Coursework part 2 – White space

“First, look at some examples of how established designers have used white space within their work. Think about how the positive elements of the design work dynamically with the negative space of the blank areas. How are these designers using space in their work? How does it draw the eye, support your reading or convey a sense of luxury?

The Space Gallery has galleries in Bond Street, London and Chelsea, New York. It is a commercial gallery specialising in famous painters, printmakers, craftspeople and photographers. They want you to prepare an art catalogue for a forthcoming retrospective of an artist of your choice.

The catalogue should highlight who the artist is, their work and titles, and present a brief biography. It should also reflect the gallery’s ‘white cube’ status in two of the most important art centres in the world. Use as many pages as you want to create an artefact that elevates the work you’ve chosen by giving it room to breathe but at the same time creating a design that feels fresh and contemporary.

Choose which artist you want to represent and use VADS, Bridgeman Education Library and Oxford Art Online to gather the necessary source material to work with. Please remember that there may be issues with posting images gathered from these sources onto your blogs.

Reflect on how you’ve used white space effectively in your designs.”


Although I assume the phrase established designers probably means people we can refer to by name, but the first example of white space I noticed was from this kitchen catalogue.


Art Catalogues

An interesting variation in format here


Perhaps more the kind of thing I was expecting to see – one full bleed image, and some smaller ones surrounded by plenty of whitespace.


A more unusual book, with very vibrant colour, and a sort of deconstructed feel with the open (bright orange) binding.


Large impactful images, and I see the text has very generous margins which again allows you to linger, and conveys a sense of peace and ‘high quality’ presentation – nothing is rushed or cramped here.


Plenty of white space here – no clutter – a print version of a gallery space.


Sarah Lucas – such a cool woman! Images grouped together, with white space.


Perhaps less serious looking than some. I like the colour combination


How minimalist can you get?? Is that one of those absolutely gorgeous looking catalogues you pay loads of money for and wonder why the hell you bothered? Just saying…


My choice of subject

I was debating which artist or photographer to feature in my brochure. I wanted to pick work I really like, and nothing very contemporary, as I didn’t think I would have a chance at finding any imagery I would have permission to use… I considered Dorothea Lange, and Paul Klee…Both of which are of course fantastic.



But I decided on Franz Marc, as its equally gorgeous work, that I’m less familiar with.  Here you see I did check permissions carefully, and I’m ready to gather images.


Happily enough there were plenty to chose from, which I eagerly downloaded, then got to work on paper with thinking about a grid. I found it really helpful to actually plot my measurements on paper, as its always difficult to visualise dimensions translated from the screen.

This is the size I picked – landscape as most of his images are in that format too. Whether this is a a non standard size that would actually be more expensive to print would be something to check with a printer if this was real life.


Doubling my grid, as I felt the first one was rather widely spaced


Some quick thumbnails


Plotting image placement


Arranging my pages in sequence


I wrote down which images I would like to place on each page, baring in mind I might want to re-think things once I’d opened up Indesign.

As you can see from my references, I watched A LOT of Indesign videos in relation to grids. It often helps to get various people’s view point on a subject, as one persons way of working can be a lot more stream-lined than another.

I created my grid on my master page, on a separate layer, that enabled me to turn the visibility on and off, to prevent mental/visual overload.

I worked in sequence, starting form the front cover – my first job was to choose a feature image, and decide on the Typography:


I wanted something that was expressive, but not too retro. Weirdly, as I look at this afresh, I really like the top one! Never mind, I chose the bottom one, which is called Moony Cat. The letterforms are slightly ‘unfinished’; they look like they are just forming or re-shaping themselves, as Marc was very interested in form, and abstraction, it seemed to suit the mood.

This is a wood cut – I didn’t know he did any print work until I researched this – they are lovely, but I wanted more colour for my cover…


Here’s my chosen painting


I thought it needed a bit more innovation on my part, so I decided to rotate the text, I think this works OK


Next I wrote a small bio of Franz Marc based on my research. As we were allowed quite a bit of flexibility, I set myself the challenge of sticking to my word count, rather than ‘cheating’ and making it up as I go along!

As I’d watched so many instructional videos, I did consider making a grid of multiple images, like so. I think they look good, but it doesn’t seem right to crop all his work so drastically to fit my layout.


As I imported images and began my layout, new ideas formed, and I didn’t  stick rigidly to my paper plan. However it was an extremely useful starting point. Here’s my finished work.

Gallery Booklet






Larger images




These images were lovely to work with, and the colour scheme was simply provided by Marc, as there was a wealth to sample. I think the cover and the first spread work well, but the next (p3-4) pages might be OK individually, perhaps lack contrast in combination – they are quite similar. Next (p5-6)  is the pencil sketches and the Blue-Black fox, the contrast is much better, though I think if you are going to extend a full bleed onto another page, maybe it needs to come further left? The back cover is minimalist – deliberately so – I’m trying to look classy?! I’m imagining this printed on heavy gloss paper, hopefully showing off the vibrancy of the artwork, and making the white space look luxurious.


Indesign tutorials:

Parts of a grid

Designing to a grid

Creating grids in Indesign

Working with grids in Indesign

Creating a modular grid

Taming baseline girds

How to create flexible girds in Indesign

Franz Marc:



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