanel made herself into her most powerful creation. Not only is the story compelling, it leaves you with a blurred vision between truth and myth which is essentially the true heart of fashion. Leaving the book you gain incite into Chanel's questionable past with Nazi collaboration and her use of royal connections to avoid trial.

Coco Chanel died in 1971 at the age of eighty-seven. But her legacy lives on.


The Bitter Winter of 2010/11

If you are like me you are itching to enjoy the outdoors after the everlasting winter of 2010/11 we are experiencing in southern Alberta. It seems we have had it too mild the last couple of winters and now we are paying with the drastic temperature ranges, the weekly snowfalls, and the icy conditions. But this winter weather system is not limited to our area of the world. It has hit areas across Canada and the United States (New York and Chicago) making national and international news headlines. The biggest issue the amount of snow.

Spring are you listening? I know we are still in February...


Canon RAW, Digital Photo Professional, and Picture Styles

I have recently delved into the world of RAW format photography. RAW contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of your digital camera.

Canon offers good accompanying software to work with this format. The EOS Utility allows you to have easier control of importing your photos directly from your digital camera. Then Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) is used to process your RAW images. The interface is more intuitive for color correction and exposure compensation than Adobe Photoshop with all of its bells and whistles. What I love about the system is the Picture Styles (pf2) that you can import or create and save or batch apply. DPP's interface also allows you to easily compare your original and corrected image side by side. When you are happy with your adjusted image it is super easy to export into a formatted image compatible with Photoshop. You can always go back to your RAW image and will not lose your original data.

Canon's Digital Learning Center offers some great overviews and tutorials on taking advantage of the power of Digital Photo Professional. I still have to go through some of these tutorials myself.

Here are some screenshots of me experimenting with DPP and my photographs of peacock feathers. On my final image I have added more drama and saturation.



Kodak Hawk-Eye No. 2 Camera

The Janke Family's Kodak Hawk-Eye No.2 Box Camera
This Kodak Hawk-Eye No.2 Camera was the first camera to my knowledge that the Janke family owned since immigrating to Canada in 1910. Based on my research the camera was produced somewhere between 1922 - 1925 in Toronto, Canada. The box camera features two viewfinders (one for portrait and the other for landscape) in a metal construction. There is a metal lever that activates the shutter. You can move it up or down depending on its original state. On the back of the metal box camera features a lid to load the film packs where the image would be applied to create the photo. Based on my research the Kodak Film Packs featured 12 cut celluloid films, that were placed in the back of the camera and were activated by pulling a paper tab that loaded a fresh film into place after each exposure. The paper tab system acted as a basic exposure counter. On the top there are two metal pins to hold where there used to be a metal handle.
The Camera Has Two Viewfinders - One for Portraits and The Other For Landscapes

You Can Faintly See A Preview Of A Tree In The Viewfinder

The Lid Where The Film Packs Were Placed

The Lens - Available Only In One Shutter Speed

A Preview Of A Tree Through The Viewfinder
I love how this camera has a smudge of ivory glossy paint on its face and when you hold it up to a lit scene you can see a faint black and white image through the viewfinder. It is amazing the quality of prints that this camera produced and how well the negatives have held up for close to a century. I think if I could get my hands of film this camera would probably still take photos. A new project?


  © 2010 Design by Stephanie Janke - sjjdesign.com

Back to TOP