Balancing Image & Text

balancing image and text by jamie stanosOften-times when creating an image, typography alone isn’t the right medium.  In that instance, then you can’t forget the creative power of images.  Yet incorporating text with image is a tricky balance to master.  To create something that’s professional, effective and ultimately pleasing to the eye, then all of the elements need to fit well so that it looks as great as it can.  I recently read an article on the site “Creative Nerds” that shared some guidelines for a foolproof design.  Here’s what they had to say:

Pay attention to color contrast and brightness: The text should always have a strong contrast against the background image so that it will be legible.  One of the more common strategies for this is to use lighter text over a darker image, or vice versa.  You can also try using complementary colors such as blue and orange.  This helps the text stand out while also infusing some extra color into the design.  

Blurring imagery: Instead of being a focal point, a blurred image becomes an element that can enhance and contribute to the atmosphere of the overall design, while also providing a cleaner slate for placing text.  

Weigh your text: Big, heavy text might get people’s attention, but it that isn’t necessarily the best way to go.  Instead, try playing with the text weight to balance out your image; if the image is heavy and bold, then a lighter text can provide a nice contrast.  

Think about your image: Your image will have as big a role in communicating your message as the text, so it’s important for the two elements to work together.  Make sure the image evokes the same emotion as the text you’re putting over it.  

Utilize perspective: Changing the size of your text is one great way to play with the perspective of your image.  Larger text creates an illusion that it’s closer to the reader, while smaller text makes it look further away.  

Place text strategically: It’s natural to place text in the center of an image, yet that isn’t always the most effective spot for it.  Take the entire image into account to make sure that the text placement looks good and doesn’t cover anything up.  Look at the visual flow of the image: if your eyes gravitate to a certain direction, then that’s a great place to put text.  

Frame your text: By surrounding your text with a frame, you can create a clear focal point.  Try using a shape or graphic elements to encase the text and draw the viewer’s eye.  If the frame has a colored background, then add a bit of transparency, which lets people see the background image through the frame and pull everything together.