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Hennepin County Design System

Spacing and sizing

Spacing helps users see what information belongs together. Use spacing between items and sections to help guide users through a form.

Placing related items closer together will make those items seem related. Placing sections farther apart will help users understand where sections start and stop.

Spacing in desktop and mobile

Spacing of form fields should remain consistent between desktop and mobile. You should not need to add mobile-specific spacing between form elements.

Section spacing

Use a larger amount of spacing between sections than between fields.

For a starting point, consider using double or triple the amount of space between fields.

Form showing fields left aligned with sixteen pixels between each field and forty-eight pixels between sections.

Example of improper spacing between fields with sixteen pixels spacing between text fields and sections.

Field spacing

Spacing between fields should be smaller than section spacing. This allows fields in the same section to appear related.

It generally works well to space fields at 50% to 75% of the field height.

Example of proper spacing between text fields at twenty-four pixels.


Field width

Users rely on field width to understand how much information they must enter into a field.

User shorter widths when you know how many characters someone will enter. Examples include zip codes (5 digits) or phone numbers (10 digits).

Use longer widths when you don’t know how many characters a user might need. An example would be name fields.

Side-by-side examples of correct and incorrect text field length. First example shows correct text field length for zip code that's short enough. Second example shows incorrect text field length for zip code that's too long.

Sizing in desktop and mobile

On desktop, fields should not take up the entire width of large monitors. To ensure this doesn’t happen, specify a max-width on field elements or their container.

On mobile, it’s common to set fields at 100% width of their container. Continue to size fields by how much information the user will enter. For fields that don’t need a pre-set amount of information, allow them to grow as wide as possible. An example would be name fields.