Business card design is full of many complex graphic terms, and nine times out of ten you won't ever need to know what they mean or what their purpose is to create an attention-grabbing business card. However, there is one term that everyone should learn about, a term which graphic designers will extol the virtues of all day long: whitespace. Also known as ‘negative space', whitespace is a crucial element of any design creation, whether it's a website, a magazine spread or a business card. It doesn't necessarily mean ‘white' space on a card; it is simple defined as an empty area which isn't covered with images or text. So why is it so important? Here are five reasons. 1. Balance A lot of great design is all about achieving a careful balance. This doesn't necessarily have to mean that everything is symmetrical, it is more focused on the idea of minimising clutter. Whitespace will help to balance business cards and the content on them; having whitespace on your card will make it appear much less cluttered, which can only be a good thing. 2. Readability It shouldn't be too difficult even for design amateurs to grasp the idea that when text and images aren't all cluttered and grouped together, it makes them easier to read and take note of. Business cards aren't about cramming whole paragraphs of information into a few inches of space, they are more about emphasising key facts, and whitespace helps to do this. 3. Comprehension A study from back in 2004 found that pages with the appropriate amount of whitespace resulted in readers retaining 20% more of the information contained there. What more evidence could you need to incorporate a good deal of whitespace? If you get the balance right, the recipients of your business card will remember more of your details than if you simply cram your card with contact details and job titles. 4. Style Comprehension, balance and readability are all to do with how a business card functions. But we understand that business cards aren't just intended to be functional, they're meant to be stylish. Whitespace is great at conveying elegance and simplicity. Think of Apple's website and their branding, think of the new minimalist Window 8, think of the glossy, magazine-esque style of Facebook's new Paper app, then translate this elegant yet still innately functional style to your own business card. 5. Attention Whitespace draws attention to where you need it most. Think of the current Google login page. The entire page is whitewashed, devoid of any other content, to draw attention to where it is required: the username and password boxes. This is an age-old technique and can help to draw the eye to crucial elements of a business card like job title, Twitter handle or phone number.