This is something that has always threw me off. Spacing is an important aspect of all fighters so why are certain characters considered spacing characters? Wouldn’t all characters be considered spacing chars by default? What about zoners?
There’s nothing that concretely defines these terms, but generally people refer to a character as a spacing/zoning character (they are pretty synonymous in this context) as a character who wins primarily through their strong zoning tools. Dhalsims gameplan will always be about controlling space way more than C Viper would, yet C Viper players still need to understand spacing concepts even if they’d rather be right in front of their opponent the whole time.
I’m not really sure ‘spacing’ is a term to define an archetype, but zoners are chars who seek to control certain portions of the screen via normals or specials to force their opponent to go in certain directions. I think you’re more thinking about footsies, which IMO is the use of spacing and moves to hopefully start your gameplan. Or y’know. Just SJ. then burn kick.