Using text over an image can create striking designs, but you don’t have to be a professional with the expensive subscription services to design software.
Use these tips and tricks to make your type pop from the background and get the response you’re after with our easy-to-use design tool, Shutterstock Create.
Get Started with the Text Tool in Shutterstock Create
Head over to Shutterstock Create, then select a blank canvas option.
If you’re already inside the tool, simply click File > Create new > Blank Canvas and scroll for your preferred canvas, or type your specs into the Create custom toolbar.
Hit Make it!
Click to open and you’re in!
To choose a background for your design, you have three main options: Images, Effects, or Textures.
For this guide, I’ve selected an illustrated desert scene with some cacti. If using images, select from the Images tab, upload your own, or choose from our infinite stock photo library.
Note: You’ll need to make sure the images you use are licensed to avoid any copyright infringements. Then, try to visualize how you’ll want your typography to sit on the image, and look for images that have open space that can accommodate a headline.
Click Text > Add headline. Increase the size and placement of the text box by using the handles on the corners. From the top toolbar, font customization options will pop up for different fonts, colors, shadow and outline, and more.
I’m using “Abril Fatface” here. It’s a contemporary serif font suitable for headlines. Try a few to see what works best with your design, adjusting the size, letter spacing, and line height, which are all controllable from the top toolbar menu.
To change color of text, simply select the text box and click on Change color from the top toolbar. There are a few ways to change the color: Select a preset, customize a gradient, customize by hex code, or use the Eyedropper Tool to replicate a color from the background.
I sampled the green in the cactus.
Now that you know how to use the Text tool in Shutterstock Create, learn how to add interest to your text with these five tips and tricks.
1. Create a Headline with a Drop Shadow
Smart use of drop shadow can be effective enough that it’s the only text trick you need. Get creative by sampling colors from the image to let the headline stand out, without veering from the overall tone of the image.
You can even use drop shadow with lighter colors—instead of a shadow, it will create a glow.
To apply a drop shadow, highlight that layer of text, and select Drop Shadow from the Shadow & Outline button. Choose a color. I chose an orange to make it look searing hot like the desert floor.
Then I used the slider controls in the menu to crank up the Intensity and Distance.
2. Add Hard-Outline Shadows for a Vintage Look
Select the headline and right-click > Duplicate layer. Line up the duplicate over the original, then right-click again and hit Move layer to back.
Click Shift alongside using the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the duplicate layer down and just-to-the-left.
Use a 1:1 ratio, so for each click of the down arrow, add one click to the left arrow.
Use the Eyedropper tool from the Change color tab to sample the background color for the fill color. This creates a gap between the shadow (the duplicate layer) and the headline (the original layer).
Then select Drop Shadow, change it to match the original layer, and slide the Blur all the way to 0.
You should see what looks like a hard, cast shadow with a gap, suggesting the headline is floating. Sometimes, the subtleties make the loudest impact.
3. Use Vertical Text
The easiest way to approach your vertical headline is to hit the enter or space bar after every letter. Drag each text box to position them accordingly. You can use the same text box for the whole word or get more nuanced by using a new text box for each letter.
Feel free to use the Alignment Tool from the top toolbar to ensure symmetry (or asymmetry).
4. Adjust Details with Typography Controls
In the Font menu, you’ll find a few options that give you control over typography. In addition to changing the typeface and size, you can control justification alignment (left, center, right, and force-justified), Line Height (a.k.a. Leading), and Letter Spacing.
In this example, I changed the font to Gravitas One at 200 pt size. Then, I adjusted the line height and letter spacing to my liking.
For more on line height and letter spacing, take a peep at this post:
5. Mix Typefaces to Add Accents
Another way to liven up a headline is to use a different typeface on an access word.
Here, I simply changed “Vacation” to the typeface Oleo Script and positioned it offset from the text above.
Then, I added a hard-outline shadow (see Tip #2) to make it stand out from the background.
These are a few simple ways to play with text in Shutterstock Create. Try it for yourself to see what you can make.
Find more tips, tricks, and tutorials about typography in these articles.
License this cover image mockup via Pixel-Shot.