Boring text is, well… boring. And there is nothing worse than words that you can’t read because they blend in with the background. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common mistake many people make when using text (read about other text mistakes: 4 Common Text Mistakes & How To Fix Them). If you have any interest in people taking the time to look at your graphic, you need to make the text POP. That is easier said than done, especially when the background of your graphic is an image. While there are many, many ways to make your words stand out - I’ve compiled a list of eight my most used techniques… enjoy!

original image

Be Bold

This one is probably the first option as it’s easy to do in just about any program - make the font bold. Easy as it may be, it can have drastic effects on the visibility of your text! Make sure to not let this tried and true method be forgotten just because it’s so simple.

bold text

Watch the Color

Although one may think that colored text will stand out more than black or white, in most cases it won’t. You’re more likely to have a color in your background image that slightly resembles your chosen text color, which will make a letter here or there difficult to read. A good rule of thumb - if you’re background image is in color, your text shouldn’t be. Whereas, a black and white (or possible monochromatic) image might do well colored text.

colored text

Add a Shadow

A little shadow goes a long way to separate text from the image behind it. This gives your project some depth and portrays the words as being positioned in front of the background even though it’s a flat canvas.

shadowed text

Make it Glow!

Text-glow is similar to a shadow, but is white-based as opposed to the shadow’s darker tone. A glow is better if used on darker text rather than lighter text to avoid the text blending into the glow (which was the original problem and the reason for the glow in the first place, wasn’t it?).

glowing text


Depending on the style of the graphic, a simple text outline could do the trick! Outlines can be thick or thin and any color you wish. A black or white outline will work well if you insist on having colored text over a colored image because the outline will be there when the font color would have blended in. Be careful when using outlines though, if the style of the graphic isn’t right - and outline will look silly and out of place.

outined text


An overlay is a solid-colored shape (most commonly, I use a rectangle) that goes between the text and the image to give the text an easier background to contrast against. Adding a little opacity adjustment would allow you to still see part of the image that’s behind the overlay, if you choose.

overlay text

Change the Tone

Images are hard to put text over because of the numerous colors and tones an image contains. Adjusting the tone by making the image lighter, darker or more monochrome will give you a slightly easier background to contrast you text against.

image tone

Font Family

If you have a busy image, a busy font isn’t going to stand out even if you try all of these techniques and then some. Sometimes the only answer is a simple, clean, thick font.

font family