I know I talk a lot about what to include in your branding.
Your strategy. Your hierarchy. More of “you".
Your logo. Your fonts. Your colors.
But have you thought about what NOT to include? Because what’s NOT in your brand is as important as what IS in it.
White space (also called "negative space") is the blank space between all the other elements. It allows the important areas to "pop,” helps determine hierarchy, and gives your eye a quiet place to rest.
And if you think it’s important for your brand, it can absolutely transform your life.
Keep reading to get the full scoop, along with some tips to get you from frazzled to feeling more sane again. You’re worth it!
Too many clients think that white space = wasted space, and therefore wasted space = wasted money. Not true. Pages and logos that are chock-a-block full of words, images, and graphics are overwhelming to look at and to read. And the last thing you want is to deliver something that no one reads. THAT = wasted money.
Want to see the beauty of negative space? Take a look at a few examples:
The World Wildlife Fund panda doesn't have a head, right? That's just a blank space between his front paws and his ears. The arrow in FedEx between the “E” and “x” isn't really there either. And, no, that cute little bunny isn't holding a carrot.
White space is powerful and memorable. Don’t ever doubt it.
So let’s get a little personal, shall we?
White space. Margin. Breathing room. Down time. That space between the "need to's" and "have to's." Whatever you call it, we all need it. We aren't built to go full tilt 24/7. We are created for Sabbath. Rest. Refreshment.
It’s perhaps at this time of year more than any other (except maybe September?!) that all our white space seems to vanish into thin air. And the peace and joy we so desperately want to feel vanish right along with it.
So how can we avoid the January hangover of stress, exhaustion, and disappointment? Here are a few suggestions.
1 | Know your purpose.
This goes back to being intentional. What do you MOST want to do during this holiday season? Throw open your doors to as many friends and neighbors as possible? Plan quiet, meaningful activities with your spouse and children? Care for someone in need? Hunker away in a little cabin in the woods? Try making that amazing craft or dessert you saw on Pinterest? Before you start writing in more “stuff” on your calendar, first pause and evaluate whether it fits with your overall purpose.
2 | Know what’s important.
Even when we’re being intentional with our “yesses", there can still be way too much on our plates. Try listing things in order of importance. Schedule in what’s non-negotiable and be willing to let go of (or postpone) what you can’t reasonably fit in. When you make the time to do what matters most, you can more easily let go of the smaller things.
3 | Say “no” without guilt.
There will often be more requests and invitations than you can (or want to) accept. And that’s ok! Be gracious, kind, and honest. A simple “thank you for... (inviting me/asking for my help/whatever fits the situation), but my schedule is already full so I won’t be able to... (attend/help/whatever).” Also remember that you don’t have to give an answer on the spot. If it's something that really interests you and aligns with what's most important, a simple “let me check my schedule and get back to you” is fine. But remember to get back to them!
One final note.
Often the demands on our time and energy come from others. But sometimes the pressure comes from within ourselves. The internet can wreak havoc on our ideas of how we as women “should” dress/decorate/spend/mother/wrap gifts/entertain/run our business/you name it. Please don’t let your real, wonderful life pale in comparison to someone else’s curated online life. Don’t make your decisions based on what you think you “should” be doing because so-and-so does it. It will suck the life and passion right out of you. One of my "areas of improvement" this past year has been to let go of the “should-ing” and choose to do what works for me, my family, and my business instead. I'm a slow work in progress, but I’d love for you to join me on the journey!
I truly hope that you can make more white space this Christmas for whom and what you love most, and then keep the same momentum going as you plan for 2018! It doesn't happen automatically, but it IS possible.
I’d love to know in the comments how you make space for what’s most important to you.