Live small, feel big.
As a design student, one of the biggest challenges I face everyday is finding white space – a clean area within my pieces for the eye to rest on. I personally am not an adherently simplistic person – I love colour, decoration, variety, and a touch of chaos. I pack my canvases to the edge, fill my spaces to the brim, and then I step back and realize – I’ve misplaced my white space.
I’m not the only one who struggles with this principle. Collecting clutter and accumulating excess is a norm in our culture. Through consumerism we are encouraged to spend our money on more items for our home, increasingly fanciful foods, and piles of pampering products. Our careers often pressure us to put in the extra hours and spread ourselves thin in the name of a more impressive pay cheque, but with less regard to our home life and personal relationships. Even the digital outlets – though designed to bring order – as a whole, create a mish-mash of data that is a challenge to sift through.
In typography it is argued that it is the white space – the space that surrounds each character and defines its place – that makes a certain letterform so successful, so eye pleasing. With this concept in mind, perhaps it is balancing environmental white space that is the secret to a happy life of order and clarity. So how do we find this white space in life? How do we de-clutter, pare down, and simplify?
Zoom out. Observe the spaces that surround you and the people that you spend your time with. What could you do with less of? Are there pressures from your environment that leave you squeezed within time? Are there everyday expectations that push you to the brink of unnecessary exhaustion? Is the clutter and chaos of your life something you can manage, or with some adjustments, could everything just fit a little better?
Being content with the essentials is often the moral of white space. Being able to critically decide if a new addition is necessary or in fact just excess often results in more effective design and pleasing composition. This principle can be mirrored in our lives, with less stuff comes less worry; when we live small, we leave room to feel big.
We are the product of our environment and we live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Comox Valley is rich with white space – beautiful, wide-open spaces where we can really breath. We must remember to find value in this natural white space, because we always fit in the great outdoors. Its no wonder a hike or a bike ride clears our mind and helps us think clearly, it is the perfect white space to design your life.
Written by Matia Meyer