Episode #113
The Space Between The Objects

I talk about a hidden part of the creative pursuit that most people aren’t aware of.

Music and links from this episode

  1. The Entertainer (1902, piano roll) by Scott Joplin
  2. Belview by C. Scott
  3. Knuckle Up by C. Scott
  4. En Croisiere by Juanitos

Line-by-line notes

  1. Hello. It’s me, Craig.
  2. Before we get into today’s show, I wanted to quickly talk about something new I’m working on
  3. I’m starting a new podcast soon
  4. There’s lots of things I don’t know about it yet
  5. Like the name, the final format, when it’ll be released
  6. But I’m really excited by it
  7. Because I’ll be interviewing designers and creatives that I love
  8. We’ll be talking about geeky stuff from the design and creative worlds
  9. And I’m really looking forward to it
  10. The reason I’m telling you about this so early is because I need your help
  11. If you know of a designer or a creative that you’d love to hear have a chat with me
  12. OR, you are a designer or a creative and you’d love to have a chat with me
  13. Ping me on twitter at craigburgess or email me at craig@askadesigneranything.com and we’ll go from there
  14. Promo, done.
  15. INTRO
  16. There’s a thing in any creative endeavour
  17. That’s actually more important than the work itself
  18. It’s older than time, and it’s a concept that’s been around forever
  19. It’s older than this song
  20. And some might say that to become a great designer, your understanding of it has to be absolute
  21. And most of all, it’s something you’ve probably never considered and even known it’s a thing
  22. I’m talking about space
  23. No, not the kind of space in Star Trek
  24. The other kind
  25. This is AADA, and I’m Craig Burgess
  26. PLAY MID SONG
  27. Negative Space
  28. White Space
  29. Leave some room to breathe
  30. It’s called different things by different people
  31. Negative space as a concept is pretty simple
  32. All it refers to is the space around or between the main subject of an image
  33. In visual mediums, it’s the space where nothing is in the piece
  34. It’ll be the spare space that’s left blank around something
  35. To an untrained eye, it doesn’t look like an intentional thing
  36. When you’re reading a book, the words don’t go to the very edge of the page
  37. And that’s intentional, to aid your reading consumption and make it as comfortable as possible
  38. But not only did somebody design where the words will go
  39. And how much space is between them and what size the letters should be
  40. Somebody also designed the space, the area where nothing is
  41. It’s often an alien concept to some clients too
  42. Who are always keen to see it as wasted space
  43. Space that should be filled with something else
  44. But once the negative space is filled up
  45. It doesn’t have any power anymore, it’s not negative space now
  46. It’s one of the rare areas of life where nothing is more powerful than something
  47. It’s a concept that’s important in any artistic composition
  48. Across “proper art”, photography, design, even music and writing
  49. There’s a famous quote about it by Artur Schnabel
  50. the pauses between the notes – ah, that is where the art resides
  51. The concept of the pause shows up in lots of areas of life
  52. Pausing to reflect
  53. Pausing to catch your breath
  54. Space to breathe
  55. Clearing your mind to create space
  56. Space is seen as the holy grail of calm and peacefulness
  57. It’s seen as a way to true enlightenment
  58. And this also makes sense in graphic design
  59. It’s often said that you’re not a proper designer until you can fully command negative space
  60. Until you fully understand what to leave out, rather than what to add in
  61. I like the Japanese phrase ma, which is roughly translated as gap, space or pause
  62. Even better, I love the description of it from wikipedia
  63. It is best described as a consciousness of place,
  64. not in the sense of an enclosed three-dimensional entity,
  65. but rather the simultaneous awareness of form and non-form deriving from an intensification of vision.
  66. Ma is not something that is created by compositional elements;
  67. it is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements.
  68. Therefore, ma can be defined as an experiential place understood with emphasis on interval
  69. Deep, right?
  70. You see this spiritual link to negative space popping up over and over again
  71. No matter what creative craft you subscribe to
  72. A command of negative space is seen as a badge of honour that shows you understand your craft
  73. That you’ve reached a higher level of consciousness
  74. And if we want to get even deeper with this, which of course we do
  75. There’s even rules to achieve the perfect negative space
  76. It’s called the Golden Ratio
  77. This is a mathematical formula that dictates a perfect beauty that pops up in lots of different areas of design
  78. The egyptian pyramids were created to the formula
  79. The perfect examples of a human face, what we call beautiful, follows the golden ratio
  80. And our brains are hard-wired to prefer objects and images that use the Golden Ratio
  81. Whether you like the complicated japanese description of negative space
  82. Or preferred my more simple one
  83. It can’t be denied that space in any composition is the single most important thing to master
  84. So the next time you see something
  85. Instead of looking at the object
  86. Look at the space around it
  87. And consider how well designed it is
  88. OUTRO
  89. This was AADA. I’m Craig Burgess.
  90. Music featured in this episode was
    1. The Entertainer (1902, piano roll) by Scott Joplin
    2. Belview by C. Scott
    3. Knuckle Up by C. Scott
    4. En Croisiere by Juanitos
  91. For a line-by-line run down of this episode, go to askadesignernaything.com/ep113
  92. I’m back tomorrow for another episode of AADA

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