Positive / Negative Space


[ Assignment ]

 Create high contrast positive/negative space artwork.

Here are the two examples I made: What do you think? Colored vs. Black negative space?


[ Learning Objectives ]

(1) I can create positive space by transforming magazine pages into vertical strips.

(2) I can cut a design out of my negative space, allowing my positive space to be enhanced.

[ Materials ]

Construction Paper, Matte board OR another piece of construction paper, magazines, glue sticks, scissors OR exacto knife

[ Steps ]

1. Cut out magazine strips. To add interest, use pages that vary in color and texture.

2. Glue strips side by side onto the matte board (or construction paper). Set aside. This will be the “positive space”

3. On the construction paper, draw an interesting design using repeated shapes. Small and larger versions of the shape will add interest. This will be the “negative space”. Cut out using an exacto knife or scissors.

** note that this step could allow for students to make small sketches, and then the student could chose the best design to draw for the final project.

4. Glue the “positive space” to the “negative space”

[ Artist Connections ]

David Habben :


David Habben created these images as part of the Wall Street Journal Ad Campaign.   They relate to this project because of the use of printed media and the use of positive/negative space.

Cheryl Molnar:

Wish I could find a picture of her 😦


The artwork of Cheryl Molnar relates to our project because of her use of long strips of paper adhered to a surface (her surface is birch panels while ours is matte board).

[ How is this project related to graphic design? ]


Handeling of printed material to create new images.


What you leave out (negative space) is just as important to what you leave in (positive space). It helps to define a subject which in turn makes it clearer for the viewer to understand <– essential for any graphic design because the main goal of a design is to communicate an idea, and you would never want a viewer to get so lost in space that they don’t understand what you are trying to communicate to them.





 In logo design, negative space is a cost saving technique. How? It reduces the amount of colors in a print job that are needed to produce a logo.


****Since its summer, I won’t be adding any student art examples of this project until the fall


One thought on “Positive / Negative Space

  1. Pingback: Positive/ Negative Space Continued | Mrs.Dahl

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