Posts Tagged: design

I Need Space! White Space

White Space bluefeet blog post by Lilli Cloud


Ever open an email or see a PowerPoint with the wall of words? It shuts me down.

I’ve gotten to the point where if I see a presenter with a PowerPoint slide that’s crammed with text, I have to avert my eyes. It’s too painful and distracting. And I can’t hear a thing they’re saying.

Same with email. I had a friend who always wrote her emails all in one, giant paragraph. Even if it wasn’t very long (and sometimes it was), as soon as I saw the wall of copy, I closed it to read “later.” It completely overwhelmed me in the middle of a busy day.

White space is a critical design element, but you don’t have to be a graphic artist to use it.

Here are five ways to use white space in day-to-day business writing:

Short Paragraphs

Throw out what you learned in high school English. A paragraph doesn’t have to have a topic sentence, several supporting sentences and a conclusion.

Instead, group common, logical ideas together. Hit return, and move onto the next thing.

It’s okay to have only one sentence in a paragraph.

Simple Sentences

Short is best. Multiple clauses rarely belong in business writing. Instead, hit the period and start a new sentence. This will result in crisp, clear writing.

Even the space after the period (only one is needed) helps open up your copy. More important, it opens up space in the brain of your readers.

Active Subheads

Use them to communicate, rather than as a simple label – so a reader gets the gist just from scanning the subheads. This will guide the reader through your topics. You can do this even in an email of only a few paragraphs.

Use Bullets and Numbers

You know this, but you don’t always do it. Reading things in a bulleted list is much easier to comprehend.

Simple Words

Choose use instead of utilize. Please!

For PowerPoint, consider doing some of your slides Apple-esque, with just a few words on a slide and nothing else. Ahhhh. I’m more relaxed just thinking about it.

For those of you concerned about being too abrupt, remember what your mother told you — please and thank you go a long way. Open with a short, polite greeting and close with another.

It is possible to be both thoughtful and efficient. In fact, being efficient is thoughtful to your reader.

Everything Won’t Get You Anywhere

bluefeet blog post by Lilli Cloud House of Blues NAMM


There’s always too much to say, always. The problem is, that means there’s also too much to read.

Every business wants to be sure that people know what it offers, how it’s different and what you can expect from it. But so often we lead with the head when the way to a sale starts with the heart. Read the Rest

Your Story in 10 Images or Less


Newsweek-Obama-at-50Is a saying a cliché if it’s true? In this case, that a picture really is worth a thousands words. Since we’re not willing to read a thousands words so often these days, it’s more apt than ever.

Infographics have always been popular. There’s even a site dedicated to them: But lately they’ve popped up as a regular feature in Newsweek, one of the most mainstream of media.

One of the most consistent relationships in my adult life has been with Newsweek. I’ve been a subscriber since college, when a journalism professor went down the long list of all the things I had to read regularly. I picked Newsweek because then at least I’d have a summary of the news when I didn’t get through the rest of his list. Read the Rest

Logo Makeovers

One thing is certain about a new company logo – some people will hate it, others will love it. But everyone will have an opinion. Change is hard, even when it’s good.

Many companies used the recession to make changes – to reposition, rebrand and even relaunch. The goal is to connect with how people feel today, and create trust for the future, be that in the next hour, year or generation.

Some branding changes were welcome, others were startling. Some grew on us and others bombed. Read the Rest