Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

I used to work for a ad agency designing ads. One day they asked me if I would design graphics to post on social media.

They were a Christian organization as am I, so they wanted their social media posts to reflect that sentiment.

They gave me full creative license to use Bible scriptures, quotes from different scholars or even great people from the past like Winston Churchill or Mark Twain.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

I would use some of my own photography of wildlife, landscape and some of my family.

Many times, I would use a photo stock agency if I found a great saying and wanted just the right image for it.

The image of the boy and man is my son teaching my grandson how to cut wood.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background
Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Putting together text with a great image makes a very powerful message and tells that story in a hurry.

One of the problems I encountered as I began to match text with a photograph was the busyness in the image would keep the text from showing up clearly. It made it hard to read.

I tried several ideas until something dawned on me. The technique was simple.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background
Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

It would require using layers in Adobe Illustrator.

You can also use this process in Photoshop, InDesign and just about any other software that has a text tool but I have found Illustrator is the best and fastest for designing ads.

It is an easy program to wrap your head around and very intuitive.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background
Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Like I said, you need to do this in layers.

The video below will explain a step by step of how to do this very cool technique.

 

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Step by step to Making Text Stand Out … J.T’s recipe

  1. In Illustrator, create palette/workspace
  2. Position image onto workspace (changing opacity helps in seeing workspace under image)
  3. Select Text Tool.  Create a text space, off from the image workspace.  (I’m calling this the text ‘fill,’ or ‘fill layer.’)
  4. Import and arrange text.  Choose font and sizes.  Position onto image for best appearance.
  5. (Now here comes THE Technique! ) …
  6. COPY the arranged text, and slide down that text box off the image workspace, thus creating another layer. On a Mac you can press the option button while dragging and will make a new copy. 
  7. Change the color of this layer to the envisioned border color that works well w/ the rest of the image.  (I’m calling this the text ‘border,’ or ‘border layer.’)
  8. Go to Layers Dialog – should see at least 3 layers: base image, 1st layer (fill), 2nd text layer (border); which would of course be the most recent.  Reverse the text layers, so border is now layer 2, and fill is layer 3. (Remember, Ps and Ai build from bottom-up, and border layer has to be underneath the text fill layer. Reversing the layers is how to accomplish this)
  9. Enlarge the font size of layer 2, the border layer. Using the stroke toolbar, increase the stroke size of layer 2.
  10. When satisfied with text and border appearance, combine the two text layers by scrolling a new bounding box around them both, go to the OBJECT drop-down, and select ‘Group.’
  11. SAVE as an .Ai file in the GFX folder of my choice,
  12. Then EXPORT AS  (be sure to choose art boards box) … type of end-use format I need. If it is to be made as a JPG make sure you select RGB and not CYMK. RGB is for internet usage where CMYK is for printing. If you try and put a CMYK on the internet be it for social media or a website, the colors will come out crazy. I make a high resolution (240dpi) first just in case I want to print it out and then make a second copy at 72dpi for the internet.

 

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black And White Images

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black And White Images

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black And White Images

I learned photography by taking nothing but black and white images.

My junior year of high school back in Waukegan, Illinois in 1969, I enrolled in a photography course.

It changed my life.

I have never been the same since.

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

Four of my Grandchildren.

I learned to shoot, develop film and print in B&W. I learned to navigate a darkroom from top to bottom.

I picked up some amazing techniques.

Getting so close the process helped me to understand the language of photography inside out.

Sometime later, I graduated to shooting color. I shot a lot of transparency images on slide film for myself and  I shot color negative film for wedding and portraits.

But, my heart always longed for B&W.

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images
How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

I remember a professional photographer once asked me if I knew how you could tell a good image from a great image?

He said, if you striped all the color out it would then give you an idea what was essential. Color tends to hide the emotion and the sheer story telling ability of a image. The elements are left on their own to speak for themselves

B&W has a way of explaining things in stark terms with nothing to hide behind.

I have always viewed things from my view finder on my camera in Black and White terms. That was how I started in school and have continued to process things in my mind’s eye for the rest of my life.

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images
How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

I love sepia tone images as well as B&W. 

Going digital has been amazing. I have brought some of those old black and white techniques into a new platform.

It’s not simply striping the color out when you desaturate an image but something far more creative from the days of film.

How can I make certain elements “POP” within that black and white digital image?

Photoshop. Thats how!

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

Photoshop control and tool panel.

If you would like to see a short step-by-step process and the Photoshop tools that I use to bring back the old film days, go to my how-to video below.

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images