What is Negative Space? (Plus Tips for Using it in Videos)

Megan O'Neill


We were recently joined by Getty Images’ Senior Video Art Director, Alwyn Gosford, for an educational event about holiday marketing with video. Alwyn provided a slew of valuable tips for searching our stock library of over 1 million photos and video clips from Getty Images, as well as tips for choosing the right images for your videos. One of his tips, in particular, was related to negative space.

What is negative space?

Negative space is design concept that you may or may not already be familiar with. It sparked some excitement during our event and, as a result, we wanted to dive in a little deeper. We’ll share a definition of negative space, and provide some tips for how to use it in your videos.

What is negative space?

Negative space is the space surrounding, and in between, the objects or subjects of a photo or video clip. You can think of it as any extra blank space that exists around what the photo or video clip showcases. In the gif above, the negative space in each of the photos is where the text has been placed.

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

In art and design, negative space is often used creatively in such a way that the extra space actually forms a design or subject of its own. Creative Bloq has put together a fantastic article with 22 brilliant examples, including the FedEx logo. Have you ever noticed that the negative space between the “E” and the “x” forms an arrow?

Negative Space Logo

But you don’t have to be a designer or an artist to use negative space to your advantage. We’ll dive into how you can use images and video clips with negative space when creating videos.

Using negative space photography in your videos

Negative space photography or video clips work nicely in videos, especially when they’ve got text on them, which brings us to our first tip—using negative space to leave space for text.

Alwyn Gosford shared that one of the most useful things you can do when searching the library of Getty Images photos and video clips in Animoto is to add the term “negative space.” He says, “A lot of the photography that we have is designed to be used on things like magazines, front covers, things with product placement in them, so we deliberately compose with areas of plain color and plain texture.”

As illustrated in the gif we shared above, these plain color and plain texture areas make it easy to put text on your clip or your still without obscuring the main part of the shot. It also makes your text easier to read. To see what we mean, check out the two examples in the following gif—one with negative space and one without.

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Photos and video clips with negative space can also help keep a viewers’ attention by drawing their eye around the screen as the video plays.

Have you created a video you love using photos and video clips with negative space? We’d love to see it! Share a link with us below. You can also head over to join our community on Facebook for more video tips, ideas, feedback, and inspiration. Happy video making!