trapped space

Effective Use of White Space in Graphic Design

The Community of Inquiry Framework

As I continue to create the graphics needed for my online course about the CoI Framework, I remembered that I needed a banner for my website.  I focused on how to effectively use white space as I created my banner.  White space does not have to be “white”, per se.  Essentially, white space can be described as negative space, or the portions of the screen that are not filled with text or graphics.  White space is used effectively between lines of text and paragraphs, if you’d like to compare white space to something you commonly see.

The justification for my graphic above in relation to white space demonstrates the variety of ways white space can be effective.

Justification of White Space-Considered Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

Lohr (2008) describes white space as a way to draw attention to important content.  The white space and symmetry used in the heading are to help the user focus.  Initially, I was concerned about using the graphic I selected because I was afraid that it was causing trapped space.  Trapped space can draw the user’s attention to parts of the page that are unimportant (Lohr, 2008).  I decided that trapped space was not a problem in the graphic because of the angle at which the graphic is, thus almost giving it a three-dimensional effect (not flat on the page, or only two-dimensional).  Also, the lightness of the dashes between the people helps to not create a trapped space effect.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He said that the white space was adequate.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I have not made any changes because the feedback was positive.  I will if my classmates indicate a change needs to be made.


Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education