I run quite a lot of poster design workshops. One of the challenges for those creating a poster for the first time is resisting the temptation to fill all the space available – after all there is so much to write about!
Space is important in poster design. It’s a mistake to call it space, even worse to call it empty space. Designers refer to it as negative space – an odd concept, but it is meant to suggest that it serves a purpose. Negative space helps organise content; items that belong together as a group are placed closer together, groups of items are separated from each other by using more space between them. Take a look at commercially designed posters and see how they use negative space.
If the concept is new to you, I recommend reading White Space is Not Your Enemy – a very accessible introduction to some key graphic design principles.
Space works in other contexts as well. Listen to good presenters – the pauses when they are not saying anything are as important as the words they say!