White Space: nothing becomes something

apple_mac_adsCertainly the things you say in and ad convey something about your product.  What about what you don’t say?

The adage “less is more” has been proven with a study by the Journal of Consumer Research.

The study demonstrated that ads containing lots of white space lead customers to perceive the brand as:

  • More prestigious
  • More sophisticated
  • Trustworthy
  • Higher in product quality and leadership
  • Lower in risk than the same ad without white space

Researchers noted that these associations go back to the 1960’s minimalist movement when people were moving away from artwork they felt was deception or full of illusion. The removal of excessive imagery and language makes the information in the ad appear more truthful, and makes the advertiser appear more truthful.

A note about white space: If you want to create a sophisticated and trustworthy brand, say less – not more – in the ads you create. Also, “white space” doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of color.  It just “simplified” — remove the unnecessary and enjoy the simplicity of the message (see Apple’s ad).

Source: “How Nothing Became Something: White Space, Rhetoric, History, and Meaning John W. Pracejus, G. Douglas Olsen, and Thomas C. O’Guinn. Journal of Consumer Research, 2006. Click here for a PDF of the report.