Noma Bar: Negative Space

To provoke a second glance, Noma Bar expertly uses negative space: his illustrations are formed of both a single image and a series of themed elements that give the final piece its shape

Business in War: a symbol of warfare, with an element of business secreted within

To provoke a second glance, Noma Bar expertly uses negative space: his illustrations are formed of both a single image and a series of themed elements that give the final piece its shape. Click through for a selection of highlights from his new book…

The Big Squeeze: piece for an article on the oil gains to be made from Iraq

As a follow up to Guess Who?, which largely contained portraits (and was blogged about here), new book Negative Space looks at how Bar has tackled weightier subjects such as global warming, race relations and national identity. It features many examples of editorial work for The New York Times, The Economist and The Guardian.

Gun Crime illustration

The Truth in Jamestown: illustration for a piece revealing the mixed history of the US colony on its 400th anniversary

When Doves Cry: white doves meet a VW van; mourning the loss of the hippy dream

Bar has referred to his editorial work as a form of “pain relief” – a kind of buffer against the issues contained within a particular article – but his eking out of a discernable whole from a range of minimalist elements is certainly painstaking work in itself.

As Buzz Poole asserts in his introduction to this new collection, Bar’s art is attuned with that of the writer’s. It’s one of showing, not telling.

Beware The Wolves: an innocent Red Riding Hood is trapped by a wolf, for an article on older men with younger women

This is The End illustration

Fat Cat: for a piece on how CEOs invest their personal wealth

Negative Space by Noma Bar is published by Mark Batty Publisher (£16) and available to buy here. (All captions are edited versions from the book.)




  • Incredible.

  • really love this treatment…so simple with a great affect.

  • Love these, so simple but SO good.

  • Thats genius! Love so much negative space stuff…

  • Great article… I love simple designs like this.

  • Joge

    this is greeeat !!

  • AL

    Reminds me of Lex Drewinski’s work which can only be a compliment.

  • Pato

    I really like it..these works have certain reminiscence to some of fukuda’s works

  • aj

    Cool, very simple & clean. I feel like an idiot, but the only one I don’t get is the tank one.

  • @aj Look for the seated figures (with laptops)
    ; )

  • nl

    love these, took me a while to see the doves.

  • Rebecca

    Really like these. Nice use of negative space.

  • Wow. Absolutely brilliant and stunning. I found a new hero!

  • This is so amazing! Agh!

  • yaay, just had to buy it :-)
    took me a hint to see the laptop guys as well…

  • Very cool and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  • In the tank illustration, I see a robot with Down’s syndrome wearing a jaunty cap with its fists sitting on the table facing the viewer.

  • dlv

    awesome, awesome !
    congratulations Noma
    clap clap clap

  • Fantastic!

  • I get so excited anytime I see this style…
    love it!

  • VerGold Medal

  • Sarah

    Just brilliant.

  • I do love this art, so simple but cleaver.

  • Excellent, not only the ideas, but the use of space, the understatement, the choice of colour, all comes together brilliantly.

  • Martine

    inspiring the imagination, exemplifying so much truth.

  • The simplistic design is the main point here. I love simple designs like Noma Bar.

  • These are amazing. Quite clever. I am sure Noma Bar is grateful, and I am sure glad you posted this. I plan on buying this book for my coffee table. That way, my friends will be able to enjoy these beautiful (and intriguing) designs.

  • That’s neat, I’ve not seen any of these before. Great roundup!

  • Amazing mix of concepts