We’ve all done it. We’ve had to make a slide or a bulletin insert. We’ve all seen some really cool designs online, thought, “Oh, I could totally do that.” AND THEN, we try to copy it but for some reason it just doesn’t look as good.
Whether you’re trying to design text images that will get likes and shares on social media, or you’re using graphics and text to come up with an eye-popping presentation or bulletin ad, knowing how to make your text stand out is a crucial component. When it comes to graphic design, however, making cool text is often harder than it looks. But only if you’re not sure yet what you’re doing.
Once you understand the basic design elements of combining text and graphics, you will be able to create designs that will convey your message in a powerful and memorable way. If you’re ready to learn how to put text in front of graphics in a “cool” way, here are some great graphic design tips (and a few examples) that will help you get started.
Finding the Right Font
In the design world, there’s a common phrase: “typography speaks louder than words.” It’s that important to use the right font and typography to convey your message. One of the hardest parts about finding the right font is that there are so many to choose from. It could literally take hours to play around with different fonts in order to come up with the just right one. So before you end up drowning in a sea of fonts, breaking them down into the following five categories will help you stay afloat:
- Serif – these fonts have an added stroke that sometimes look like little feet on the bottom of the letter. (Imagine a newspaper.)
- Sans Serif – while these fonts look more modern and streamlined than serif fonts, they are harder to read at smaller sizes. (You’re looking at one right now.)
- Script– these fonts are beautiful and elegant but shouldn’t be used when there is a lot of text. (Cursive, invitations, etc.)
- Display– these big, bold fonts are meant to grab attention. (Welcome to the Circus!)
- Hand Lettering – these fonts look as if they have been drawn by hand. (These are unique and functional.)
It’s so important to make sure your font matches your message. For instance, if you are trying to say something calming and relaxing, you don’t want to SHOUT out your words by using an obnoxious-looking font.
It’s okay to use a few different fonts but for shorter messages, it’s best to stick with just two. You can also use different typefaces, like bold and italic to add emphasis or create contrast.
This image is a great example of effectively using two different fonts to help create a simple but powerful message.
Perfectly Placing Your Text
Part of making your text stand out, is knowing exactly where to place it. Do you center it smack dab in the middle of the picture you’re placing the text on, or should it be flush left or flush right? When trying to figure out where to place your text, there is a number one concern: Keep It Readable.
The position of the text also depends on how many words and lines your message contains. For example, if you are creating an image with 15 words, you might want to break up your text so that it’s three or four lines. Remember to break up your lines according to how the text should be read.
If you have a basic, one-color background, centering the text should do the trick. If your graphic includes a picture, you’ll want to place the text in an area that contains a clear space. For example, if your picture contains a field of multi-colored wildflowers with a clear blue sky, putting the text in the flowers would make it difficult to read. Reach for the sky instead.
The text in this image is perfectly placed on a darker part of the picture, making it easy to read.
Making it Shipshape
Using different shapes can be a fun way to add to your message. Shapes can also be created as a place to put your text. For instance, if you have a busy background and you want to add readable text, you can create a white square or circle and put the text in that way. Another fun and creative way to use shapes is by using the features of the image as a guide as to where to place your text.
A translucent white circle in this image makes the text readable, despite the darker elements of the background.
Shapes can help your text stay readable by making your square or circle the same color as one of the colors in your background, doing this will help add balance to your graphic. Using shapes can also be a way to draw attention to a particular word. For example, putting a word inside a square with rounded corners will make it stand out from the rest of the text. There are so many fun things you can do with shapes, so go ahead and play around with them a bit to see how they can work for you.
In this image, the leaf acts as a border for the text, which is a creative way to use shape.
Do you have any best practices for making text graphics look beautiful? Please leave us a comment below!