Need to add text on images? There are ways to make your “text on image” pop and stand out on social media. In this post we look at 3 easy ways to make your text overlays “pop” over any image background.
BY DONNA MORITZ | PUBLISHED 9 OCTOBER, 2020
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More than ever we are expected to create visuals for social media – from headers for our blog posts to shareable Pinterest images to YouTube thumbnails and banner images. Many of these require text over some sort of photo, image or background.
But unless you are a graphic designer, it can be hard to work out how to make the text pop AND use that image that you love… without losing the best parts of the image or making the text un-decipherable.
Let’s take a look at 3 easy ways to make your text pop, no matter the type of background image. And I’ll show you examples and instructions for two of my favorite tools for creating visual content – Canva and Easil.
1. Find the White Space (to make your text stand out on images).
The easiest way to add text on images is to choose an image with white space in the first place. This way you can add simple text over a blank (or colored) background or “white space”.
The result is that the text is easy to read and the best parts of the image aren’t obscured. Here’s an example:
White space doesn’t have to be “white”. Any image that has “space” can be considered as white space. In the above example, the water area of the photo is not “busy” with details, so it’s a perfect spot to place the text. Look for images that allow your text to breathe when adding text on images.
And of course, if you are using a template, then don’t forget to stick to the rules of non-design to make it easy for you.
But what about those situations where you have a photo that you LOVE but it’s less about the white space and more about the “busy”? Don’t want to give up your fave shot? Let’s make it work with a blur effect.
2. Use Blur Effect (to make your text stand out on images).
One of my favourite ways to make text pop over a busy or detailed image/photo is to blur the image. When you add the blur effect to a background image (even just slightly) it reduces the distracting detail in the image. This is usually just enough for the text to stand out.
Here’s an example of a simple quote with a detailed background image, both before and after adding the blurred background effect to the photo:
Adding even a little blur effect can make your text pop over a detailed background. Use it in your arsenal of DIY Designer tricks!
Want to know how to add blur effect in your favourite visual design tool? Here’s how:
Adding Blur Effect to your Images in Canva
Are you a Canva user? If so then follow these steps to add blur effect to your images:
- Open up the design you wish to work on in Canva.
- Click on the background image you want to apply blur effect to.
- Choose from the menu options at the top of your design: ADJUST > BLUR (move the slide bar to apply blur effect). The more you move the slider, the more the blur.
- Add your text to the image (or edit the text if you’re using a template) and check that the blur vs text effect is perfect for making the text stand out.
Hot Tip: sometimes less is more with the blur effect. Don’t go too far as you won’t be able to tell what the background image is. On the flipside, don’t go too “minimal” or your background image will take over from the text you want to overlay on it.
Adding Blur Effect to your Images in Easil
- Open up the design you wish to work on in Easil.
- Click the background image that you want to apply the blur effect to, and click again to bring up the FILTER option in the Action Bar at the top of your workspace. Choose FILTER > SHOW MORE > BLUR and move the slide bar to apply blur effect. The more you move the slide bar, the more the image will blur.
- Add your text to the image (or edit the text if you need to) and then check that the blur + text works well to make your text stand out.
Hot Tip: When adding blur effect to any photo, I find that white text works really well over the background. It tends to work for most images, but especially for darker background images.
3. Use Glow Effect (to make your text stand out on images)
Another way to grab attention with text on images is to use a “glow” effect. This neon-style text effect has been getting a lot of use of use across visual design tools, so take advantage of it. Here’s an example of glow effect in Canva:
Both images look fine, but the neon effect makes the text pop just that little bit more, while giving a more realistic neon sign effect. So, if you want your text to pop, consider adding neon when you think of adding text on images.
Adding Neon Effect in Canva
Are you a Canva user? If so then follow these steps to add neon effect to your images:
- Open up the design you wish to work on in Canva.
- Click on the text you want to apply neon effect to. I’d suggest using a block text or script text that works well as neon.
- Click on the text and choose EFFECTS > NEON from the top menu bar.
- Slide the slider bar to choose INTENSITY of your neon effect. In the above example I added pink text then moved the slider to 75 intensity level to bring out the lighter pink neon effect.
Hot tip: Look at other designs and templates to see what colors work well for neon. I find that colours like light pink and yellow stand out well against dark backgrounds.
Let’s try this in Easil too:
Adding Neon Effect in Easil
Are you an Easil user? You can make fun neon effects in Easil too, like this one:
That’s a Wrap!
Now it’s your turn! The next time you need to add text to an image so that the image and the text have equal stage presence… use one of these 3 tips!
What tips can you share for making text pop over image or photo backgrounds! Leave a comment below!
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a “Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019”. Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.