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Escher and The Positive Effects of Negative Space on Your Logo

Whether you're shopping in a store or browsing online, you're inundated with hundreds of different options, brands and logos. Those very logos may be what draws someone to your business and makes you stand out.

Before my career, I learnt how useful negative space is in Art and Design while studying at art school. We discovered how essential it is within graphic design, and in particular, how vital it is if you want to create an eye-catching logo.

What is negative space?

In case you were wondering, negative space is the background of an image, the areas surrounding the main subject where nothing is going on and the main subject itself is the positive space - unfamiliar with this concept? Most people were until the artist Mauritis Cornelis Escher brought it into light in the 20th Century.

Escher (1898-1972) was a world famous Dutch graphic artist whose mathematical interest lead to the production of conceptual, ground breaking graphic art. Escher toyed with positive and negative space, producing 137 Regular Division of the Plane drawings (where shapes are tiled in a way that produces other recognisable shapes between them) and numerous famous works including 'Day and Night' and many others I'm sure you will have seen.

The positives of using negative space in design

You may be wondering how seemingly empty space can be such an asset and why on earth it is used by designers, like me, all the time. Let me explain. While negative space literally is nothing, it is actually filled with purpose and careful planning. It can provide an extra layer to your logo, making those who spot the subtle feature feel included in a shared understanding with you, and consequentially grabbing their attention for even longer. You can show potential customers exactly what you want them to see and present your business exactly as you like, through drawing attention to a specific point of focus of your choice.

An example of an effective use of negative space is the FedEX logo, where an arrow is revealed in the space between the letters E and X. Once you've noticed this, you will never miss it again and you respect the business more for their intelligence and creativity.

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