Almost fifty years ago Italo Calvino wrote in his travel notes in Iran, inviting his readers to reflect not always and only on everything that presents itself as “full” in our life, but also on emptiness. And this, it should be emphasized, is also true in the world of graphics: very often we see prints on posters, on leaflets, on business cards, and even on customized sweaters that do not respect the balance, not leaving, in fact, enough empty.
The Horror Vacui
We know a lot of prints in which the very concept of emptiness is completely canceled. After all, horror vacui is a concept that has always been present in the world of graphics, art, furniture, and architecture. Think of the desire to fill every space with Islamic arabesques, or the fear of emptiness inherent in Lombard artistic works that have come down to us. The void, however, in the world of graphics and therefore of advertising communication, has a very important function.
The Function Of Emptiness In Graphics
Those who think that emptiness, in graphics, should be interpreted and understood as absence are wrong. White – or the color behind the object presented in a uniform way – is not a passive background, but on the contrary, it is an active element, with the specific role of enhancing our graphic design, restoring the necessary visual harmony. And that’s not all: in advertising posters, banners, roll-ups, it is essential to get the message to the public immediately, with a single glance, and the void allows us to do just that, making communication extremely effective.
The History Of Emptiness In Graphics
To give the importance that the void deserves in the world of graphics and art were the artists of the Bauhaus, in the 1920s, as well as the exponents of Constructivism in the Soviet Union. Geometric shapes begin to stand out on the empty space which, thanks to their isolation, gain value and power. The discourse will then be resumed in industrial design, with refined and sometimes even elitist minimalism, which is still cultivated by many graphic designers today. But be careful: we must not exaggerate even with the excess of minimalism, pursuing a concept of “less is more” which, if pushed too far, can be completely counterproductive to the world of advertising and promotion, which for aesthetic and artistic purposes must also always prefer the communicative ones.
So yes, it is good to be able to leave space for the void in graphics for marketing and advertising, without getting too carried away, perhaps driven by the meandering fashion of minimalism. We must seek balance, harmony, to offer a clear and calm scenario to the public, in order to make our message evident and even memorable.