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Typography is fundamental to good design. While the actual copy plays an important role in delivering information, the look of the text plays a huge role in the entire composition.

Using text in images is easier than you might think. Here are some go-to tips for successfully implementing text in your next creative project.

Know what you want to say

It’s hard to get started on a design before you know what the copy will say. It’s best to have the final copy on hand, or at the least a firm understanding of the messaging when you set out to design. Knowing the copy will help you select the right images that not only fit the context, but also the length of the text.

add text on images
This template matches the copy to the image and positions the text so that viewers eyes travel up. Edit this template in Shutterstock Editor.

The text should complement the imagery. If you have several lines of copy and complicated imagery, it might look better to place the text inside of a solid shape. On the other hand, minimal text could look dramatic when placed directly on an image.

Focus on readability

Readability should always be your primary concern, followed by the design of the text.

You can improve text visibility on top of an image by making the image lighter and the text darker; the more contrast there is between the colors, the greater legibility you achieve. You can also create shapes and play with the opacity level to make portions of the background image lighter, framing the text without losing your message or the detail of the background.

add text on images
A transparent red square makes the text easier to without obscuring the imagery. Edit this template in Shutterstock Editor.

Font choice also affects visibility. Sans serif fonts are usually easier to read in digital formats, although serif fonts work well stylistically in many circumstances. Some popular and appealing sans serif fonts include. You can pair a serif and sans serif font for increased visual interest.

Get tips on elegant font pairings

Experiment with different fonts and see how they transform your text and its overall feeling.

Explore text placement options

People tend to read text in similar ways, so there are some basic placement rules that you should keep in mind when designing with text. Placing a line of text above the focal point of the picture encourages viewers to read first and then consider the picture; placing the text underneath the focus accomplishes the opposite. Left-aligned text on images is usually read first, while viewers might read right-aligned text only after absorbing other elements first.

Easily add text on images

Shutterstock Editor makes it simple to place text anywhere on an image. Simply select the text tool and click anywhere on the canvas to activate the cursor. You can type directly into the app or paste text copied from elsewhere. Adjust the size, font, color, drop shadow, alignment, and more.

text on images
Adjust the text size, font, color, drop shadow, alignment, and more in Shutterstock Editor.

The text box can be moved around the canvas so you can test different placements, and you can also create a shape in which to place the text.