How to Focus Customers’ Attention with Empty Space

by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved

How to Focus Customers' Attention with Empty Space, by Rena Klingenberg Jewelry Making Journal

Empty space is a powerful tool for focusing people’s attention on something.

For example, imagine a wall in an art gallery with one jewelry picture hanging on it:

One jewelry picture hanging on a gallery wall

We focus automatically on that one picture.

All that empty space around the picture makes our eyes zoom to the only object present.

Now imagine the same art gallery wall with a grouping of 15 jewelry pictures hanging on it:

Fifteen jewelry pictures hanging on a gallery wall

Whoa!  Our original picture is still there – it’s the same size and in the exact same spot on the wall.

But the lack of empty space around the individual items makes our eyes travel around and spend less time on any one picture.

So how can we show people more than one thing at a time – and still get them to focus on things?

By de-cluttering and putting empty space around the focal points.

For example, people can focus on each item in this collection, one at a time:

Eight jewelry pictures on a gallery wall, with empty space between them

Here, they can see the star attraction, and then move on to see a related grouping:

Seven jewelry pictures on a gallery wall – with one surrounded by empty space to focus attention

I think empty space is one of the most important elements in design.

It’s a very effective tool for directing people’s attention anywhere you want it.

When you’re designing anything for your customers to see, think about what you really want them to focus on.

For example, when you’re designing things like

  • your jewelry booth displays
  • your jewelry photos
  • your business cards
  • your jewelry blog or website
  • your brochures, flyers, and other marketing literature

. . . where would empty spaces make a more powerful effect?

What could you leave out to help customers focus where you want them to?

Deciding what to leave out often makes a greater impact than deciding what to include.

Rena Klingenberg
Jewelry Making Journal

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